Advertising Standards Authority
Adjudication on Cristina Moore

Date: 29 June 2011

Christina Moore
35 Ewart Street
Brighton
East Sussex
BN2 9UP

Media: Internet (on own site)
Sector: Health and beauty

Number of complaints: 11
Complaint Ref: 151039

Ad

A website for an alternative therapy practitioner was headlined "christina moore healer". Text under the heading "about christina" stated "I was trained as a Reiki Master, under the Usui System of Natural Healing, by one of the most renowned and respected masters in England ... Several years ago I was made aware of the presence of angels during healing sessions and to further my knowledge of them I then trained as a certified Angel Therapist Practitioner with Charles Virtue and hence now offer Angel Healing and Angel Card Readings. I also work with the Violet Flame which is a unique spiritual energy that can help in all areas of your life through the transformation of negative energy. I am a qualified Crystal Healer ... As well as Reiki, angel healing and crystal healing I use my psychic and mediumistic abilities to bring about deep personal growth and emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. I also specialise in chakra and aura healing, flower remedies, dowsing and visualisation".

Text on a page titled "reiki healing" stated "[Reiki] is a method of natural healing based on the use of Universal Life Force. It is channelled through the practitioner's/master's hands ... Reiki energy brings deep relaxation, soothing and reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Reiki can help you be the best that you can be. It can help unlock your natural creativity allowing you to reach your full potential. It brings clarity, focus and a sense of purpose back into life. It enhances the benefits of all other therapies. One treatment is physiologically the equivalent of 3 to 4 hours' deep sleep. It helps you find true peace of mind and brings positivity to help you cope with life's daily challenges. WHAT CONDITIONS CAN REIKI TREAT? As Reiki treats the whole body and not just the symptoms it can assist in the treatment of almost all conditions physical and emotional. This includes common colds, 'flu and injuries, and can even help overcome addictions. It also eases the pain of more chronic diseases and helps reduce the effect of drugs and other treatments. Reiki has helped with conditions such as: Grief; Insomnia; Lack of Confidence; Tinnitus; Back Pain; High Blood Pressure; Constipation; Candida; Skin Disorders; Strokes; Anxiety and Stress; Tension and Worry; Phobias and Addictions".

Text on a page titled "crystal healing" stated "Crystals have been used for healing since ancient times by many different cultures. Crystal healing is an holistic therapy, which means that the focus is on the individual as a whole, rather than on physical symptoms alone. The aim of crystal healing is to restore wholeness, balance and health on all levels - emotional, mental, spiritual as well as physical. Crystal healing can bring a relief from stress and tensions leaving the client feeling revitalised, relaxed with a greater amount of peace and harmony. All this helps to prevent illness. Crystal Healing also complements other forms of therapy".

Issue

1. The complainant challenged whether the claim "The aim of crystal healing is to restore wholeness, balance and health on all levels - emotional, mental, spiritual as well as physical" was misleading and could be substantiated.

2. The ASA challenged whether the claims that Reiki could treat grief, insomnia, tinnitus, lack of confidence, back pain, constipation, Candida, skin disorders, anxiety, stress, tension, worry and phobias were misleading and could be substantiated.

3. The ASA challenged whether the ads reference to the serious medical conditions high blood pressure, stroke and addictions, could discourage essential treatment.

Response

1. Christina Moore said the statement was to do with the overall aim of crystal healing and was not a claim that it could bring about the restoration of health. They said it was important to set out the overall purpose of a therapy so that clients knew what to expect and that every therapy, regardless of type had the aim of restoring health.

2. Christina Moore said the site stated clearly that Reiki treated the whole body and then listed a series of conditions that could arise in the human body. They said that that did not amount to a claim that Reiki could treat or cure those conditions, rather that people suffering from those conditions had found Reiki to be of benefit to them. They said their clients found such a list helpful because it demonstrated that the practitioner had experience in dealing with people with those conditions and that Reiki may work with them.

Christina Moore said there was research evidence that had shown that Reiki could bring benefit to various conditions. However, because that evidence was not deemed acceptable to be published in peer-reviewed medical journals, Reiki was not considered to be a proven therapy. They said there was also anecdotal evidence for its efficacy, such as the testimonials featured on their website. They believed many GPs referred their clients to Reiki practitioners and did not experience any form of sanction for doing so.

3. Christina Moore reiterated that they only referred to Reiki as assisting in the treatment of the conditions listed and not that it treated or cured them. They said they were aware of their legal obligations when treating clients who might require medical attention and said the conditions for working as a therapist stipulated that they were not allowed to remove someone from their medication, offer diagnoses or advise someone not to visit a doctor. They said at no point did they suggest that medical treatment should not be sought and argued that Reiki was a complementary and not an alternative therapy which worked best when the client embraced many different methods to bring about the restoration of their health.

Assessment

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA considered that the list of conditions, on a webpage about Reiki, would be interpreted by readers to mean that Reiki could successfully treat those conditions. We considered that those claims, as well as the claims that crystal healing could restore health and prevent illness, were breakthrough claims that required a body of robust, scientific evidence, such as clinical trials conducted on people, in order to substantiate them.

We noted that Christina Moore had argued that the ad only made claims regarding the aims of crystal healing rather than its efficacy, however we noted that the ad stated that crystal healing "can bring" relief from which helped to "prevent illness" we considered that it was likely to be interpreted as a claim that crystal healing was effective in those aims.

We also noted that Christina Moore had argued that research evidence for the efficacy of Reiki did exist, however we noted that we had not seen that evidence and that the advertiser had acknowledged that it had not been published or peer-reviewed. We also noted their reference to testimonials, but we did not consider that testimonials alone would be capable of substantiating the claims that Reiki could treat the listed conditions.

Because we had not seen evidence that crystal healing could restore health and prevent illness or that Reiki could treat the conditions listed, we concluded that the ad was misleading.

On these points the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 12.1and 12.6 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).

3. Upheld

We noted the advertisers argument that the ad did not claim to treat the medical conditions listed, however we considered that the headline "WHAT CONDITIONS CAN REIKI TREAT?" and the claim that Reiki had "helped with" the listed conditions would lead readers to infer that Reiki could effectively treat those conditions.

We considered that the serious medical conditions referred to in the ad—high blood pressure, stroke and addictions—and the references to the benefit and help provided by Reiki in treating those conditions, could discourage readers from seeking essential treatment for serious medical conditions from a qualified medical practitioner.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 12.2 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).

Action

We told Christina Moore to remove the references to serious medical conditions and other illnesses and to ensure that they held robust, clinical evidence before making efficacy claims for their therapies in future.

This article was posted on November 3, 2011.

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