Dont listen to Gwyneth Paltrow: keep your coffee well away from your rectum | Jen Gunter

The colonic irrigation and coffee enemas promoted on Paltrows website Goop are not merely unnecessary, they are potentially dangerous, writes obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter

It seems January is Gwyneth Paltrows go-to month for promoting potentially dangerous things that should not go in or near an orifice. January 2015 brought us vagina steaming, January 2017 was jade eggs, and here we are in the early days of January 2018 and is hawking coffee enemas and promoting colonic irrigation.

I suspect that GP and her pals at believe people are especially vulnerable to buying quasi-medical items in the New Year as they have just released their latest detox and wellness guide complete with a multitude of products to help get you nowhere.

Ha ha, go deep. Nice play on words for a dangerous yet ineffective therapy. An advertisement on

One offers to help if youre looking to go deep on many levels. Ha ha, go deep. Nice play on words for a dangerous yet ineffective therapy. is not selling a coffee machine, it is selling a coffee enema-making machine. That, my friends, is a messed-up way to make money. I know the people at Goop will either ignore the inquiries from reporters or release a statement saying the article is a conversation not a promotion and that they included the advice of a board-certified doctor, Dr Alejandro Junger, but any time you lend someone else your platform their ideas are now your ideas. That is why I never let anyone write guest posts for my blog. And lets be real, if you are selling the hardware to shoot coffee up your ass then you are promoting it as a therapy especially as Goop actually called the $135 coffee enema-making machine Dr Jungers pick. I mean come on.

The interview with Junger is filled with information that is unsupported both by the medical literature and by human anatomy and physiology. There is no data to suggest that a colonic helps with the elimination of the waste that is transiting the colon on its way out. That is what bowel movements do. There are no toxins to be cleansed or irrigated. That is fake medicine. A 2011 review on colonics concluded that doctors should advise patients that colon cleansing has no proven benefits and many adverse effects.

The idea that colonics are used in conjunction with a cleanse is beyond ridiculous. Junger tells us via Goop that a cleanse creates some kind of extra sticky mucus that blocks elimination of what needs to be disposed of (I will admit that hurt my brain more than a little). Dr Junger says this cleanse residue is a mucoid plaque, basically some kind of adherent, cleanse-induced super-glue that needs a colonic for removal. He supports this assertion not with published research, but by telling Goops readers to Google mucoid plaque.

No really. That is what he said. Google it. So I did. This is what came up first:

Mucoid plaque (or mucoid cap or rope) is a pseudoscientific term used by some alternative medicine advocates to describe what is claimed to be a combination of allegedly harmful mucus-like material and food residue that they say coats the gastrointestinal tract of most people.

Apparently, the term mucoid plaque was coined by Richard Anderson, who is a naturopath, not a gastroenterologist, so not a doctor who actually looks inside the colon. I looked mucoid plaques up in PubMed. Guess what? Nothing colon-related. There is not one study or even case-report describing this phenomenon. Apparently only doctors who sell cleanses and colonics can see them. I am fairly confident that if some gastroenterologist (actual colon doctor) found some crazy mucus that looked like drool from the alien queen that she or he would have taken pictures and written about it or discussed it at a conference.

If we needed cleanses to live and thus colonics to manage this alien-like mucous residue created by cleanses, how did we ever evolve? Wouldnt we have died out from these mysterious toxins? Wouldnt our rectums be different? Wouldnt we have invented irrigation tubing before the wheel? So many questions.

There is only a side mention in the Goop post of two of the many complications seen with colonics: colon perforation and damage to gastrointestinal bacteria. And as for coffee enemas? While Dr Kelly Brogan, Paltrows Aids-denialist doctor gal pal who is speaking at In Goop Health later this month, is also a huge fan, there is no data to suggest that coffee offers any benefit via the rectal route but there are plenty of reports of coffee enema-induced rectal burns.

So here are the facts. No one needs a cleanse. Ever. There are no waste products left behind in the colon that need removing just because or after a cleanse. If a cleanse did leave gross, adherent hunks of weird mucus then that would be a sign that the cleanse was damaging the colon. You know what creates excess, weird mucous? Irritation and inflammation.

There are serious risks to colonics such as bowel perforation, damaging the intestinal bacteria, abdominal pain, vomiting, electrolyte abnormalities and renal failure. There are also reports of serious infections, air embolisms, colitis, and rectal perforation. If you go to a spa and the equipment is not sterilised, infections can be transmitted via the tubing.

Coffee enemas and colonics offer no health benefit. The biology used to support these therapies is unsound and there can be very real complications. Keep the coffee out of your rectum and in your cup. It is only meant to access your colon from the top.

Dr Jen Gunter is an obstetrician, gynaecologist and pain medicine physician. This piece originally ran on Jen Gunters blog

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Sex Dust and vampire repellent: a stroll through Gwyneth Paltrow’s new LA store

Visitors to Goop Lab, the first permanent brick-and-mortar store to feature the actors lifestyle brand, found themselves in something akin to heaven

In the apothecary section, two young women were inspecting shelves with detox kits, Sex Dust, psychic vampire repellent and a shamanic pouch with healing stones that included the goddess stone chrysocolla.

In the kitchen area, a mother and her toddler daughter were leafing through coffee table books with titles like Foraged Flora, Sunday Suppers and Dinner Diaries: Reviving the Art of the Hostess.

Lilli Lee was in the living room area with her friends flicking through a clothes rack and lingered over a pair of lime-green trousers. She examined the price tag. Three hundred dollars. Oh, am I in trouble?

Lee wasnt in trouble. She was in Gwyneth Paltrows new Los Angeles store, the alpha zen actors first permanent brick-and-mortar space of her lifestyle brand Goop, and apparently that felt pretty close to being in heaven.

Its just beautiful, said Lee, 43, indicating the antique mantle, chandelier and blue and magenta wall coverings all inspired, like the rest of the store, by the dcor of a nearby bungalow owned by Paltrow.

The store, called Goop Lab, opened this week in Brentwood Country Mart, a cluster of boutiques in a plush, celebrity-filled neighbourhood near the Pacific Ocean which likes to call malls marts.

The shop is airy, bright and small, just 1,300 sq feet, with soft music and smiling, white-clad staff a physical embodiment of the online store that inspires devotion for Paltrows vision of wellness and scorn for products such as jade stones which women are invited to insert into their vaginas.

The dining room area of Gwyneth Paltrows Goop Lab store in Los Angeles. Photograph: Rory Carroll for the Guardian

Its all been choreographed by GP, said Heather Taylor, a store manager, using a term of affection for her boss. All the products are clean. They have nothing that could be harmful to the body.

Some, however, may disembowel the wallet.

The entrance, which mimics a garden, offers buttery and soft deerskin gloves for $48, gold-handled floral scissors for $72 and the prettiest compost bin ever for $175.

Sex Dust, priced $38 per jar, for sale at Goop Lab in Los Angeles. Photograph: Rory Carroll for the Guardian

Further inside, you find a pair of Portuguese napkin rings with images of sky blue swallows for $56 and a champagne flute for $180. A silk blouse costs $685; a floral dress $795.

The kitchen area is centred around an ivory and brass LaCanche oven where Goop food editors are due to cook and provide demonstrations. Paltrows image beams from the cover of her book, Its All Good: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook ($34).

To the stores guests they are not called customers it was all good. Goop, which Paltrow started as a newsletter in 2008 and turned into a global brand, now had a sanctum: the artfully arranged flowers, the whimsical dcor, the wares which promised to stop ageing and banish bad vibes.

I think its all pretty positive and uplifting, said Heidi Brecker, 36, a longtime fan, as she browsed some dresses . Goop helps keep you young and fresh and vibrant. Brecker, it should be noted, looked about 26.

The stores vibe reminded her of London, where she used to live. It feels very Westbourne Grove.

One can only speculate what Little Nell would have made of a curiosity shop where nothing is supposed to grow old.

Brentwood Country Mart is sufficiently LA to have a sign in the car park reminding visitors theyre not at the beach: Wear shirts and shoes. Leave dogs outside No skateboards or rollerblades.

During the Guardians visit, all Goops customers were slender white women, save the toddler, who seemed destined to become one. She rummaged through the kitchenware, picking items at random. What have you got there, honey? asked her mom. Nice! You have good taste.

Some guests came out of curiosity, but all felt Goops magic, said Taylor, the manager. Nobody can come here and not buy anything. Everybody leaves with something.

Walmart and Debenhams take note: options in the apothecary included jars of Sex Dust, a lusty edible formula alchemized to ignite and excite sexy energy in and out of the bedroom ($38) and bottles of psychic vampire repellent, comprising sonically tuned gem elixirs ($30).

Psychic vampire repellent, priced $30 per bottle, for sale at Goop Lab. Photograph: Rory Carroll for the Guardian

The medicine bag pebbles included black obsidian for grounding and protection, carnelian for support for female issues, lapis lazuli for the speaking of ones truth and clear quartz for connection with your higher self, intuition and spirit guides ($85). There was no sign of vaginal jade stones.

Kitchenware included a $50 rolling pin with wood apparently reclaimed from the Atlantic City Boardwalk, a type of rare south American hardwood some of which is extinct today, according to Goops website. All products, it says, are designed to let people shop with meaning.

Goop collaborated with the design firm Roman and Williams to mix custom and vintage dcor, Brittany Pattner, Goops experiential creative director, said via email. Our headquarters are a short drive away from the store, so we see it as an extension of our home. A lab of sorts for us to experiment in, connect with our community of readers and shoppers.

Goop had plans for further retail expansion, Pattner added. We hope to share more news about that soon.

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop faces new false advertising claims

Nonprofit group Truth in Advertising claims Goop is exploiting women by marketing products as having the ability to treat diseases and disorders

Goop, the lifestyle and publishing company founded by Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, is facing new criticisms from an advertising watchdog for making false claims promoting almost 50 products, including a Carnalian crystal claimed to treat infertility and the now-infamous jade vaginal egg promoted as preventing uterine prolapse.

The new claims against Goop were lodged with two California district attorneys connected to the California Food, Drug and Medical Task Force by Truth in Advertising (Tina), a nonprofit group that says it conducted an investigation into Goop for using unsubstantiated, and therefore deceptive, health and disease-treatment claims to market many of its products.

In addition, the group drew attention to claims that walking barefoot cures insomnia and that the companys signature perfume improves memory and can work as antibiotics.

Bonnie Patten, the groups executive director, said that marketing products as having the ability to treat diseases and disorders not only violates established law but is a terribly deceptive marketing ploy that is being used by Goop to exploit women for its own financial gain.

Tina said it had contacted Paltrows firm earlier this month to remedy the deceptive marketing. It noted that Goop had since made limited changes and called on California authorities to look into the matter further.

Last month, Goop published a letter defending its unorthodox health practices. Being dismissive of discourse, of questions from patients, of practices that women might find empowering or healing, of daring to poke at a long-held beliefseems like the most dangerous practice of all.

In the latest salvo against the company, the adverting watchdog listed dozens more products it says Goop makes claims for that are unsubstantiated, and therefore deceptive, health and disease-treatment claims to market many of its products.

The complaint also listed Goops essential oils claimed to help tremendously with chronic issues from anxiety and depression to migraines; Goops Black Rose Bar, brilliant for treating acne, eczema and psoriasis; Goops Eau De Parfum: Edition 02, said to contain ingredients that improve memory, treat colds and work as antibiotics; and Goops Aromatic Stress Treatment that treats the nerves (its been shown to help alleviate panic attacks).

In June, Paltrow, 44, conceded on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that she is sometimes baffled by the unconventional products and practices her brand promotes. Asked about the practice of earthing walking barefoot she ventured theres some sort of electromagnetic thing that were missing. Its good to take your shoes off in the grass.

Paltrow eventually conceded: I dont know what the fuck we talk about!

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Welcome to Gwyneths Goop mudroom. But does it sell rose quartz vaginal eggs?

As Goop Mrkt brings the farm aesthetic of Cornwall to the Hamptons, our style expert says the most fashionable stores are never really about selling stuff

What is the one essential store I should know about to be fashionable?

Joe, by email

Once upon a time, Joe, this was the easiest of peasiest questions. Oh sure, there are plenty of trendy boutiques in the world Dover Street Market in London, 10 Corso Como in Milan but the queen of em all for the past 20 years has been Colette in Paris. Colette is what fashion people call a concept store, which means in English a store where hardly anyone ever buys anything. I have been in Colette dozens of times and I have never, not once, seen anyone buy clothes. To be honest, Im pretty impressed Colette lasted six months, let alone 20 years.

When I lived in Paris, shortly after Colette opened, I was such a naive young thing that I didnt understand about stores where you dont buy anything. So when I went to visit this store I had read so much about I almost certainly dressed up for the occasion I bought the only things Icould afford: a scented candle and one of Colettes weird mix CDs. What a rube I was! It wasnt until I was working on the fashion desk of this paper that I realised what I should have done was walk around in a circle, occasionally looking at a Prada skirt, and then walk out the door.

But now Colette is shutting up shop, which leaves two questions: first, where will fashion journalists walk around in circles in between fashion shows in Paris? Second, wheres the essential store now?

The first question remains unanswered, but the second has, thankfully, been resolved by a woman who is either a modern-day saviour or a satire on the modern day. I speak, of course, of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Now, making fun of Paltrow is so easy its not so much shooting fish in a barrel as taking an AK-47 to a goldfish in a tea cup, and, because this column has never shied away from the obvious, Paltrow has featured here two or 17 million times before. This makes me sadder than you might think because Paltrow, the actor, was a concept I could always get behind. Remember how delightful she was in Emma? How fabulous in The Royal Tenenbaums? How sweet in Shakespeare in Love? Admittedly, all those films are about two decades old, but, damn, Gwyneth, why you decided to give all that up to flog vaginal steaming is a mystery at least as puzzling as the survival of concept stores.

Anyway, Paltrow doubtless foresaw the need for a new store in some $350 rock she flogs on her reliably absurd website, Goop, because this summer she has opened a Goop store in the Hamptons, New York but just for the summer, because pop-up stores are the new concept stores. Thrillingly, Architectural Digest has done an article on this new essential retail experience for those of us who are not blond and therefore banned from the ritzy preppy-haven.

When I first talked with Gwyneth, she wanted me to bring the farm aesthetic of Cornwall to the Hamptons, says the stores designer, Vicky Charles. The village store there sells everything from a stamp to an ice cream. Well, this is exciting has Gwyneth set up a Spar to the Hamptons? Or a Londis? Or even be still my beating heart a Europa? My God, Im so excited about the idea of a Gwyneth-designed Europa (ahhh, those yellow and black signs!), I might have to bleach my hair, buy some white shoes and make a trip to the Hamptons for this.

My hometown in England only has one store, so it made sense for me. You get used to that vibe, Charles says. Yes, because there is nothing more aspirational than the vibe of rural degeneration. But pray, continue.

This particular space was inspired by a room in an English cottage where you can just kick off your wellies and store your gardening tools, says Brittany Pattner, Goops creative director. Yes, Brittany, I believe that space is called a shed, although Paltrow seems to insist on calling it the mudroom. Do English people have rooms for just mud? Did Paltrow ever leave her own house and visit other peoples even once in the decade she lived in this country? Yet more questions that must, for the moment, remain unanswered.

We wanted to create a holistic experience of not only curating products, but also providing the right context for those items, Pattner says. And in that sentence, which I would bet my vaginal jade egg will appear in next weeks Pseuds Corner, you see why Gwyneths Hamptons store is the new Colette: this is not about selling stuff. Good heavens, how common! This is about curating products and telling people who visit your store how much cooler you are than them.

I have just enough space left to tell you that Gwyneth is currently quarrelling with an obstetrician and gynaecologist called Dr Jennifer Gunter, who has queried the soundness of Goops frequent advice about what women should and shouldnt stick up their vaginas. When they go low, we go high, Paltrow tweeted, and by low she means argue against our nuttiness with inconvenient facts and high she means up the nuttiness with personal attacks. I urge you to read Gunters blog about this, perhaps on the Hampton Jitney on your way to her store. It might save you some money and stop you buying a rose-quartz vaginal egg or better yet, stop you buying anything at all. Its the fashionable way, Gwyneth.

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After Vagina Steaming, Goop Gets Into Conspiracy Theories

It was only a matter of time before Gwyneth Paltrows New Age lifestyle website, Goop, launched its first ever Conspiracy Issue. Goop has long promoted pseudoscience, mysticism, and medical conspiracy theories (resurrecting the debunked link between breast cancer and bras, to name one example).

The site also hawks wellness products that contain the same ingredients as supplements peddled by alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

But where Goops creeping paranoia has generally been contained to mind-body health, the site has now ventured fully into the world of the paranormal and politically charged unknown with this weeks Conspiracy Issue.

Headlining the issue is an interview titled, Does the Illuminati Still Exist? (short answer not explicitly stated in Goop: Yes), in which Goop poses straight questions about a not-so-straight topic to Robert Howells, author of The Illuminati: The Counter Culture RevolutionFrom Secret Societies to Wikileaks and Anonymous (2016).

Asked to define the term, Howells places the Illuminati into two categories: the original Illuminati, which was formed more than two centuries ago as a secret society aimed at undermining corrupt governments and the religious intolerance that dominated society at the time and quickly dissolved into myth, and how that myth is today linked to the New World Order, an alleged underground totalitarian global government that conspiracy theorists believe is controlling the world.

Indeed, paranoiacs associate the phrase today with sinister bankers, United Nations officials, and corrupt government leaders secretly collaborating to make us all Orwellian mind-slaves.

Not mentioned in Goops interview is that Howells is a Julian Assange superfan: He dedicated his book to Assange, whom he called a refugee for truth, evidently not concerned that Assange is a propagandist for Russia (he has a show on their state television network), a pal of Sean Hannitys, and an avid conspiracy theorist who recently suggested that Seth Rich was the source behind the 20,000 hacked DNC emails that were released shortly after he was murdered.

Asked how the worlds of religion, spirituality, government, and health interact in the Illuminati belief systema deliciously Goop-y question to which Howells gives a deliciously Goop-y answer: that the the original Illuminati called for a meritocratic government where issues like health care would be overseen by an expert from within the health industry. Like Goops readers, the original Illuminati believed in an East-meets-West approach to medicine, Howells explains.

Goops interview with Howells whets reader appetites for articles like Conspiracy Hotspots Worth the Trip, What Newly Discovered Ancient Civilizations Can Teach Us (whether they are in fact newly discovered is up for debate), An Investigative Journalist on the Issue of UFOs, and What to Watch if Youre Cult-Curious.

Goops Conspiracy Hotspots advertises destinations like Stonehenge and Roswell, New Mexico, among others, which offer the prospects of alien interventions, unknown ancient civilizations, and cover-ups, making them mystical, summer trip gold.

Its list of must-watch films and TV shows about cults includes some critically acclaimed gems (The Leftovers, Going Clear, and a documentary about Jonestown among them) as well as some lesser-known films like The Source Family about a hippy commune in Hawaii.

The recent explosion of the true-crime/conspiracy/mystery genre is evidence that the general publics fear of the unknown has morphed into a bona fide fascination, Goop explains. Indeedparticularly for Goops less-than-skeptical readers who, for better or worse, may identify with the Kool-Aid-drinking residents of Jonestown.

The Conspiracy Issue is hardly the most controversial issues of Goop. It probes the world of conspiracy theories from a laymans perspective, frequently asking its expertswith a sense of incredulitywhy people are so rabidly skeptical of things like UFOs?

But its promotion of the Illuminati belief system is much softer than its promotion of vaginal steaming, Jade yoni eggs, and prettily packaged products that purport to boost vitality and rid the body of toxins. Whether Goop will cross further over to the dark side of conspiracy theory, and start making dark claims about pizza restaurants non-existent basements, remains to be seen.

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The Miracle Cure Gwyneth Paltrow Accidentally Got Right

Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar-winner and dubious lifestyle guru, is under fire again. At issue this time: Body Vibes, the small stickers that can be placed on the upper arms to promote healing, rebalance energy frequencies, smooth out physical tension and anxiety, and boost cell turnover.

Paltrow wasnt criticized because her website Goop was again peddling a product that couldnt prove any of its claims or outright dangerous. Or because oneboosting cell turnoversounded like something that no one should ever want. Rather she was slapped for the biological basis on which these claims were made: Paltrow said the healing power of Body Vibes came from NASA space science. Its inventors had supposedly used the same conductive carbon material that NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronauts vital [signs] during wear. According to GOOP, the technology developed by NASA used a biofrequency that resonates with the bodys natural energy field.

NASA immediately debunked Paltrows claim, stating that spacesuits do not have any conductive carbon material lining. (And Goop subsequently removed it.)

Although many have been quick to dismiss Goops latest miracle cure, Body Vibe stickers do offer the same thing that alternative healers typically promisea chance to benefit from the placebo response.

One of the first demonstrations of the power of the placebo took place on the battlefields of World War II, where a nurse ran out of morphine. Unable to tell a wounded soldier that she had nothing to treat his pain, she said the saltwater she had just given him was actually morphine. To her surprise, the soldiers pain disappeared. Researchers have since found that people can learn to release their own endorphins: powerful, morphine-like, pain-relieving chemicals made by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. Indeed, the biological basis of pain relief from acupuncture has nothing to do with where the healer puts the needlesor even whether the needles enter the skinand everything to do with some patients releasing their own endorphins.

The placebo response isnt limited to pain relief.

In 1957, John Imboden and colleagues at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine performed a landmark experiment. They administered a series of psychological tests to military personnel working at Fort Detrick, Maryland. A few months later, an influenza pandemic swept across the camp. Imboden found that recruits who were depressed had symptoms of influenza that lasted longer and were more severe than those in recruits who werent depressed. In other words, mood determined illness. The mind, wrote John Milton in Paradise Lost, can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.

In 1975, Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen from the University of Rochester School of Medicine took Imbodens observations one step further. They found that rats given cyclophosphamide (an immune-suppressive drug) in saccharin-flavored water developed an inability to respond to foreign proteins. Weeks later, their immune systems recovered. That wasnt surprising. What was surprising was that when these same rats were later given saccharin-flavored water only, they again had a lesser immune response. The rats, by pairing the taste of saccharin with an immune-suppressive drug, had learned to suppress their own immune systems. Amazing.

The next question: Could researchers teach people to suppress their immune response? Again, Robert Ader took the lead. Working with a teenager with the autoimmune disease lupus, he paired cyclophosphamide with a distinct taste (cod liver oil) and smell (rose perfume). Like the rats, the boy learned to suppress his immune response, requiring less-frequent dosing of the steroid necessary to control his disease. Other researchers replicated Aders findings. And it worked both ways; not only could people learn to suppress their immune responses, they could learn to enhance them.

Which brings us back to Gwyneth Paltrows Body Vibes. If people believe that Body Vibe patches are giving them more energy or relieving tension, whos to say that this belief cant result in healing? If people can learn to release their own endorphins or up-regulate or down-regulate their own immune systems, why cant Body Vibe patches offer some benefit? And, unlike antidepressants or mood-elevating drugs, these patches have no side effects.

Another thing. Although the cost of Body Vibe patches$60 for a pack of 10is no doubt logarithmically greater than the cost of manufacture, according to the theory of cognitive dissonance, the more expensive the better. This concept was first tested at a racetrack in the 1960s. Researchers asked bettors to rate their horse as they walked toward or away from the betting window. Bettors faced two conflicting facts: 1) Any horse could win the race, 2) I bet a lot of money on only one horse. To resolve the conflict, bettors rated their horse much higher after placing their bets. (Heres that study.) In another, researchers from MIT tested the capacity of two sugar pills to relieve pain. One group was told that the pill cost 10 cents, the other that it cost $2.50. Participants experienced less pain with the pill that was said to be more expensive.

But is it ethical for Body Vibes marketers to deceive?

In fairness, all practitionersmainstream or otherwiseemploy some form of deception. They know that a positive attitude, reassuring demeanor, and air of competence are important. We use the placebo effect all the time, says Art Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York Universitys Langone Medical Center. Ive got a bowtie. I wear a white coat. You come to a big building that looks pretty impressive. I expect someday to see billboards go up in cities that say we have a really big machine and it makes a lot of noise and we dont know how it works but you can only get it from us so come on down.

Indeed, it would be more honest if mainstream doctors walked into a patients room and said, Look, we will definitely know more about how to treat your illness a hundred years from now. Frankly, I suspect doctors in the future will look back on some of the things that were doing today and laugh. Although our understanding of many diseases is excellent, for some were just treading water, and for others were completely lost. No clinicians (in their right mind) say this. From the days of shamans and witch doctors to the modern-day physician, everybody has their props, their deceptions. In fact, studies have shown that when physicians claim that one particular medicine will be more effective, the patient will later perceive that medicine as being more effective.

The line that cannot be crossed, however, is recommending placebo therapies that are potentially harmful. Unfortunately, in several instances, Goop has crossed that line, including touting vaginal steaming with mugwort to balance female hormone levels and cleanse the uterus, which, apart from the fact that mugwort isnt a hormone and vaginal steam (absent pressure) will never reach the uterus, could cause burns or bacterial infections. Or promoting placing $66 jade eggs the size of golf balls in the vagina in hopes of boosting orgasms, enhancing kidney strength, improving physical appearance, and increasing vaginal tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energyas well as the risk of bacterial infections, including toxic-shock syndrome. Or even cleansing the colon with enemas to remove toxins, boost energy, and enhance the immune system. These have no proven benefit in otherwise healthy people, and can cause dehydration, infections, vomiting, and, worst of all, bowel perforations.

Although Gwyneth Paltrow should be held accountable for therapies that are potentially dangerous, Body Vibe patches dont fall into that category. And Paltrow could reasonably argue that believing that you are benefiting from the patches might trigger a physiological response that is actually beneficial. Belief is a powerful medicine.

Paul A. Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and the author of Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (HarperCollins, 2013).

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Oh, Pippa Middleton you should have gone full Eurotrash. Not be a Sloane married to a stuffed cashmere jumper

Her honeymoon wardrobe of prissy dresses is the epitome of dull royal conformity. Plus: Gwyneth Paltrow is the narcissistic gift that keeps giving

Pippa Middletons honeymoon wardrobe, OMG.
Lauren, Paris

Oh. Em. Gee. Well said, Lauren, or, to use words more native to you, bien dit. (Oh, yeah, baby, that A-Level in French does not go to waste around here!) I have been keenly studying Pippas honeymoon wardrobe or trousseau, as I prefer to call it, given the Middleton sisters do seem to have walked straight out of a 19th-century novel. But well save my extensively developed theory involving Kate and Pippa and the work of William Thackeray for another day, given that I have already exceeded my pretentiousness quota for this week, and we havent even got out of the first paragraph.

As I said, I have been keeping a keen eye on Pippas honeymoon wardrobe indeed, I have little choice in the matter, given that every morning I get approximately 17,127 emails from fashion PRs hysterically telling me Pippa wore their clients disgusting quilted handbag while eating room service in a 11,000-a-night suite in Sydney Harbour and, excitingly, not a word of that is an exaggeration.

It really is a testament to the tenacity of fashion PRs belief that all publicity is good publicity that they think such an announcement is worth the email its written on. Even the Daily Mail not exactly known for its support of the fashion cutting edge sensed which way the wind was blowing when it put on its front page a photo of Pippa and her husband, James Matthews who I genuinely think might be three Sloaney children standing on one anothers shoulders inside a Boden jumper beneath the headline Mr and Mrs Middle-aged on Honeymoon. Now, given that Matthews is 41, one could claim this headline is not so much a diss as a statement of fact, but I think we all get the inference: Pippas wardrobe is boring. The boxy jackets, the tortoiseshell sunglasses and those espadrilles oh, God, those espadrilles which, of course, she totally loves. Pippas honeymoon has been an extended sartorial reminder about what she actually is (a Sloane) as opposed to how some of us hoped she would be (not a Sloane.)

Ive got to hold my hands up here and admit to erring on the side of foolish optimism when it came to Pippa. Maybe it was the way she so clearly enjoys the spotlight, gifted to her purely by dint of who her sister married, but I entertained dreams of young Pip embracing the Eurotrashiness that often infuses the royal satellites. Pippa on yachts with people with names such as Spiros, wearing Roberto Cavalli kaftans; Pippa holidaying in Portofino with both Dolce and Gabbana; Pippa having a racy affair with a married Venetian prince. Basically, two cups of Princess Margaret, a cup of Lee Radziwill and a pinch of Diana is what I wanted. Instead, I got a boring Sloane in prissy dresses married to a stuffed cashmere jumper, and all I can do is kick myself for having ever expected anything else. But not in espadrilles, obviously. Im not that cruel to myself.

Gwyneth Paltrow with a $120 watering can. Photograph: Goop

I see Gwyneth Paltrow has said something. Whats happened now?
Gerry, by email

Yes, it is my duty to inform you all that Gwyneth hath spake again, this time in an interview with an online magazine. Now, Gwyneth knows people feel this way about her, but, Gwynethly, she doesnt understand why. Rather, her theory about why she is widely mocked is so unimprovably Gwynethish Im going to have to quote it in full: People were fine with me as an [actor], but with Goop it was like, Stay in your lane. Women in general get a lot of pushback, especially if youre successful and attractive.

Oh, Gwyneth, Gwyneth, Gwyneth: you are truly the gift that keeps on giving. I admire that you someone who advocates fastings and vaginal steamings are attempting to harness feminism as your defence, but people dont dislike you because youre a pretty actor who does other stuff. If they did, they would hate actor/childrens author Julianne Moore, or actor/entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon, or actor/writer Mindy Kaling, and they dont everyone loves those women. No, they mock you because you promote crackpot fasts, barmy pseudoscience and overpriced tat on your website. They mock you because everything you say reeks of blinkered privilege, such as when you said it was exciting Donald Trump was elected president because everything is kind of up in the air and it is such an amazing time for entrepreneurship. Because you talk about yourself as such a hard worker, so ruthless and disciplined, without ever acknowledging that life was handed to you on a plate, including the moment you broke into movies when your godfather, Steven Spielberg, gave you your first film role. Because you are like the human emoji for overprivileged white narcissism.

But you know, maybe were all looking at this the wrong way round. Sure, some of us wish Gwyneth would spend less time steaming her vagina and more time taking her head out of it. But perhaps she is actually an extended piece of performance art, warning us all about the dangers of capitalism? Because increasingly I feel like she was a warning satire about the current president, another overly privileged white person who was born on third and thought they hit a triple, and we just didnt grasp the clues. Once you get over the idea that you need external reinforcement to feel good, life opens up in an incredible way, she trills in this interview. Trump could not have put it better.

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Gwyneth Paltrow launches Goop as glossy Cond Nast magazine

Actor turned wellness guru who introduced world to vaginal steaming is to bring Goop brand to volatile magazine market

Gwyneth Paltrow, having conquered the worlds of acting, macrobiotic cookery and high-end fashion, is to launch a quarterly magazine published by Cond Nast. The magazine, named Goop after Paltrows lifestyle brand, will be available on newsstands from September.

The magazine will focus on wellness a trillion-dollar industry of which Paltrow has long been at the vanguard.

From its inception as an email newsletter in 2008, Goop has urged readers to take care of themselves, expensively, under the strapline urge the inner aspect. Goop has given advice on therapy, parenting, mysticism, sex, fashion, beauty, and kale-centric clean eating plans, many of which have been called into question by medical professionals.

Over the years many of Goops more unusual lifestyle suggestions vaginal steaming, sex bark, conscious uncoupling have won global headlines. Last year, its Christmas gift guide included a selection of crystals handpicked by the house shaman and a yurt costing $8,300.

Goop magazine is just the latest high-profile move in Goops recent, aggressive, expansion. Last week it was announced that Paltrow would host a one day wellness summit in Los Angeles in June with workshops and services including aura photography, crystal therapy and energy-boosting intravenous drips.

Earlier this month, the brand launched Edition 02, an artisanal $165 perfume with ingredients described as mystical, clairvoyant and homeopathic. Last September, it launched its own clothing line, Goop Label, selling blazers for $695 and shirts for $195.

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