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Advertising Standards Authority Adjudication – Ideal Spine Centre
This is one of series of reproductions on this website of adjudication decisions given by the Advertising Standards Authority in response to complaints made by members of the public about advertisements and related publicity promotion placed in the past by therapists and related organisations working in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine sector.
The reproduction has been made in accordance with the copyright conditions of the ASA whose website may be found by clicking here.
Reproduction of the adjudication decision on this page does not imply endorsement of the other content of this website by the ASA. Reproduction is made purely for information purposes to raise awareness amongst therapists of the existence of advertising standards and the requirement to comply with them.
The reproduction of this and other adjudication decisions on this website give examples of advertisements placed in good faith by therapists and related organisations in the past but which were judged not to meet required advertising standards.
From 1st September 2010, the scope of jurisdiction of the ASA has been extended to include all forms of digital publicity and promotional communications. This means that for the first time the promotional activity of the majority of therapists falls under the remit of the ASA and many will need to change the content of their websites and to change the content of their electronic communications to comply with current advertising standards.
summary of the overall framework for the overall quality control of
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A directory of all the ASA adjudication decisions posted to this website together with a reproduction of the Advertising Codes may be found by clicking here.
Advertising Standards Authority Adjudication
15th October 2008
1. it claimed that strengthening your spine and nervous system would improve the immune system and the body's ability to fight disease and
2. it claimed that disease originated in the body and outside influences, such as germs, were not significant.
The ASA challenged:
3. whether the ad discouraged people from seeking essential treatment for illnesses from a suitably qualified medical professional.
The CAP Code: 3.1;7.1;50.1;50.3
Christian Farthing believed the ad did not suggest that germs were insignificant, but stated that germs alone were not the cause of disease in the individual. He also disagreed that the ad discouraged people from seeking essential treatment for illnesses. He said the ad encouraged people to see their medical doctor but to question the quick prescription of antibiotics.
The ASA noted chiropractic aimed to offer patients wellness care, promote general health and help to prevent the occurrence of disorders. Nevertheless, we also noted Christian Farthing was not on the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) register and was therefore not entitled to practice as a chiropractor in the UK, although he said he used chiropractic techniques to assist in helping improve people's quality of life. We considered that the review of the purpose, principles and practice of chiropractic provided in support of the ad did not justify the implication in the ad that having the spine checked throughout life would have an impact on resistance to disease. We were also concerned that the claim "If you know someone who is regularly suffering from colds, ear infections, chest infections or are generally run down, tell them to get a wellness check-up by a Wellness Doctor ... start building a healthier immune system by strengthening your spine and nervous system ..." implied that Christian Farthings treatment could prevent or treat prolonged or recurrent bacterial or viral infections. We concluded that the Ideal Spine Centre had not justified this implication and the ad was likely to mislead.
On these points, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 50.1(Scientific substantiation).
3. Complaint upheld
We noted Matthew McCoys argument that chiropractic aimed to promote optimal health and wellbeing and that most chiropractors understood their practice in terms of holistic care. Nevertheless, we were concerned that readers would infer from the presentation of the ad that treatments offered by Christian Farthing at the Ideal Spine Centre might be preferable to, or a replacement for, a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner for some of the conditions listed. We were particularly concerned that the claims "If you know someone who is regularly suffering colds, ear infections, chest infections or are generally run down, tell them to get a wellness check-up by a Wellness Doctor. That is, someone who will not give you antibiotics, but sound advice to get back on track without medication" and "Start building a healthier immune system by strengthening your spine and nervous system. Better health comes from within you, not from a bottle of tablets ... if you want you and your family to be the healthiest you can be, without medication, for life, go and see a Wellness Doctor" could discourage people from seeking essential treatment for bacterial infection from a suitably qualified medical practitioner.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 50.3 (Discouragement of essential treatment).
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)
Date of posting : 31st August 2010