The new ASA guidance for marketing claims for pregnancy, children and babies for osteopaths are an excellent resource. A document has been produced with clear advice and examples about what you can and can’t claim. Remember that advertising applies to all your print and online communications as well as testimonials. You need to be careful with social media communication.
Whilst I am sure there will still be some frustration amongst practitioners the ASA clearly states that if the osteopathic profession produce the evidence they will endorse the advertising. They have handed the baton to the profession to rise to the challenge to enable and increased scope of advertising. I think this document should be viewed as an extremely positive help to osteopaths in their advertising and any negativity or frustrations should be used to fuel a drive towards gathering more evidence of the efficacy of osteopathy.
This document provides very clear advice and I recommend you read it carefully and review your current advertising.
What can you say?
You can refer to:
Your qualifications including training in relation to specific patient groups
Your status as a statutorily regulated health professsional
Treat people of all ages
Children- older people – pregnant women
Patients with specific needs – disabilities, learning difficulties, NHS premature baby units, paediatric clinics
Benefits of treatment can be described as relaxation or increase in wellbeing, relieve stresses and strains, soothe and relax
Techniques can be describes as safe and gentle techniques used on babies or specific patient groups
If describing body changes related to pregnancy relate them only to specific conditions that ASA/CAP accept
The problems of these groups should not be made out to be any different to the rest of the population
Treatment of these groups should not be made out to be discrete or different from other patient groups
You can explain what happens in a consultation, what to expect, techniques used, safety of techniques and explain the theory behind osteopathy
What you should not say
The take home message is that you must not refer to any particular conditions or symptoms treated in these patient groups unless they are on the ASA/CAP list. These must not be referred to even implicitly. For example through describing how treatment works or what it does or describing the assessment as if it identifies particular conditions or symptoms
You must not make out treatment of these groups is unique or distinct from the rest of the population. You are using osteopathy in accordance with the standard ASA/CAP rules
You must not make claims about birth being traumatic or stressful.
You must not make claims about treating plagiocephaly or over-emphasise it’s seriousness.
If you work with lactation consultations you need to read the guidance carefully, it specifically mentions how you might describe your work.
Tell the world that osteopaths can treat patients of all ages including babies and children and pregnant women.
Tell the world that osteopathy helps relieve stresses and strains, soothes and relaxes and increases well-being.
Don’t make claims about conditions or symptoms – they often don’t mean much to patients anyway!
Make the most of what we can say and spread the word #osteopathyworks
N.B. CAP provide a free copy checking service so it is well worth running your advertising materials past them if you have any doubts