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.

This section should be read in conjunction with the entry on Health: Therapies (General)

What is kinesiology?

There are many different branches of kinesiology but all are based on the principle that manual muscle testing can access information from the body’s meridians, chakras and bio-energy system. Practitioners also tend to offer a wide range of “corrections” which are intended to re-balance the body and trigger self-healing. These corrections can cover a wide range of methods including massage, rubbing reflex points and using flower essences. Some practitioners also offer kinesio taping which is based on the theory that slightly lifting the skin away from the muscle will aid healing and support lymphatic and muscle systems.

What claims are likely to be problematic?

The ASA and CAP have yet to see convincing evidence that kinesiology or the kinesio taping techniques are effective and therefore any claims to diagnose or treat medical conditions or symptoms should be avoided unless the marketer holds a robust body of evidence (Rule 12.1).

In 2012, the ASA ruled against claims that kinesio taping could assist with medical conditions including lymphoedema, sports injuries, tension headaches, whiplash, sciatica, and post-operative/traumatic oedema because although the marketer submitted a significant amount of evidence, that evidence was not considered to be sufficiently robust to support the treatment claims being made (LimbVolume Ltd, 11 July 2012).

What claims are likely to be acceptable?

Marketers may refer to the relaxing non-invasive nature of the ‘correction’ therapy, improving the sense of well-being and the gentle touch of the therapist. Impressionistic and sensory claims such as “encourages a sense of well-being” are also likely to be acceptable.

What about serious medical conditions?

Unless the diagnosis and treatment are carried out under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional, claims to offer treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought are likely to be considered to discourage essential treatment (Rule 12.2).

Subsequently, practitioners of kinesiology should avoid making reference to the diagnosis or treatment of serious medical conditions.

Updated 14 December 2016

Guidance on Health Therapies and Evidence QA (Sept 2011)

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