Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow, the actress actually does many things well. No one can ever take away her Oscar win, and her cookbooks are, quite honestly, excellent if you can get past the inherently ridiculous tone-deafness of them. But her track record as a wellness guru has been a little spotty. Since launching her website, Goop, in 2008, the lifestyle site has come under fire not just for being out of touch and selling $580 jean jackets, but also for spreading health advice that doctors find dubious.
For example, after a special report about the benefits of jade eggs — inserted into the vagina to “increase chi, orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance and feminine energy in general” — gynecologists warned that the dangers could be serious, including the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
Doctors have also questioned her well-publicized detox diets (frequently among the most-read posts on her site), a story about “vaginal steaming” and another that resurrected the long-ago debunked correlation between breast cancer and bras.
Not that Paltrow herself is responsible for all the content on Goop. As she explained on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last week, “I don’t know what the f— we talk about” on the site. (The host was asking her about the practice of “earthing,” which is a new-agey description for what the rest of us call walking around outside while barefoot.)
But none of that stopped Paltrow from launching the brand’s first wellness summit, In Goop Health.
Hundreds of people paid between $500 and $1,500 to attend the event Saturday in Culver City, Calif. And what did they get? Here are some highlights:
A recommendation for “leech facials”
During a panel with Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Richie, among others, model Miranda Kerr admitted to using leeches as part of her beauty routine. Not only did a professional place a leech on Kerr’s lower back to help her “detoxify,” but the model has also had leeches used during facials. The vocal PETA advocate said she then put the leeches in her koi pond so that they wouldn’t be harmed.
Even Paltrow was a little shocked by the revelation.
“I thought I was bats— crazy!” she said.
A photographer with a camera capable of capturing “people’s radiant energy” on film gave eventgoers a souvenir to take home, not to mention a reading based on the colors that appeared in the snapshots. According to USA Today reporter Andrea Mandell, her purple and red portrait signified she was a “visionary” and “passionate.”
Some attendees volunteered to get hooked up to IVs to replenish their electrolytes.
Some conflicting nutrition advice
During a session on gut health, panelists warned against the hazards of nightshades — the family of plants that includes potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. In that case, someone should have warned Sweetgreen.
There were also recommendations to skip meals, especially breakfast. That would have been helpful information before attendees had already sampled the morning’s smorgasbord of doughnuts, sushi breakfast burritos, juices and smoothies.
A stomach-churning tutorial on nonsurgical facelifts
Plastic surgeon Julius Few performed a nonsurgical facelift onstage, which, despite its name, still involved making incisions into a volunteer’s face and using a threaded needle to tighten the skin. The New York Post called it a “room-clearing” event.
Only a lucky few were able to take advantage of the crystal therapy sessions, which were reportedly booked by 10 a.m. That was the bad news. The good news was that those who missed their shot could get their very own “medicine bag” of eight precious stones to do therapy at home. It’s $85 and available for sale in the Goop store.