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Saturday, June 13, 2009

The British Chiropractic Associates Issues a Warning

The British Chiropractic Associates (BCA) is the group that sued science journalist Simon Singh for pointing that their practices were not evidence based. Although the initial court ruling was favorable to the BCA, the subsequent fall-out is probably making them regret their decision to silence critics.

The latest round has the BCA sending out the following warning to their members—a warning that should not have been necessary if chiropractors have been behaving like they should.
he BCA would remind members of their obligations under the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) section 50 (relating to Health & Beauty Products and Therapies: see

Members are strongly encouraged to review their current marketing materials (whether they are paper- or web-based to ensure that they are compliant with both ASA and GCC requirements. Note that the ASA has no jurisdiction over editorial materials placed on members own websites.

When reviewing your materials it may be helpful to consider the following:

1. Are there any claims made that cannot be justified by reference to evidence? Remember, the GCC requires chiropractors to practice evidence based care, which is defined as "clinical practice that incorporates the best available evidence from research, the preferences of the patient and the expertise of practitioners (which includes the individual chiropractor himself).

2. Be mindful of making promises that you cannot be sure of delivering on;

3. Be wary of listing conditions that are controversial and away from mainstream chiropractic care e.g. dyslexia/dyspraxia unless you have research to back this up. If you have made references to prolonged crying, sleep and feeding problems, breathing difficulties and frequent infections, as these are symptoms rather than condition specific, we suggest you remove these references.

4. Do not refer to yourself as a specialist in any particular form of chiropractic;

5. Do not use unfamiliar words for common conditions;

6. Do not unjustly criticise other healthcare professionals;

7. If you refer to subluxations, provide information to explain what they are.

8. Take care in the use of the Doctor title. Ensure that there is no way there can be any doubt that you are a chiropractor, and not a registered medical practitioner. Do not use the doctor title in paper advertising without explicitly stating that you are a chiropractor.
How much of this controversy is going to spill over into North America? Isn't it time that American and Canadian chiropractors started to feel the heat?

Here's an example of a "wellness clinic" in my neighborhood: Erin Mills Optimum Health. They offer chiropractic (Dr. Peever, Dr. Caven, Dr. Cote), chiropody/foot care, naturopathy (including homeopathy) (Dr. Almond), massage therapy, and reflexology.

As of today (June 13, 2009) the home page on their website contains the following testemonial.
I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and began researching on the internet for anyway I could get any relief from my symptoms. A co-worker of mine recommended me to see a Chiropractor after I had missed a couple of days of work. With my regular adjustments and my regulated diet, I noticed a positive change in my health. I am feeling better and more comfortable with myself. I would recommend to anyone who suffers from IBS to come in and see a Chiropractor, you have nothing to lose.
The British Chiropractic Associates would not be pleased.


  1. With my regular adjustments and my regulated diet, I noticed a positive change in my health.

    ...which is due to either placebo effect or the dietary changes (increased fibre, perhaps?). Spinal adjustments? Not so much.

    I would recommend to anyone who suffers from IBS to come in and see a Chiropractor, you have nothing to lose.

    ....except some money. But hey, it's yours to waste if you want....

  2. That testimonial sounds like "I had a headache, so I took an aspirin and prayed. My headache went away hanks to the prayer."