Kinesio UK in important precedent test case with ASA
Kinesio Taping has now been in use for over 25 years. In the UK, over 4000 practitioners have been trained in Kinesio taping and there are over 55,000 practitioners worldwide. Kinesio UK also has worked closely with leading organisations such as the NHS, MOD, FA, MLD Therapists and the EIS. The result is that a growing number of health professionals, including physiotherapists, now use Kinesio Taping are part of their regular patient treatment.
As the governing body for Kinesio Taping, Kinesio UK recognise that it has a duty of care in ensuring that all communications are accurate, fair and lawful. Kinesio UK supports the role of the UK Advertising Standards Authority and its efforts to ensure customers are not given misleading information.
In March 2011, new ASA guidelines came into effect setting important standards for both internet advertising and the marketing of health therapies. The key principles remain that all advertisements must be fair, accurate and honest. However, for health therapies, new guidelines also state that all therapy claims must be assessed against substantiation tests on the 'basis of available scientific knowledge'. As a relatively new health therapy Kinesio Taping was selected by the ASA to provide an important precedent setting test case which can be used for assessment of similar therapies in the future.
Kinesio UK has worked closely with the ASA and supplied nearly 50 research papers for review, 6 of which were Randomised Controlled Trails. All papers were independently researched with input from universities around the world. They indicated that Kinesio Taping is a low risk therapy, with the majority showing extremely good, positive results.
However, in assessing health therapy claims, the ASA have sought to judge claims against the highest substantiation test � RCT (Randomised Control Trials). This is the standard required for licensed drugs. As there is nothing medicinal in Kinesio tape, Kinesio UK argued that the level of test being applied was excessive and that a lesser test should be used. However, following review by the ASA Council, the precedent has now been set that the ASA will only recognise RCT in ASA adjudications of manual therapies.
This precedent will, therefore, have implications for the way in which Kinesio UK describes the conditions that health practitioners can use Kinesio Taping for and how the tape works. In the wider context it will also have implications for other taping companies who make claims which cannot be substantiated to the RCT test level and will, in fact, allow manual therapies in future to be judged against the level set for licensed drugs. As such, this ASA ruling is very important for the manual therapy industry.
Whilst we regret that we cannot meet the high level of substantiation required by the ASA for Kinesio Taping and are disappointed at their ruling, we would contend that the widely seen use of Kinesio Taping by elite sports people throughout the world and the rapidly growing use of taping by many health professionals on a regular basis, is testimony to the benefit that Kinesio taping can have for some patients in aiding the treatment of certain medical conditions.
Ultimately, we can only leave it to individual practitioners and their patients to assess the value and benefits of Kinesio Taping.