NHS slams Gwyneth Paltrow for fuelling wellness industry 'on steroids'

Head of the NHS slams Gwyneth Paltrow for pushing ‘dodgy’ health fads and singles out her ‘dubious’ Goop remedies in attack on ‘quacks’ who exploit the fears of vulnerable

  • Chief executive Sir Simon Stevens singled out the 47-year-old actress
  • Her brand Goop has repeatedly come under fire for controversial products 
  • Sir Stevens said consumers are risking their health and wasting their money
  • He said spread of misinformation has consequences amid low vaccine rates

NHS England has slammed Gwyneth Paltrow for fuelling health myths ‘on steroids’. 

Chief executive Sir Simon Stevens singled out the 47-year-old actress for promoting ‘dubious wellness products and dodgy procedures’ that can be damaging to health.

Paltrow’s own brand Goop has repeatedly come under fire for selling costly and controversial products, such as vaginal jade eggs and a ‘vampire repellent’ spray to ‘conjure up positivity’.

Her new Netflix series, The Goop Lab, was labelled by medical professionals as ‘horrifying’ and ‘potentially harmful’ for peddling unproven treatments, such as vampire facials, to a wide audience.  

Now, the NHS has waded in. Sir Stevens said consumers are risking their health and wasting their money by buying into ‘too-good-to-be-true remedies’. 

NHS England has slammed Gwyneth Paltrow for fuelling health myths ‘on steroids’

Chief executive Sir Simon Stevens singled out the 47-year-old actress for promoting ‘dubious wellness products and dodgy procedures’ that can be damaging to health 

Speaking in An Oxford Conversation at the Sheldonian Theatre, Sir Steven’s said:  ‘Myths and misinformation have been put on steroids by the availability of misleading claims online.

‘Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand peddles “psychic vampire repellent” ($27); says “chemical sunscreen is a bad idea”; and promotes colonic irrigation and DIY coffee enema machines, despite them carrying considerable risks to health and NHS advice clearly stating there is “no scientific evidence to suggest there are any health benefits associated with colonic irrigation”. 

‘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.’

Sir Steven’s scathing comments come just days after The Goop Lab was first aired on Netflix on January 24. 

In the six-episode series predominantly about Paltrow’s brand, she explores various wellness treatments focused on ‘energy healing’, exorcisms, anti-ageing and more.

Heavy criticism – also directed towards Netflix – ensued before the series even started after a taster trailer was aired.

Paltrow has birthed extensive debate about vaginal steaming, jade eggs – which are inserted into the vagina to ‘boost femininity’ – a $15,000 24k gold vibrator and crystal infused water for ‘spiritual support’.

Sir Simon Stevens suggested it is easy to peddle pseudoscience because people are naturally concerned about their health. 

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.  

‘While fake news used to travel by word of mouth – and later the Caxton press – we all know that lies and misinformation can now be round the world at the touch of a button – before the truth has reached for its socks, never mind got its boots on.’ 

Sir Simon said health misinformation has existed for centuries with severe consequences. 

He noted anti-vax lies have undermined public faith in life-saving vaccines and spawned current health burdens.

Last year, the UK lost its measles elimination status, along with three other European countries, as a result of widespread disinformation. 

Sir Simon said: ‘And now we have dubious ‘wellness’ products and dodgy procedures available on the web.’ 

The Daily Mail is campaigning to improve the uptake of all childhood immunisations – which are falling across the board after years of misinformation, online anti-vax myths, and growing apathy.

Many of these myths date back to London doctor Andrew Wakefield, who in 1998 published a paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism.

Goop have been contacted for comment but did not immediately respond.  


Gwyneth Paltrow is no stranger to critics. In September 2018, Goop paid $145,000 to settle a lawsuit accusing it of making unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of vaginal eggs and a flower essence that ‘could help prevent depression.’

As a result, Goop was barred by the Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force from making any claims regarding the health benefits of its products ‘without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence,’ and from manufacturing or selling any falsely advertised medical devices.

Some of her most controversial products or claims are below:

Jade Eggs

A gynaecologist slammed Paltrow’s suggestion for women to put jade eggs up their vaginas as ridiculous and dangerous.

Writing on her lifestyle blog Goop, the Hollywood actress claimed the $66 rocks boost orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and ‘feminine energy’.

Women, Paltrow explained through an interview with her ‘beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend’, should clench the egg inside them all day to exercise their pelvic floor.

But acclaimed gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter warned in January 2019 that the whole idea is nonsense – and could even increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis or deadly toxic shock syndrome.

Vaginal steaming

Paltrow advocated a ‘mugworth v-steam’ to cleanse the uterus on the Goop blog in 2016.

Also known as V-Steam, the procedure involves lying on a bed while ‘steam infused with therapeutic herbs is targeted toward your nether regions’.

Gywneth insisted the practice has ‘real healing qualities’. She told The Cut: ‘It’s been in Korean medicine for thousands of years and there are real healing properties. If I find benefit to it and it’s getting a lot of page views, it’s a win-win.’

Dr Vanessa Mackay, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), reminded women the vagina cleans itself.

Dr Mackay said: ‘The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it.

‘If these bacteria are disturbed it can lead to infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, and inflammation.

‘Steaming the vagina could affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection and inflammation. It could also burn the delicate skin around the vagina.’

Glacce amethyst bottles

Crystal infused water from your very own gemstone water bottle allows you to drink healing water or ‘Crystal Elixir’.

Paltrow sells the bottles on her website Goop and says they are perfect for ‘spiritual support’.

Fans claim that iron and minerals along with the healing properties of certain crystals are released into the water, which you can then drink and reap the benefits.

Claire Pettitt, a spokesperson for The British Dietetic Association, said: ‘There is absolutely no evidence to support any benefit of adding crystals to your water.

‘There is limited research looking at crystal elixirs and so the health benefits claimed to occur with these magical drinks are simply not evidence-based.’

The Goop Lab, Netflix

Social media users, health experts, and doctors slammed Paltrow’s new Netflix show as ‘horrifying,’ ‘potentially harmful,’ and ‘dangerous health misinformation’.

They called the actress for continuing to push pseudoscience to a wider audience on The Goop Lab, which premiered on January 24.

The star takes on topics like psychedelics, female sexuality, and energy healing in her new series, and focuses on the boundary-pushing — and sometimes dangerous — wellness treatments featured on her lifestyle website.

Dr Jen Gunter, author of The Vagina Bible who has been frequently critical of Paltrow, told Bustle that she ‘can’t stomach’ watching the trailer again.

She said: ‘This looks like classic Goop: some fine information presented alongside unscientific, unproven, potentially harmful therapies for attention, with the disclaimer of “We’re only having conversations!”‘

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