ASA The British Advertising Standards Authority

What does the ASA do?

The effect of the (2011) requirements of the ASA is that one may make no claims, even in the form of testimonials, for the efficacy of acupuncture. [The same applies to homoeopathy and other forms of alternative medicine] except in the case of a few conditions.

(By the way, the conditions listed seem poor examples of the efficacy of acupuncture, there being in our experience far better examples! Although, of course, these are not supported by the ‘robust’ scientific evidence apparently required by the Advertising Standards Authority … Editor)

These efficacy-backed conditions are:

  • Dental pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain from osteoarthritis of the knee (short-term and as part of  treatment process involving other therapies)
  • Short-term relief for tension-type headaches



This list is quite different to that of WHO – the World Health Organisation, and indeed, that of the (British) National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) which was set up to provide guidance on effective treatments, including medicines and medical or surgical procedures. 

As an example of this disparity, consider back pain, for which NICE lists acupuncture as being an option for treatment, but for which the necessary criteria for CAP/ASA have so far not been achieved. (Correction! As of 2014, the Advertising Standards Authority apparently now grudgingly accepts that acupuncture may help in cases of low back-pain.)

Also, who knows where they got their information from! Although I have treated dental pain, successfully, I see very few cases of dental pain! (If I have dental pain, I see a dentist as my first stop.) Very few people rush off to see their acupuncturist for dental pain.

But nausea and vomiting? Certainly, I’ve often treated it.

The CAP – Committee of Advertising Practice’s recommendations are administered by the the Advertising Standards Authority. 

To see what a few patients said about Jonathan and his treatments, click here for comments made in Spring 2010.

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