Colon Care Centre Website Advertisement
Meeting 10 April 2012
Complainant: M. Edmonds
Advertisement: Colon Care Centre Auckland
Complaint: The website advertisement for Colon Care Centre Auckland as featured at http://www.coloncarecentre.co.nz included statements as per follows:
"The Bio-Cleanse System can rebalance energy meridians through the bio-charge. The complex energy fields of the unit permeate the water, realigning a body's energy field. Many if the benefits of the unit can be attributed to the "rebalance" of these energy lines allowing a body mass to function better",
"The energy field crated by the Tri-Vortex actually makes water "wetter" and easier to program",
"Detoxification occurs through the skin. After the lungs, the skin is the second largest area of detoxification of the body", and
"In the energy field created by the Bio-Cleanse System, a massive negative ion field is created in the water. These negative ions are easily absorbed by the body. Studies show negative ions neutralize free radicals. Also, negative ions have been implicated in the rejuvenation of cells in regards to their ability to "energize" OR "charge" individual cells allowing cells to more readily release toxins and absorb oxygen."
Complainant, M .Edmonds, said:
The bio-cleanse detox therapy described on this site uses various pseudoscientific statements to sell their therapy that are scientifically implausible.
"The Bio-Cleanse System can rebalance energy meridians through the bio-charge. The complex energy fields of the unit permeate the water, realigning a body's energy field." There is no scientific evidence to support this explanation.
"The energy field crated by the Tri-Vortex actually makes water "wetter" and easier to program."
I would suggest that this statement is not supported by any reliable scientific research.
The explanations on the linked page http://coloncarecentre.co.nz/en/bio-cleanse- treatment-detoxify-body.html which purport to explain how this device "works" make no scientific sense.
"Detoxification occurs through the skin. After the lungs, the skin is the second largest area of detoxification of the body."
In fact the kidneys and liver have more important functions in detoxifying the body.
"In the energy field created by the Bio-Cleanse System, a massive negative ion field is created in the water. These negative ions are easily absorbed by the body. Studies show negative ions neutralize free radicals."
I don't believe there is any scientific evidence to show that a massive negative ion field is produced nor that these negative ions are easily absorbed.
"Also, negative ions have been implicated in the rejuvenation of cells in regards to their ability to "energize" OR "charge" individual cells allowing cells to more readily release toxins and absorb oxygen."
Again, I dont think there is any reliable scientific evidence to support this claim.
This website also uses vague references to toxic loads, without defining what this term means, to potentially frighten readers into trying the treatment.
The Chairman ruled that the following provisions were relevant:
Therapeutic Services Advertising Code
Principle 2 - Advertisements should observe a high standard of social responsibility particularly as consumers rely on therapeutic services for their health and well-being.
Principle 3 - Advertisements should not by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim mislead or deceive or be likely to mislead or deceive consumers, abuse the trust of or exploit the lack of knowledge of consumers, exploit the superstitious or without justifiable reason play on fear.
Guideline 3(a) - Therapeutic claims should be factual and able to be proved.
The Advertiser, Colon Care Centre, said:
Response to the Complaint to ASA
From the Colon Care Centre in Morningside of Auckland
This is the first time we have had to deal with such a complaint in our 9 years of existence.
The Bio-cleanse device is also called Foot Spa, Foot Bath, Bio-Body Cleanser, Body Cleanse and Immersion hydrobath. The Bio Cleanse device we are using is U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved and registered (see FDA document next 2 pages).
The FDA regulation number for the device is 890.5100, and the Medical Specialty is a "Physical Medicine Therapeutic Device".
FDA identification: a device intended for medical purposes that consists of water agitators and that may include a tube to be filled with water. The water temperature may be measured by a gauge. It is used in hydrotherapy to relieve pain and itching and as an aid in the healing process of inflamed and traumatized tissue, and it serves as a setting for removal of contaminated tissue.
Our Responses to the complaints are mainly from three scientific researches and one textbook of Medical Physiology by Dr Authur C Guyton on page 397 of the fifth edition.
One research is from: Independent researcher Dr Sanjay Singh, MB, BS, BSc, employed a range of scientific equipment to assess the efficiency of the Bio cleanser. Dr Sanjay Singh has a BSc in Radiological Sciences and is a UK trained medical doctor qualified from Guys hospital, London. Singh has trained in various complementary therapies which he integrates within his practice, and in particular he is a passionate advocate of Live Blood Microscopy, which he teaches to practitioners.
Two researches from 2 studies (CERTIFICATE OF ANALYSIS) showing the results from Bio Cleanse detoxification from REID-LINE Scientific Services CC,
Study #1 is Compounds identified in water after full lonator Treatment procedure. Study #2 is lonator Detoxification Study.
[Additional documents provided include - US Food and Drug Adminsistration Device Listing Database information, a selection of material from research conducted by Dr Sanjay Singh and Study #1 and #2 as listed above.]
The Complaints Board carefully read all correspondence in relation to the complaint, and viewed a copy of the website advertisement. It noted that the Complainant believed the advertisement made claims that were not factually correct and were not able to be substantiated, and included terms that were not clearly explained, meaning consumers could be potentially 'frightened' into trying the treatment.
The Chairman directed the Complaints Board to consider the advertisement with reference to Principles 2 and 3 and Principle 3 Guideline 3(a) of the Therapeutic Services Advertising Code. Principle 3 required the Complaints Board to consider whether the advertisement by implication, omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim was likely to mislead or deceive or be likely to mislead or deceive consumers, abuse the trust of or exploit the lack of knowledge of consumers, while Guideline 3(a) required that any advertisements that contained therapeutic claims should be factual and able to be proved. Principle 2 of the Code required that advertisements observe a high standard of social responsibility particularly as consumers rely on therapeutic services for their health and well-being.
As a preliminary matter, the Complaints Board reiterated its requirement for all advertisements offering therapeutic products or services to observe a high standard of social responsibility as consumers with health requirements relied on such products and services for their well-being.
Turning to the response from the Advertiser the Complaints Board firstly noted the reference to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Referring to the approval documents provided, the Complaints Board said that it only referred to the foot spa device which is used and only provided for the external benefits of using the device. It said that the claims made in the advertisement go beyond the external benefits to encompass the internal factors (ie energy fields) and was not adequate substantiation for the claims made. It further noted that the claims made in the advertisement were very scientific in nature and the FDA approval documents did not provide anything to support the claims on a scientific level.
The Complaint Board then referred to Ionator Detoxification Study provided by the Advertiser. In particular it noted the paragraph in the conclusion of the study that said:
"Our results show the need for a properly controlled scientific study, tighter standardisation and larger test group over a longer period of time. Ongoing studies are now being planned to include biochemical assays and we will report our findings on completion of a more in-depth clinical study."
The Complaints Board noted that the study relied on by the Advertiser to substantiate the claims made, was only a pilot study and it had noted a need for a further studies. As such the Complaints Board said the study was not robust nor did it provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the level of scientific claims made in the advertisement.
When taking into account the response of the Advertiser and the studies presented, along with the claims being made and the scientific wording in the advertisement, the Complaints Board said there was not sufficient evidence to substantiate those claims. Therefore, the Complaints Board said the advertisement was likely to deceive and/or mislead, abuse the trust of or exploit the lack of knowledge of consumers, thus breaching Principle 3 and Principle 3 Guideline (a) of the Therapeutic Services Advertising Code. It also said that as the claims had not been proven the advertisement did not observe a high standard of social responsibility as required by Principle 2 of the Therapeutic Services Advertising Code.
Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to uphold the complaint.
Decision: Complaint Upheld