ASA Ruling on Ultra Dissolve Clinic
Ultra Dissolve Clinic
39 Aversley Road
7 November 2012
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Eleven issues were investigated, all were Upheld.
A regional press ad feature by Amanda Allport for Ultra Dissolve Clinic featured the headline "What is Constipation?". Text then made various claims for the efficacy of colonic hydrotherapy.
The complainant challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:
1. "Emotional upset, even in childhood, may result in constipation years later";
2. "Did you know that 80% of all illnesses start in the large intestine?";
3. "Many experts believe that the average person has between 5 and 20 LBS of waste matter in their colon. A person suffering from constipation has up to 40 LBS of waste matter in their colon";
4. "Waste materials that remain in the colon for extended periods of time (impacted faeces, dead cellular tissue, mucous and parasites etc) pose several health problems. These waste materials can be reabsorbed into the blood stream making us feel weak, tired and ill";
5. "Impacted faeces can also impair the colon's ability to absorb minerals and can cause the overgrowth of bad bacteria and yeast";
6. "A build-up of faecal matter in the colon can also inhibit muscular action causing sluggish bowel movements, slow transit time and constipation"
7. "Colonic hydrotherapy can greatly alleviate the congestion and build-up of unwanted toxic waste";
8. "A healthy individual with a clean and healthy colon will have 2 bowel movements per day";
9. "Over time the colon may become unhealthy and lose its ability to properly eliminate all the waste materials from the digestive tract";
10. "... deposits of waste matter build up along the colon wall. When this occurs, the waste material remains in the colon for days sometimes weeks ... months or even years"; and
11. "Are you feeling or experiencing any or all of the following? "Bloated, Weight gain Flatulence, Backache, Candida, Body Odour, Poor Concentration, Diverticulosis, Menstrual Pain, Parasites (Worms), Constipated, Lethargic, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Indigestion, Insomnia, Dark Circles Under Eyes, Colitis, Diarrhoea, Bad Breath ... Then a Colonic Hydrotherapy treatment is for you!"
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Amanda Allport on behalf of Ultra Dissolve Clinic said that the article gave advice on the subject of constipation and was not intended to mislead consumers as it discussed constipation only. The advertiser said the article was an editorial piece and was not likely to cause consumers to make a transactional decision or undermine medical knowledge or treatment. They said the information had been carefully sourced from their training manual, two books and the NHS website on constipation. The advertiser said they would not advertise their colonic hydrotherapy service again.
1., 2., 3., 4., 5., 6., 7., 8., 9., 10. & 11 Upheld
The ASA noted the advertiser's belief that the ad was editorial but disagreed with that view as it contained the text "Advertisement Feature" and featured an invitation to contact the advertiser at her clinic and a promotion for the purchase of colonic hydrotherapy packages.
We noted Ultra Dissolve Clinic had taken the advertised claims from various sources; only the link to the NHS web page on constipation was submitted which made no reference to colonic hydrotherapy or the various claims made in the ad. We pointed out to the advertiser that references to publications would not in themselves normally be considered sufficient evidence to support claims unless they were supported by robust clinical trials. Clinical trials were not submitted. We noted the advertiser had intended to inform consumers about the subject of constipation and told us the ad discussed only constipation. However, we concluded that the wording used could have led consumers to directly attribute the claimed symptoms, illnesses and effects to constipation.
We were also concerned that the ad referenced conditions that should be supervised under a suitably qualified health professional which may have discouraged essential treatment.
We noted Amanda Allport had received advice from the CAP Copy Advice team for previous ads but the advice had not been reflected in the current advertising. Because we did not see robust evidence for the claims made and as it included conditions that should be supervised under the care of a suitable heath professional, we concluded that the ad was misleading and might discourage essential treatment.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 12.1 and 12.2 (Medicines, medical devices, health related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Ultra Dissolve Clinic to ensure they held robust evidence to support their advertised claims.