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Posted by Gillian Kenyon, Sep 14 2010 12:46PM

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How do you describe a Therapy legally

The MHRA and Ministers are currently reviewing the reform of S12(1) in the light of the potential Statutory Regulation of Herbalists and the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) which will be fully implemented on 30 April 2011

The Medicines Act clearly states that no medicinal claims can be made on labels, promotional material or advertisements – including web sites – for products that have not been licensed as medicines.

Essential oils cannot be licensed since they vary like wine, from crop to crop. Therefore no aromatherapy product may make remedial claims if it relates to a specific disease or adverse condition of the body or mind.

Given the proposals being considered in the consultation documents that will Reform of Section 12(1) of the Medicines Act 1968, how will Aromatherapists continue to practice as Complementary Therapists ?.

Since MHRA does not consider essential oils blended for external use in aromatherapy to have medicinal properties per se it is the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) opinion that aromatherapists do not need to rely on S12(1) exemption of the Medicines Act 1968, to supply them provided no explicit medical claims are made.

This means that any reference to 'health benefits' or 'treatment of conditions' or 'ailments' is prohibited in relation to essential oil blends and essential oils, whether for individual clients or for members of the public to whom product blends are sold.

In essence then, Aromatherapy becomes marketable as nothing more than a good rub with a nice smelly oil. It can not even be described as a 'relaxant' or a 'stress reliever' since these imply medical effects.

How can the process of regulation of Herbal Medicine and its discussions with Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency end up leaving Aromatherapy out in the cold with such a bleak outlook for the future?

How would anyone suggest Aromatherapists describe their technique to avoid falling foul of legislation in the future?.

What do other Aromatherapists intend to do if they become restricted from implying health benefits from their treatments in either their literature or on their web-sites ?.

Does this mean that with regulation's ever increasing touch, all therapists will become restricted in what they can say when marketing their treatments

Angelina Kelly
Sep 14 2010 4:26PM
Here in Ireland we already are. We cannot diagnose via Reflexology or any other treatment nor can we advertise that we treat ANY condition at all. If we suspect a client has a "problem" the best we can do is advise them to go see a doctor and ask to be checked for.........

A therapists' word here holds for nothing however because we can talk back to doctors in their own language with a measure of authority we are grudgingly tolerated (almost).
Gillian Kenyon
Sep 14 2010 4:34PM
Hi Angelina

It isn't just diagnoisis. Therapists in the UK have NEVER been allowed to diagnose anyway. It is that we won't even be able to describe or imply health benefits either in marketing materials or face to face the way things are going.
Angelina Kelly
Sep 14 2010 4:42PM
Hi Gillian,

Which makes our situation all the more of a problem. How can we promote ourselves? How can we attract clients to us if we can't extol the virtues of what we do? Are we being squeezed out of existance by the establishment so that they can "cash in" and continue to fool the public? If so, how can we counteract that and get the recognition we deserve and the public are entitled to?

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