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.
- What is Osteomyology?
- What treatment claims are likely to be acceptable?
- What about conditions for which medical supervision should be sought?
- What titles or references to training can be used?
Osteomyology is a form of alternative medicine loosely based on aggregated ideas from other manipulation therapies, principally Chiropractic and Osteopathy. CAP understands that some Osteomyologists are therapists who have been trained in osteopathy or chiropractic but take on the title ‘Osteomyologist’ after they have refused to be regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) or the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) for political or philosophical reasons or cannot join because they do not meet professional or training standards.
What treatment claims are likely to be acceptable?
If a practitioner is a registered Chiropractor or Osteopath and uses those specific techniques (rather than aggregations of them), some treatment claims may be acceptable provided any ad that makes treatment claims is explicit that the treatments are the manual manipulation techniques used by Chiropractors or Osteopaths. The following CAP Advice details what claims are likely to be acceptable when made in relation to Chiropractic and Osteopathy. Any claims that go beyond the accepted claims for those specific techniques would need to be supported by clinical evidence (rule 12.1).
Neither the ASA nor CAP have seen evidence for the practice of Osteomyology. As such, all treatment claims in ads about the techniques used in the practice of Osteomyology, even it is based on those used in Chiropractic and Osteopathy, would need to be supported by robust clinical evidence (rule 12.1).
What about conditions for which medical supervision should be sought?
Registered Chiropractors and Osteopaths are regulated by statute and are likely to be considered to be suitably qualified to treat some medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought (rule 12.2).
As such, subject to evidence, those practitioners are permitted to advertise the treatment of conditions that can be treated using manual manipulation techniques, without discouraging essential medical treatment.
However, if Osteomyologists are not registered with a statutory regulator then the necessary oversight is not likely to be considered to be met. As such, advertising claims for an Osteomyology practitioners that references a condition where treatment should be carried out by a suitably qualified health professional, is likely to discourage essential medical treatment and should not be made, irrespective of the evidence held.
See: CAP Guidance on Medical Conditions.
What titles or references to training can be used?
Therapists should not mislead about their status or training.
Only Chiropractic practitioners who are registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) may call themselves Chiropractors and, similarly, only Osteopathic practitioners registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) may call themselves Osteopaths.
A claim that a practitioner is a ‘Registered Osteomyologist” is likely to be considered misleading unless the holder is registered with a recognised medical or statutory body.
Whilst Chiropractors are permitted to use strongly qualified references to the courtesy title of “Doctor of Chiropractic” in ads, the same principal does not apply to Osteomyologists. The “Dr” title should also be avoided unless they also hold a general medical qualification. A “Dr” title can potentially be used where a PhD is held but only if the suffix PhD is used as part of the title and if the ad also makes clear that this title does not relate to a general medical qualification.