Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Lymphatic circulation plays a vital role in the body's immune system, the elimination of toxic waste and the transport of nutrients to the cells. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (M.L.D.) is manipulation and massage of the lymph system and supposedly removes blockages and encourages the free flow of lymph fluids. Before making claims for MLD, practitioners should hold robust evidence for the efficacy of their treatment (Rule 12.1).

Marketers have promoted procedures and treatments for lymphatic drainage that they claim can aid removal of toxins from the body. In 2012 the ASA investigated a complaint about an ad for Kinesio Taping, which claimed the therapy could “aid sufferers of Lymphoedema by increasing the body's ability to drain lymphatic fluid to healthy lymph nodes”. The ASA considered the evidence provided inadequate to support the claims, and concluded the ad breached the Code (LimbVolume Ltd t/a Kinesio UK, 11 July 2012).

In 2010, claims that a contour garment could help break down fatty deposits and "improve the body’s lymphatic drainage process, getting rid of excess toxins” were investigated. The advertisers were able to provide a clinical trial in support of the ad, but the ASA did not consider the one unpublished clinical study alongside anecdotal evidence sufficient to support the claims and therefore concluded the ad was misleading (Biomedical Laboratories, 1 December 2010).

See ‘Detoxing: General’.

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