It’s Pal­trow v Nasa in the sticky busi­ness of sell­ing ‘snake oil’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Harriet Alexan­der in New York

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

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