As from March 1st 2011, Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine are not allowed to state that they can help cure, or cure conditions treated, as explained below.
The publication of guidelines for dealing with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) advertising rules/codes in December caused something of a storm.
Attention focused on the fact that the CAP rules which are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) commencing March 1st 2011, have become draconian to the point where only five conditions – nausea, vomiting, short-term relief for tension-type headaches, dental pain, and osteoarthritis of the knee (and here only when it is must be made clear that effects are temporary and that acupuncture is used as an adjunctive, not a stand-alone, treatment) – meet the current criteria for use in advertising acupuncture.
These criteria, based as they are on the use of systematic reviews and randomised double blind trials, are hotly contested by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine as inadequate for assessing what we do.
The fact remains, however, that these are what currently stand as the criteria. Until we can hopefully negotiate a change in CAP policy, something we are actively working with other professions to achieve, then neither ignoring nor defying the criteria are sensible options.
Our task is to find ways of saying something valuable within the rules about how we work.