This section should be read in conjunction with the entry on Health: Therapies (General).
- What is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a therapy based on the principle that connective tissues which protect structures in the body can tighten due to disease or trauma; causing inflexibility and pain. It is claimed that the therapy can manipulate this myofascial tissue to release tensions and restore functionality.
- What claims are likely to be acceptable?
Marketers may refer to the relaxing, non-invasive nature of the therapy, improving the sense of well-being and referencing the gentle touch of the therapist. Impressionistic and sensory claims such as “encourages a sense of well-being” are also likely to be acceptable.
- What claims are likely to be problematic?
Because CAP has not yet seen robust evidence to support claims for the efficacy of Myofascial Release, marketers are advised that they should hold rigorous clinical evidence before making any claims about the therapy.
In 2012, the ASA considered an advertorial that made claims that MFR could be used to treat symptoms including pelvic and lower back pain, fibromyalgia, poor posture, tight muscles, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, infertility, headaches and restricted movement in the body. Evidence was submitted for the treatment areas referenced in the ad but the ASA found that the studies were not sufficiently robust to be considered capable of substantiating the efficacy claims made for the therapy (Judy Lewis, 1 February 2012).
In 2011, the ASA considered a leaflet ad offering training courses for Myofascial Release which claimed the therapy could be used to treat conditions including Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJ), backache, sciatica, muscle pain, tinnitus and scoliosis. Whilst the advertiser submitted studies which examined the efficacy of MFR in treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia, the ASA found that this evidence was not sufficiently robust to support claims that the therapy could be used to treat those conditions, or indeed the other conditions referenced in the ad (Myofascial Release UK, 16 March 2011).
- What about conditions for which medical supervision should be sought?
Claims to offer treatment on conditions for which medical supervision should be sought are likely to be considered to discourage essential treatment unless that treatment is carried out by a suitably qualified health professional.
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 ASA. CAP’s AdviceOnline entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.
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