It’s Paltrow v Nasa in the sticky business of selling ‘snake oil’
GWYNETH PALTROW has often endured ridicule over her Goop lifestyle website, which advises women on detoxing their bodies with bone broth and how to harness their “crown chakras”.
But now Goop, which the Oscarwinning actress has fashioned into a multi-million-dollar retail empire touting vitamins and home furnishings, has attracted perhaps its most authoritative critic yet – Nasa.
The website has found itself in hot water, after it was forced to take down claims that products it sold were based on Nasa technology. Former Nasa scientists also said the products’ alleged healing powers were nothing more than “snake oil”.
Goop recommends its readers try “Body Vibes stickers” – colourful patches which are worn on the arm or near the heart to “rebalance the energy frequency in our bodies”. The site’s authors state that the stickers, for sale at $120 for a pack of 24, “have become a major obsession around Goop HQ”.
Goop originally claimed that the stickers were “made with the same conductive carbon material Nasa uses to line spacesuits so they can monitor an astronaut’s vitals during wear”.
But, following an investigation by website Gizmodo, the claim was removed from Goop. A representative from Nasa’s spacewalk office told Gizmodo that they “do not have any conductive carbon material lining the spacesuits”.
The company itself still claims that “Body Vibes use an exclusive material originally developed for Nasa”.
‘Not only is the whole premise like snake oil, the logic doesn’t even hold up. If they promote healing why do they leave marks on the skin?’
Goop did not respond to Telegraph enquiries as to whether they still stand by that claim. Mark Shelhamer, former chief scientist at NASA’S human research division, told Gizmodo that he was unimpressed by Body Vibes’ claims, describing it as “a load of BS”.
“Not only is the whole premise like snake oil, the logic doesn’t even hold up,” he said.
“If they promote healing, why do they leave marks on the skin when they are removed?”
Goop told The Telegraph that, following Nasa’s statement, they have “gone back to the company to inquire about the claim and removed the claim from our site until we get additional verification”. The spokesman added: “As we have always explained, advice and recommendations included on Goop are not formal endorsements and the opinions expressed by experts and companies we profile do not necessarily represent the views of Goop.
“Our content is meant to highlight unique products and offerings, find open-minded alternatives and encourage conversation.”
But it is not the first time that the site’s “open-minded alternatives” have raised eyebrows. Women were recommended to insert $65 jade eggs into themselves to improve their sex lives.
To cure depression, fans of the site were told to try “earthing” – or walking around barefoot.
Women struggling to get over the end of a relationship were coaxed into burning all of their underwear by Suzannah Galland, a “life adviser” and relationship expert.
Earlier this month, attendees paid $1,500 to attend a “wellness summit” in Los Angeles, where “experts” said eating kale can be dangerous, that taking one painkiller “is like swallowing a hand grenade” and that Americans should not eat tomatoes and potatoes.
Actress and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow at a Goop party in Dallas, Texas, in 2014. Left, the ‘energy rebalancing’ Body Vibes stickers