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 ‘Therapies, General’.

Massage often involves the application of pressure (by kneading, rubbing or traction) to muscles all over the body. Some practitioners are also aromatherapists or reflexologists or both.

What claims are likely to be acceptable?

The ASA and CAP are likely to accept claims that massage can help with relieving everyday stress, helping relaxation, aiding sleep and promoting a sense of well-being.

What claims are likely to be a problem?

If any advertising claims go beyond the above, the ASA and CAP are likely to expect those claims to be supported by robust documentary evidence, most likely in the form of clinical trials. See CAP Guidance on the level of substantiation expected in health, beauty and slimming claims. 

Practitioners should not refer to the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions for which medical supervision should be sought, unless that diagnosis and treatment is being carried out under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional (rule 12.2).   In 2016 the ASA ruled that an ad for the Logan Fertility Method was misleading because it made claims treat infertility without holding the necessary clinical evidence. The ASA also ruled that the ad discouraged essential medical treatment for a condition for which medical supervision should be sought (The Beauty Company, 19 October 2016).

See CAP Guidance on referencing medical conditions in ads for health, beauty and slimming products and services

See also entries on ‘Aromatherapy’ and ‘Reflexology’.

More on