In the UK, therapists are regulated by the Advertising Standards Agency. So, what does this mean?

When I first qualified and we were producing leaflets we were told the usual benefits of our therapies, and we all happily produced leaflets and websites saying we could help migraines, muscle aches, relieve tension, ease stress, improve sleep, lower blood pressure etc. Then, we were told that we couldn’t say we could ‘help’ health conditions, but we could say it ‘may’ help. Everyone changed their websites….
The years progressed and the advertising standards agency said this was now not possible. The words may, possibly etc, could give false hope to someone with a health complaint. Therapists were expected to change their websites and marketing literature to reflect this.
This was several years ago, and it’s shocking to say, but I still see websites that do not conform to the Advertising Standards Agencies expectations. As a professional therapist I don’t feel this reflects well.

I know I’m expected to keep in line with legal obligationbeing a professional is important s and that I need to ensure I have the most recent compliance information. As professionals, I think it’s important we do keep up with what’s expected of us. Many therapists (myself included) complained at these changes at first – how could we show how our therapies could help people, how could we market ourselves? In hindsight, though, the changes were important and needed.


While it’s frustrating to be unable to advertise if we are able to help with any medical conditions, it is important to remember the following points:

– Complementary therapies have not been scientifically tested. While there are case studies, some research, and also empirical studies, often they do not conform to the testing needed to be considered a suitable treatment for a condition

– People were making claims that could be rather outlandish. While people are individuals and will respond to different therapies, there are some approaches that may be more suitable than others, depending on the problem

– Only orthodox medicine can diagnose and cure health complaints. Doctors and specialists spend many years training to provide a diagnosis

– Complementary therapies actually take a completely different approach. A therapy is aiming to look at the person, rather than the symptoms. It’s why many therapists, including myself, use the term holistic therapist. We’re looking at you as a person, who happens to have some symptoms or a diagnosis

So the next time you’re looking for a therapist and you’re looking at their website, check they’re compliant in their business – if they’re not up to date on their marketing information, just think, are they up to date on their Continuing Professional Development? If they don’t provide correct information to the public, do they care enough to take time to research and keep their knowledge as good as it could be? Advertising health claims may sound a minor thing, but you need to have a therapist you can have complete trust in, someone who is a professional and does know what they should be doing in all aspects of their business.


Louise Morgan Holistic TherapistLouise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, Bristol BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers reflexology, aromatherapy, aromatology, holistic massage, Indian head massage, reiki, baby massage and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family. For further information about Louise you can visit her website