Gwyneth Paltrow and her publication, Goop, have been sharing her celebrity lifestyle since the site launched in 2008. It’s jealousy-inducing for some, while others have complained that it’s totally “out of touch.”
But when it comes to health tips, the site is full of dodgy information, with unfounded warnings about things that are safe — like bras and sunscreen — and zealous promotion of things with little-to-no proven benefits — like cleanses and vaginal steaming. Some of the alternative medicine practices on the site could even be dangerous.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, Goop said that readers should consult their doctors before “making any changes in [their] medical routine.” A similar warning appears at the very bottom of many posts, clarifying that they intend to “highlight alternative studies” and that “the views of the author … do not necessarily represent the views of Goop.”
“Goop regularly shares perspectives and insights from a range of experts in health, wellness, and other fields,” Goop said in the statement. “The thoughts shared … stimulate discussion and conversation on a variety of topics for the consideration of our readers.”
Yet some of these “insights” are scientifically indefensible.
We looked into the facts behind some of Goop’s most dubious claims.
Myth No. 1: Getting stung by bees can safely reduce inflammation or heal an old injury.
Paltrow herself recently admitted to the New York Times that she is generally “open to anything.” This now includes being stung by bees — on purpose.
“I’ve been stung by bees. It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy,” she told the Times. “People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.”
It’s painful because people get stung by live bees during an apitherapy session. The practice can also involve merely using bee venom, but that stings, too.
Paltrow also wrote in a post on Goop that she received “‘bee venom therapy’ for an old injury and it disappeared.” The rest of the article recommends various products and practices having to do with bees, including apitherapy.
No randomized, controlled trials (the gold standard of scientific studies) have shown apitherapy has any health benefits in humans. This lack of evidence is why Dr. Clay Jackson, vice president of the board of the American Academy of Pain Management, told Business Insider that people shouldn’t try apitherapy as their first option for problems without consulting their doctor.
“Many people are allergic to bee venom and also there have been reported side effects, such as hemorrhagic strokes,” Jackson said. “Some people mistakenly assume that because something is natural, it has no side effects, and that is not the case.”