Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop is making headlines all over again.
The “modern lifestyle brand”, as it is described online, has come under fire in the past for peddling dangerous or weird wellness techniques and products, including the infamous suggestion that its jade and rose quartz eggs could balance hormones and regulate menstrual cycles when inserted vaginally. Last month, the brand even started selling candles that smell like a vagina. Standard.
And now, Paltrow’s brand has come under fire once more for its new Netflix series The Goop Lab, in which the Goop team are seen trying out different wellness techniques and products in an attempt to “milk the shit” out of their lives.
Described as a “curiosity-driven exploration of boundary-pushing wellness topics”, The Goop Lab was always going to be pretty controversial. Throughout the six part series, we see members of Paltrow’s team trying everything from psychedelic psychotherapy to energy healing. And although Netflix says the series is “designed to entertain, not provide medical advice”, it has now attracted criticism from one of the UK’s biggest medical figures – NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens.
“Fresh from controversies over jade eggs and unusually scented candles, Goop has just popped up with a new TV series in which Gwyneth Paltrow and her team test vampire facials and back a ‘bodyworker’ who claims to cure both acute psychological trauma and side effects by simply moving his hands two inches above a customer’s body,” Stevens said.
“Her brand peddles psychic vampire repellent, says chemical sunscreen is a bad idea, and promotes colonic irrigation and DIY coffee enema machines, despite them carrying considerable risks to health,” he added.
Continuing the conversation, Stevens also voiced his concern about the harmful influence such shows have on people who are concerned about their health.
“Myths and misinformation have been put on steroids by the availability of misleading claims online,” he said. “While the term ‘fake news’ makes most people think about politics, people’s natural concern for their health, and particularly about that of their loved ones, makes this particularly fertile ground for quacks, charlatans and cranks.”
According to the BBC, a spokesperson for Goop said it was “transparent when we cover emerging topics that may be unsupported by science or may be in early stages of review.”
This isn’t the first time a health professional has criticised Paltrow’s wellness brand. In 2019, Cambridge University scientist Dr Giles Yeo tackled an article on the Goop website which instructed readers how to achieve their “leanest liveable weight,” calling it “irresponsible”.
“It’s a silly idea because there is no clear way to determine what your leanest liveable weight is,” he said. “This is a dangerous suggestion, as many people will take it to mean they should be as thin as possible.”
He continued: “It is irresponsible because the idea is so open to misinterpretation, especially for young girls susceptible to eating disorders.”