Thursday, 29 October 2015


You might have to back this up

Quite a lot of people like to call Conductive Education a 'therapy'. Doing so may of course reflect no more than their lack of knowledge, or misunderstanding of what they do know. It may also be a genuinely reasoned position – though I have not heard or seen it expressed so.

Very often, however, a choice has been made at a different level, generally that this word 'helps explain what CE does' or some such – or, more specifically, something like 'to explain it to the doctors'.

There are various reasons not to call Conductive Education a therapy, but I have just noticed one here in the United Kingdom that I had not spotted before – to avoid trouble with the ASA (the Advertising Standards Agency), a non-statutory body body created by the advertising industry to regulate advertisers.

I have no doubt that other countries have their own similarly regulatory systems where similar questions might arise.

Learn from the CAMs?

The acronym CAM signifies complementary and alternative medicine.

The wide range of CAM practitioners, people who provide complementary and alternative medicine, may of whom state themselves as therapists, have experience of this. Sensible CAM practitioners have no wish to act irresponsibly or harmfully, but they may find still themselves up against a problem when it comes to the ASA –
We can all agree that non-one should make claims they cannot substantiate and that when any claims are made these should be supported by some kind of evidence.

But what is evidence? The ASA has no legal grounds to reject honest verifiable evidence that you have gathered whether that be the list of clients you have treated and helped successfully or other evidence of the efficacy of a treatment. However, the ASA usually requires (at least for natural health practitioners) some kind of randomized control trial to support a claim when adjudicating on a complaint.

Why should the ASA pick up on particular advertisements?
When someone makes a complaint about a practitioner it is, in the first place, more often than not done by someone who is negative towards natural health therapies. Their motivation is to close you down.

You don't advertise? There can be few conductive services that do not have at least a Facebook page and usually a website as well, straining its sinews to attract the attention of possible clients – not to mention all those widely publicised fund-raising events that often include a short statement of what Conductive Education does and is.

And you don't ever mention 'therapy' in any of these? In many cases never. But there are other wys that might be thought to mislead. Foe example, mention of 'rewiring the brain' or similar formulations might prove a claim that one find it hard to substantiate.

Take steps

I was reminded of this question by a letter to the magazine Positive Health from the campaign group F4H (Freedom for Health), a campaign group that advocates –
...the right to choose your own system of health. To promote it responsibly as a practitioner or to have the information of different kinds of treatments as a user.

To be a responsible practitioner or provider of Conductive Education requires that you consider very carefully what you say or write – or cut and paste – so always watch your language, and what it might imply. Try to leave as little room as possible for people to misinterpret or misunderstand.

One may not agree with the notion of Conductive Education as a treatment/therapy, or of conductors as therapists, but the field of complementary and alternative health has been going for a long time and is a very broad church. Problems over advertising are just one area in which Conductive Education might look to the experience of the CAMs and perhaps learn some useful lessons.

Over the specific issue of advertising, the GRCCT (the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies) offers a complex certification process for advertisers: 

Yes, of course it costs, commercial activity usually does.

And just remember that András Pető was a natural healer.


Freedom4Health (2015) Vital Information re the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Positive Health, no 226, November

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