Trouble with Claims: Gwyneth and the Goop Wellness Controversies

Goop Wellness has become very popular in recent years. If you’re into health and wellness, you’ve most likely visited this site. You’d also know it’s founded by actress (now wellness guru) Gwyneth Paltrow.

Trouble with Claims, Gwyneth and the Goop Wellness Controversies

Indeed, it’s popular for many controversial reasons. Since it began, Goop Wellness has come under fire several times. It’s been criticized by readers, doctors and scientists for promoting questionable wellness advice.

Ever heard of vaginal steaming? How about the benefits of coffee enemas? Tried inserting a jade egg into your vagina to prevent kidney stones? Yup, these types of health tips. For the record, the jade eggs ended up costing Goop $145,000 in civil penalties.

So what’s Goop and why can’t people stop talking about it? Here’s what I’ve learned from Goop’s history.

What is Goop Wellness?

Gwyneth started Goop Wellness in 2008 as a weekly newsletter. It shared places to shop, travel destinations and healthy recipes. It voices out questions about health and fitness, helping readers find answers. According to the Goop website, it’s a place where Gwyneth could introduce experts who mentored her for years. They claim to provide information like a “trusted friend,” better than unnamed, crowdsourced sites.

Today, Goop is a decade old. They now host the annual Goop Health Summit. It’s grown into an empire that provides health and lifestyle advice, as well as products, to many readers.

Goop Wellness, Gwyneth Paltrow at the Goop Health Summit

For the most part, when I think about it, Goop’s articles are actually alright. It features trendy places to shop, great restaurants, and beautiful destinations. However, quite a number of their posts were called out by experts for having “unfounded” health tips. Gwyneth has also been accused of “peddling pseudoscience.” By this, it means they’re endorsing health methods that don’t have real benefits. Or worse, tips that could be dangerous. Just recently, a consumer-advocacy group pointed that Goop promotes unsubstantiated product claims.

Despite criticism from many health experts, Gwyneth disagrees with detractors. In a recent interview with BBC Breakfast, she says “We really believe that there are healing modalities that have existed for thousands of years, and they challenge maybe a very conventional Western doctor.”

Most Controversial Goop Claims

Just what are these controversial health tips? Here’s some of the three biggest wellness claims that got Goop into trouble.

1. Bee Sting Therapy to Relieve Inflammation

Goop Wellness, Controversial Bee Sting Therapy

In an interview with the New York Times, Gwyneth admitted having bee sting treatment to remove scars and inflammation on her skin. The issue came up again in March 2018 when a woman in Spain died after having bee sting therapy (from the Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology).

2. Rebalance Your Energy by Using Stickers Made from Space Suits

Goop Wellness, Controversial Body Stickers

Goop promoted $120 stickers to readers in 2017. The reason? They said sticking them on your arms “targets imbalances” in the body. Goop claimed the stickers were made from NASA space suits that were designed to track an astronaut’s vital signs. However, former NASA chief scientist Mark Shelhamer called them out. He said none of it was true. Goop deleted the article after the incident.

3. Mugwort Vaginal Steaming to Balance Hormones

Goop Wellness, Controversial Vaginal Steaming

In an article about detox spas, Goop endorsed V-steams that “rebalanced hormone levels and cleaned the uterus.” Several gynecologists reacted to this health tip. Dr. Draion Burch said there’s no scientific evidence vaginal steams have health benefits. In fact, it can even result in burns. Dr. Jen Gunter, on the other hand, warned women against it. She argued it cannot restore hormonal imbalance or reach the uterus.

Growing Pains: Goop Starts Fact-Checking Articles

Goop Wellness, Gwyneth Paltrow speaking at Goop Health SummitAfter all the bad rep, it seems Gwyneth has started listening to sound advice. Shortly after Goop’s split from magazine magnate Condé Nast for “not agreeing to fact-check” articles, she made some changes. Goop has now began fact-checking their own articles.

Gwyneth says it’s been a learning experience. In her recent interview with BBC news, she says they now have a regulatory department that vets products. They also have a science and research team that checks their sources.

It may seem late in the game, but this is still good news. The company is evolving, even though it’s slow. I just hope they strive to give readers well-researched health tips, like we truly deserve.

Do you read Goop? Have you purchased any Goop products?
What are your thoughts on this issue? Tell us in the comments below!

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