Complementary therapies may help to support a person’s sense of wellbeing. They are often popular choices for many. When advertising or marketing such services, great care should be taken to ensure that applicable and robust clinical evidence for any claims made about that client's therapy’s efficacy is held by the therapist and advertiser.
Therapists, often make claims about the general spiritual and emotional benefits which their treatments can bring. Claims about the relaxing nature of therapy, its calming effects, or its ability to improve a sense of self may be acceptable as these can intangible and subjective. Though claims that ‘it does/did not work for me!’ could still be made. Descriptions about a therapy’s history, background, or foundations might be acceptable as long as it doesn’t stray into claims of efficacy.
As with any other marketing claim, all efficacy claims about a complementary therapy must be supported with strong and robust evidence held by the therapist and/or the advertiser. Some therapies, such as osteopathy, are regulated by statute and have efficacy claims supported by high-level clinical evidence.
Other therapies, may have a professional body, code of practice, and registration. Yet, do not have the same evidence base and therapists and advertisers should, therefore, take care in claims they make about these therapies. For instance, claims in an ad for acupuncture were found to be misleading as the advertiser did not hold evidence of a sufficient standard to support claims that it could help with issues such as fertility problems, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, and musculoskeletal problems.
As some people might turn to complementary therapies when faced with health problems. It is important, however, that therapists who are not suitably qualified do not refer to serious medical conditions in their adverts and practice, as this might discourage people from seeking medical supervision or essential treatment.