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Advertising Standards Authority Adjudication - The International Reiki and Healing 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.
A brief summary of the overall framework
for the overall quality control of advertising in the
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.
Adjudication - The International Reiki and Healing Centre
15 August 2001
Reiki and Healing Centre
Objection to a brochure and exhibition leaflet that
offered training courses in Reiki, a method of healing using spiritual and
life-force energies. They claimed "Learn REIKI with the Honorary
President and HIGHLY HONOURED TEACHER OF TWO JAPANESE REIKI ORGANISATIONS.
REIKI MASTER SENSEI DR ALLAN SWEENEY Phd (AM) ...
was greatly honoured by being invited to be the Honorary President Of
1. to the reference to cures in conjunction with cancer; and
2. that the use of the word "Dr" implied Allan Sweeney had medical training
The Authority challenged:
3. the reference to serious conditions; and
4. the efficacy of the treatment.
Codes section: 3.1, 7.1, 50.1, 50.3
The advertisers explained that they taught spiritual healing, meditation, psi-healing, therapeutic touch, visualisation and other healing methods.
1. Complaint upheld
The advertisers said that, because cancer was a life-threatening illness, they had compiled much evidence to support their claim. They said they adhered to the Cancer Act and had not meant to imply that Reiki could cure cancer. The advertisers supplied anecdotal evidence of one cancer sufferer's response to healing and extracts of studies from books and the Internet. The Authority considered that the use of the word "cure" in the heading implied that the conditions listed underneath it, including cancer, could be cured. It was concerned that the advertisement implied Reiki could cure cancer. The Authority asked the advertisers to delete references to cancer from future advertisements and suggested that the advertisers take legal advice about the Cancer Act before placing similar advertisements.
2. Complaint upheld
The advertisers said Allan Sweeney was a Doctor of Philosophy in Alternative Medicine and provided a certificate that showed he had completed a course in that subject from the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines. The Authority was concerned that, in the context of the advertisement, the use of the title "Dr" implied that Allan Sweeney was medically trained. It understood that the course had been completed in a year and considered that it neither represented a doctorate, a course that typically took 3 years to complete, nor was related to medical training. The Authority asked the advertisers to delete the claim from future advertisements.
3. Complaint upheld
The advertisers believed their advertisement did not claim to cure the serious conditions listed. They said they worked alongside doctors and would not recommend that sufferers of serious medical conditions should depend solely on Reiki to treat their condition. The advertisers, nevertheless, provided anecdotal evidence of their patients' experiences, a video of a television appearance, documents on the history of Reiki, documents from their Reiki practice, information about the doctor-healer network and extracts of studies from books and the Internet including medical professional articles and studies carried out in doctors' surgeries. They believed the evidence showed Reiki could heal the conditions listed. The Authority noted the code of practice written by the advertisers emphasised the importance of working with doctors. It was concerned, however, that the advertisers had referred to depression, cancer, ME and schizophrenia and considered that the use of the word "cure" in the heading implied that the conditions listed underneath it could be cured. It asked the advertisers to delete claims referring to serious conditions from future advertisements.
4. Complaint upheld
The advertisers provided evidence of anecdotal experiences and excerpts of studies from books and the Internet. They believed the evidence showed Reiki could heal the medical problems listed in the advertisement. The Authority considered that the evidence was insufficient to support the efficacy of the treatment. It asked the advertisers to amend their future advertisements with the help of the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)
Date of posting : 31st August 2010