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Advertising of alternative therapies

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Trish, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I employ carers from a care agency. Once a week the agency sends me a letter showing which carer is booked to come to me and at what time.

    Today's letter also included a leaflet from a woman offering Refloxology, £22 for 45 minutes, as well as hand and foot massage or manicure/pedicure for various prices starting at £10 for 15 minutes, plus travel costs for a home visit.

    She has a qualification called IIHHT Dip and says she qualified an anatomy, physiology and reflexology Level 3 (whatever that is). I suspect is was something like a few weekends over a year. I came across Reflexology decades ago when I spent some time in the alt med world, and even there reflexology was considered at the fringes of alt med.

    Here's her description of Reflexology:

    It then goes on to make even wilder claims:

    I have written to the care agency to complain and say I think it's highly misleading and irresponsible to be advertising un-evidenced therapies to their vulnerable clients.

    I suspect the leaflet just stays within advertising standards rules, since it doesn't directly claim she will help with any of these conditions, but it is certainly very misleading.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think you are quite right to complain to the care agency.

    If they received a fee for supply you with junk mail/advertising does this mean you will get a discount? (Okay that was tongue in cheek).

    I don't know what more you can really do, except possibly contact trading standards or local council to complain that vulnerable people may be being targeted for advertising of unproven treatments.
     
  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks @Invisible Woman. I think I'll wait and see what response if any I get from the local branch of the care agency. If they don't give me a satisfactory answer, I might take it to the top of the agency. Need to be careful though, I don't want to be struck off their books and have to start again with another agency.
     
  4. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yeah, best to be careful. In theory you should be able to raise it confidentially with trading standards (as far as I know), but as you've already complained, unless others do too, it might be obvious that you're the one who shopped them.
     
  5. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've got a reflexology 'chart' somewhere, it was included with a pair of insoles I bought decades ago.
    It was a very new agey thing.
    I also knew an elderly lady who used to go for reflexology on a regular basis. She loved it, called it her 'ology', said she usually fell asleep while it was going on. Don't think it did anything for her health but who knows?
     
  6. Michiel Tack

    Michiel Tack Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree and find it quite brave of you to do so.
     
  7. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It sounds like you have done the right thing @Trish, but also perhaps right not to push it further until at least you have received a reply from the agency. If the advert itself does not contravene advertising standards, the main problem here is that the agency chose to effectively endorse this reflexologist with a potentially vulnerable group of people.

    If this is the only time you have received such an advert, presumably they are not regularly selling this as a targeted advertising service, so it may be that the agency has a specific connection to this alternative practitioner and a potential personal loyalty somewhere.

    (A good friend, with no specific health issues, regularly uses a reflexologist, and finds it very positive, in terms of stress relief and relaxation. But she does regard it in that light, not as a substitute medical treatment, rather more in the light of a nurturing foot massage. That is very different to believing that it has curative properties or promoting it as such. Having met her reflexologist, it seems he genuinely cares, but perhaps worryingly I suspect that he believes that reflexology can achieve more than any scientific evidence supports.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  8. JaimeS

    JaimeS Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    andypants, ladycatlover and Judee like this.
  9. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Even massage, especially the type of pressure massage focused on particular areas as in reflexology, could cause harm with elderly sick people who may have fragile skin and/or bruise easily.

    But it's the idea that someone like this is making claims of being able to help with all sorts of conditions that concerns me. Just the fact that she is likely to discuss health issues with her clients is very worrying - it can so easily tip over into bad advice.
     
  10. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am dubious about anyone using the word "balance" in the context of anything medical - conventional or alternative. It so often gets used without anyone ever saying what is being balanced with what and who determines what the "balanced level" of anything should be.

    If I have a set of scales I could put a weight of 8oz on one side and put flour in the other side until the scales balanced. I could do the same, but with a 12oz weight and a larger quantity of flour. But then I could say, "So what?". Without context the numbers mean nothing. Nor have I mentioned why I've done this little exercise. I could decide to make a flour bomb and throw it at my husband or bake a cake and give him a slice. Knowing that the scales balanced tells nobody anything. The same is true when somebody gives someone a massage and says that they have been rebalanced. It's 100% BS.
     
  11. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm not suggesting you do anything more here @Trish, but something that just occurred to me -

    Presumably your carers are CRB checked or some equivalent is carried out (checks to make sure the person hasn't got a criminal record or any history that makes them unsuitable for the job).

    Has this reflexologist undergone the same checks?

    If not, then are the agency failing in their duty of care on those grounds alone, as they are promoting this person's services?
     
  12. hellytheelephant

    hellytheelephant Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't have the low opinion of alt remedies that many on here have...but they have no place being promoted in a letter from a care agency. You are very well informed and able to evaluate the ( in my opinion) OTT claims, but many in need of care workers are highly vulnerable, not to mention poor and desperate.

    I don't see this is a question of if reflexology is helpful, it is more about the dubious promotion of it in this context. This is really inappropriate use of the weekly contact letter to clients.
     
  13. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree. In fact I used to have a slide of 'cytokine balance' with Noddy sitting in one pan and Big Ears in the other to indicate the intellectual level of the concept. I stopped using it because I realised that annoying my colleagues that much was bad politics.
     
  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That sounds cute. Why not post it here. I don't think anyone would be annoyed, just amused.
     

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