Gwyneth Paltrow’s medical woo gets demolished

Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop site (“Elevated Essentials for Life”) has been promoting pseudoscience and quack remedies for years, but somehow she manages to shake off criticism, like Trump or Deepak Chopra. Most notorious was her $66 “jade vagina egg“, which, inserted into that orifice, was claimed to do these things:

  • harnesses the power of energy work, crystal healing, and a Kegel-like physical practice
  • cleanses, clears, and detoxifies the vagina
  • removes negativity
  • increases chi, orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy.

Did I mention that you could “recharge” the egg by putting it in the light of a full moon?

Despite the weaselly disclaimer, these benefits were touted not by a doctor, but by a quack named Shiva Rose. A real doctor, a gynecologist named Jen Gunter, took apart these claims, pointing out not only that the egg had no vaginal benefits, but could, by carrying bacteria in its pores, cause infection. And yet the egg is still on sale.

Over the years, goop has offered a number of bogus products and health advice, including taking megavitamins (useless), steaming your vagina (useless and dangerous), detox regimens (useless), crystal healing (ditt0), and skin stickers purported to recharge and heal your body by being programmed with different “frequencies” (useless and expensive).

The stickers, I think, were the last straw. They were touted as incorporating material used by NASA, but NASA denied it, and one ex-NASA official said they were “bullshit.”  Although Paltrow has made millions from this quackery, the pushback from the vagina eggs and quack stickers clearly stung her, and her reputation was at stake. She had to do something.

What she did last week was to have her team write a defense of her practices, and enlist two of her advising doctors to tout their credentials and justify their woo, It’s all on view on the goop site: “Uncensored: A Word from our Doctors.” But the goop commentary does not go well, not only questioning the motivations of her critics but also arguing that criticism of her woo is dangerous (my emphasis):

As goop has grown, so has the attention we receive. We consistently find ourselves to be of interest to many—and for that, we are grateful—but we also find that there are third parties who critique goop to leverage that interest and bring attention to themselves. Encouraging discussion of new ideas is certainly one of our goals, but indiscriminate attacks that question the motivation and integrity of the doctors who contribute to the site is not. This is the first in a series of posts revisiting these topics and offering our contributing M.D.’s a chance to articulate theirs, in a respectful and substantive manner.

We always welcome conversation. That’s at the core of what we’re trying to do. What we don’t welcome is the idea that questions are not okay. 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 belief—seems like the most dangerous practice of all. Where would we be if we all still believed in female hysteria instead of orgasm equality? That smoking didn’t cause lung cancer? If every nutritionist today saw the original food pyramid as gospel?

. . . Asking questions is the job of all of us; it is also the job of the doctors and scientists who collectively move our health forward. There is much that we do not know. It is unfortunate that there are some who seem to believe that they already know it all, who pre-judge information before they’ve even taken the time to read or understand it, who believe that there is actually nothing left to learn, who believe that they, singularly, own the truth. That is troubling, and that is dangerous.

I’d enact the onerous emotional labor of going after this stuff , but fortunately, ArsTechnica has done it all, saving me the trouble. Read Beth Mole’s piece, “Defense of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Good offers case study on how to sell snake oil.“, which goes after goop‘s defense, though not the doctors’. It details eight rhetorical tactics the site uses to defend its woo, as well as detailing a number of goop products that make bogus medical claims. Somehow I’d missed this product, which offers semiprecious pebbles that would cost you about $10 at a rock store:

With these claims!:

For a critique of the two goop doctors themselves, there’s no better place to go than surgeon Orac’s new post at ScienceBlogs, “Gwyneth Paltrow’s quack empire goop strikes back against Dr. Jen Gunther.” Here’s a sample from Orac:

Of course, Dr. Gundry will have none of it. He has a peculiar level of tunnel vision. He paints himself as a science-based doctor at the very highest level of his profession. Arguably, he was, at least until 15 years ago, when, as he brags, he resigned a “Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at a major medical school to devote myself to reversing disease with food and nutraceutical supplementation, instead of bypasses, stents, or medications, just like Hippocrates asked you and me to do when we took our oath: ‘Let food be thy medicine.’ And he works so, so hard at it. So hard. So very hard that he has to brag:

“And finally, he taught that a physician’s job was to search out and remove the obstacles that are keeping the patient from healing themselves. For the last fifteen years, I’ve been doing just that seven days a week (yes, you read that right, Saturday and Sunday as well, just ask my overworked staff).”

Poor baby. Such dedication. And, he assures us, even though he has concierge patients, he also takes Medicare and Medicaid! He’s also a condescending dude as well [example follows]. . .

I know that people follow celebrities’ fashion and tastes, hoping that some of the stardom rubs off on them, but it’s beyond me why someone would take medical advice from Gwyneth Paltrow over that of their doctor. For crying out loud, you could at least call your gynecologist before you stick a jade egg in your vagina!

And I’m equally puzzled why the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) doesn’t crack down on specious health claims, and make sure that any disclaimers are BIG and BOLD—or better yet deep-six those claims altogether. After all, the FTC recently required homeopathic “remedies” to have scientific evidence backing their health claims, and if not they simply couldn’t make such claims. Why isn’t goop subject to the same regulations?

95 Comments

  1. Joseph O'Sullivan
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    The supplement industry went on a huge lobbying and public relations campaign and had congress remove the FDA and FTC’s enforcement powers

    John Oliver had a funny and informative piece about this

  2. rickflick
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Selling snake oil seems to be a large part of what the good old US of A is all about. The practice famously pervades culture and the economy. Greed is good! It extends from the lowest realms like the local used car seller, to the highest levels like a national political party and it’s leader. There’s something about this country that seems to almost glorify in subterfuge and the telling of lies.
    I note that this purveyor of quack medicine seems to be focused on women. Perhaps there are a lot of women with so much insecurity they grab at anything that might be a chance for emotional strength. Many people could not look at themselves in the mirror after committing these deceptions. Obviously, there are some who laugh all the way to the bank. I remember Dr. Oz being reamed by a senator at a congressional hearing. She tried to shame him into admitting he was engaged in fraud. He ignored her and there was nothing the committee could do.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Ah, yes. Re Dr. Oz, see above comment.

    • Sastra
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Alternative woo is often specifically targeted to women. If you ever go to one of those Woman’s Conferences you’ll find bullshit like this sitting right next to financial advice, cooking tips, business strategies, and lectures on parenting. Apparently believing in pseudoscience is both feminine and feminist.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        🙄😳😱

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Perhaps more accurate to say that woo is often targetted at a particular sex. Then there’s advertising which is subtly woo-ish & usually aimed at a sex.

        Some male-targetted woo:
        ** $7,250 Hi-Fi audio cables that don’t improve audio [James Randi offered $1 million on that one]
        ** Devices for improving ones good-walk-ruined golf swing or putting
        ** Nutritional supplements for body builders [some women, but mainly men]
        ** Erectile dysfunction cures
        ** Penis expanders [I don’t know the terminology!]

        🙂

        • Sastra
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes. And they use different language when targeting Christians rather than the Spiritual, or conservatives as opposed to liberals.

          A while back Ed Brayton wrote a post pointing out that Paltrow and a conservative wingnut (Alex Jones?) were selling the exact same product. A side-by-side comparison of the ad descriptions revealed some critical differences (“God” as opposed to “energy,” for instance.) The interesting thing was that I thought the anti-government and pro-God patter of Jones’ site would probably work for Paltrow’s audience– but not the other way around. Too many references to non western religions and cultures.

  3. claudia baker
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Gwyneth + Goop = Greed

    Shame on her. The moron.

    • Sastra
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      It’s probably more than greed — unless we’re counting being greedy for attention. It wouldn’t shock me if Paltrow responded to criticism by donating all profits to a legitimate charity, like clean drinking water for Africa. She probably has enough money.

      But the people who promote this type of product are often considered bold, sensitive, and, of course, spiritual. Gwyneth isn’t afraid to think outside the box! She’s someone women can relate to! Look what it did for Shirley MacLaine, who was laughed at by the media and yet adored by an entirely new set of fans. She might even believe it all herself.

      On a talk show recently Paltrow was unable to describe or explain exactly what she was selling. Some skeptics considered that the smoking gun — she didn’t believe it at all! She was clearly just in it for the money!

      I’m not sure that her ignorance tells us anything. I know people who buy into this crap — and it’s astonishing how little they, too, care about the details. Vagueness, fuzzy thinking, lack of curiosity, and absence of clarity can be VIRTUES in this crowd. The emphasis is on the general idea of being spiritual, and how it makes you feel. Ask them for specifics on woo and they react with that combination of nervousness and smugness people respond with when asked about God.

      • Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        +1

        A certain fuzziness in thinking, and accepting paper-thin “explanations” just good enough to “answer” only the most immediate question seems to be enough for many people, just like how thought-terminating clichés work.

        Q: How does it work?
        A: Energy builds up and is helping your body to detox

        Nobody needs to know what “energy” is, how it is supposed to work, and how energy is supposed to identify toxins etcetera. And if curiousity mounts one day, it’s quickly satisfied with “frequencies”, references to quantum woo or ancient long-lost knowledge.

        Notable also, and typical with believers, is the movement between concrete, i.e. this god, this remedy, product etc. and the vague and general “explanations” when questions are asked:

        Vagueness by abstractions (“energy”, “ground of being”), often coupled with vagueness by temporal distance (“ancient knowledge”, “first mover”) or vagueness through technobabble (“quantum entanglement”), preferably all at once sold through authority, i.e. Obscurantism.

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Strangely the same millions in our society that are sucked into religion, magic medicine and bull shit in general, are also still backing Trump. Coincidence, I think not.

    • Craw
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see Trump as big with the goop crowd. Do you?

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out how to use orgasm equality casually so I can get a private laugh out of it.

    • david mccrindle
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Just mention casually that ‘female hysteria’ or ‘orgasm equality’ are mutually exclusive concepts and let the conversation flow.

      While its going on around you remember the old joke about nuns/press-ups/cucumber fields.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Q: What is the definition of suspicion?
        A: A nun doing press-ups in a cucumber field.

    • Craw
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      No woman should settle for anything close to it!

  6. busterggi
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    “Did I mention that you could “recharge” the egg by putting it in the light of a full moon?”

    I will never feel the same when I hear ‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon’ as I used to.

    And Joseph O’Sullivan is right, the anti-regs folks are gutting regulation of potentially harmful crap.

    • Richard
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 3:42 am | Permalink

      I would like to ask these people what test they have that distinguishes between “charged” and “uncharged” eggs.

      Years ago, I saw another piece of woo on UK TV: a group of nutters in a field charging up a “psychic battery” with “prayer energy”. They told the camera that they knew it worked because once, in a time of international tension, they had “discharged” another such “battery” and the tension had dissipated.

      My immediate thought was “Where’s the control in this experiment? How did they know that events would not have happened as they did anyway?”.

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    You must have laws relating to false advertising in the US. How is she allowed to keep making her claims?

    • Sastra
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      I think part of the reason these products aren’t held accountable to ordinary standards is that, if you examine the claims and the way they’re framed, they all fall under “Religion and Spirituality.” Matters of faith are judged by different legal criteria. You can get away with saying all sorts of stuff if you pass the responsibility to the metaphysical realm.

      Plus, note the constant use of deepities. What looks like a clear factual medical claim is immediately walked back to the fuzzy wuzzy land of Feels Good. You can’t tell people that what makes them feel better has no benefit. They’re only saying it comforts and uplifts, that’s all. Gee, you’re mean.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        It would be nice if, as soon as you involve the testimony of doctors, that it is accepted that the claims fall into the realm of science and therefore can be called false. That way, people would need to admit their woo is woo/religion/spirituality and not use doctors to back up the woo.

        • Sastra
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          This gets into the whole relationship between science-and-religion.

          Advocates of spiritual woo tend to argue that there’s no conflict because science SUPPORTS spiritual truths. That’s when they trot out THEIR doctors, THEIR studies, THEIR anecdotes. It’s two competing paradigms, and theirs is winning.

          When pushed, however, they’ll fall back on the argument that there’s no conflict because science isn’t capable of evaluating or testing their claims. It’s all about trying it for yourself and making up your own little subjective mind. Which position they’ll blandly discard the moment they meet someone “more open” (i.e. less well informed.)Oh, they’ve got the best science!

          • jeffery
            Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            This, “fuzzy-claim” phenomenon even extends into “legitimate” ads for pharmaceuticals: if you read or listen to the ads closely, you’ll never hear them say that something “will” have some beneficial effect on a condition; they only say that it “MAY”…

            • BJ
              Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

              That’s just really a fact about real drugs that must be stated. Most pharmaceutical drugs are known to have certain effects much of the time on most people, but not all of the time on all people. No antidepressant can be predicted in its effect on a specific person, but we have enough research and an a least rudimentary understanding of its mechanism (well, most of the time for the latter) to state the effects that it often has. It’s the same with side effects (just with lower percentages of incidence).

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Which proves they know exactly what they’re doing – playing upon their credulity, Paltrow’s celebrity, and ripping people off.

    • Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      This is why Goop is allowed to make those claims.

      “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

      https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=101.93

      • Tom
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        It is difficult for the authorities to keep track of these charlatans never mind police the claims made.
        Incidentally, there has been a weird shift in our culture when “charlatans” is googled it comes up with a pop group THE charlatans.

      • Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        The problem is that that disclaimer directly contradicts how the products are advertised.

        • Derek Freyberg
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          True, but what Science-Based Medicine refers to as the “quack Miranda warning” seems to have enough magic power to keep the FDA from regulating a product unless (1) it does in fact claim to treat a disease, as opposed to saying “supports xxx health”, and/or (2) the product is actually a drug, like red yeast rice, which contains a statin (monacolin), or the “Amish farmer”‘s salve, which contains bloodroot, which is caustic.
          So, DSHEA, the Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act, or the woo-sellers’ friend, limits the FDA. But the FTC has its own enforcement powers when an ad makes false claims – and that’s why, although the FDA can’t do anything about the nonsense that is homeopathy (unless, like the zinc nasal drops that damaged your sense of smell, the product was not diluted to insignificance), the FTC is trying to regulate homeopathy essentially by saying any claim that is made for a true “homeopathic medicine” is false because the “medicine” is either water or sugar pills, and neither of those are therapeutic.

          • Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            Drat. I was ninja’d.

        • Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          It’s a “quack Miranda warning”

          http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/2008/01/14/quack-miranda-warning/

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        I think we have a category called misleading advertising now, because of people like this. I’ve used it myself. I just had to fill in an online form, attach the offending screenshots and send it off. My complaint was something along the lines of (and as short as) “The claims made are scientifically impossible and therefore the advertising is misleading.” My complaint was upheld. It cost me nothing except a few minutes of time. The company concerned sourced products from overseas and used overseas-written advertising. They had put the advertising on-line without checking it (they say) and had actually pulled it before the Advertising Standards Authority told them to, so they didn’t face any fines as a result. They would have if they were still using the ad.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Congratulations Heather. Well done.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “… steaming your vagina …”

    Really? Now I have this mental image of the RONCO Steam-Away from late-night cable commercials being put to uses not approved by Underwriter Laboratories.

    Thanks a lot, boss.

    • busterggi
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Hey now, I still have an original Veg-O-Matic and it works just fine.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Combine the two, you’ve got: the Vaj-o-matic.

  9. alexandra Moffat
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    everything – EVERYTHING – is marketing to the gullible. They ought to teach skepticism in the schools. Unbelievable that enough people “buy” Paltrow to enrich her. She is less dangerous than trump but they both feed at the same trough…

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    They were touted as incorporating material used by NASA …

    What’s next, Gwyn — Tang®-scented Summer’s Eve?

  11. Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Wow.

  12. Sastra
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    What we don’t welcome is the idea that questions are not okay. 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 belief—seems like the most dangerous practice of all.

    Note the contradiction here. Questions are great! But if you question the truth and value of the product, then that means that you’re preventing questions. Questions like “Could you please tell me more?” And “How much is it?” And “Where can I get it?” And “Do you take Discover?”

    Skepticism and criticism do not “shut down dialogue” when someone is making factual, scientific, medical, and/or historical claims. That IS dialogue. The only time when skeptical critique might legitimately be said to hinder conversation is in support groups, where victims of assault and abuse — or people with psychological problems– are telling their own highly personal stories and need to do so in a safe space without harsh judgement.

    Which Goop is not — unless they’re willing to admit that their customers are all emotionally damaged and thus considered irresponsible.

  13. DrBrydon
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    What we don’t welcome is the idea that questions are not okay.

    So they like questions they like, and they don’t like questions that they don’t like.

    My question on the “The Goop Medicine Bag” is are these stones naturally magically-charged, or are they charged by someone else (like a wizard)? If the former, why spend $85, when you could get them for a fraction of that cost elsewhere. If the latter, who? The world wonders. The FDA should be on them, though, for labeling this as “medicine.”

    Obviously, the “p” in Goop stands for placebo.

    • Richard
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      And the “g” for gullible.

  14. Nicholas K.
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I’ve been wearing a carnelian bracelet for months now. It hasn’t done a thing for my female issues.

  15. Desnes Diev
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    They sell “magically charged stones”? It would be interesting to know what evidence they offer to prove that the stones are really “charged” with magic*, and that they serve any purpose?

    * Are they measuring magic with a potterometer or a thaumometer (c.f., T. Pratchett’s disk-world series)?

    • Posted July 17, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Amazing coincidence! Those magical stones are identical to the basketful of semi precious stones I bought in South Africa and Brazil! For about $3.00 total (they charge by the pound). But all they’ve done since I bought them is sit there quietly in the basket. I never thought of putting one in my vagina, however. I wonder what I am missing.

      • jeffery
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Wow! What a good deal! Just THINK of all the beneficial energies they’re radiating into your living space, affecting every aspect of your life! Go easy on the Carnelian, though- it’s pretty powerful……

  16. Jenny Haniver
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Well, at least she hasn’t been touting placentophagy (yet), yet another celebrity fad. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/06/the-government-warns-against-eating-your-placenta/. They have it dried and made into pills to swallow.

    • Doug
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      Back in the 1970s, “Saturday Night Live” ran a fake ad about natural childbirth advocates eating placentas and needing “Placenta Helper.” In those days, it was supposed to be too absurd to be believable.

  17. Colin McLachlan
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I can’t remember if this comparison has been made here before, but the name “Goop” always puts me in mind of Reggie Perrin’s Grot.

  18. RPGNo1
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It’s good that Chris Martin got divorced from Paltrow.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      I think you mean conscious uncoupling

      • RPGNo1
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        OMG! 😄

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          This part is especially amusing to people on WEIT:

          There’s a scientific theory by Russian esotericist, Peter Ouspensky, that the creation of insects was a failed attempt by nature to evolve a higher form of consciousness. There was a time millions of years ago when insects were enormous—a dragonfly’s wings were three feet across. So why didn’t they end up being the dominant species on earth? Because they lacked flexibility, which is what evolution is all about, and couldn’t adapt to changing conditions like humans can. The lives of people who imprison themselves in an exoskeleton of anger usually don’t evolve the way they’d like them to, either. Being trapped inside negative energy like anger and resentment keeps people from moving forward in life because they can only focus on the past. Even worse, over time, these powerful emotions often turn into disease in the body.

          The “exoskeleton of anger”. See, insects just weren’t flexible so despite being ginormous they failed at becoming the ‘dominant species’ and couldn’t not become a “higher form of consciousness”.

          Humans, unlike insects, can adapt to changing conditions….oh the awfulness of this whole paragraph!! It’s all the misconceptions of evolution featured in a way that looks like it makes sense, especially because it’s a “scientific theory”.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            Teleology much, Mr. Russian esotericist?

            Dragonflies have been around for about 325 million years, modern man for 200k, maybe. A bit more humility about “being the dominant species on earth” might be called for.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, and stop slamming exoskeletons until you can take a dive off a skyscraper & bounce back!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Chris Martin believes in “everything” – he once described himself as an “alltheist”

      Musos & actors, with a few exceptions such as the Queen guitarist, love big dollops of woo

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Not Keith — he’s a firm believer in the medical science of the needle and the spoon.

  19. Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The recent post by Dr Gunter is superb and worth your time: https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/goops-misogynistic-mansplaining-hit-job/amp/

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, read it, it’s definitely worth one’s time.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      +1 (and more) for Dr. Gunter.

  20. loren russell
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I have no idea if Paltrow’s eggs are really jade or are some other green mineral or [more likely] a green ceramic.

    If jade, they are likely nephrite, and that mineral happens to have a fibrous structure that weathers to asbestos. Yum!

    Given the current [?justified] concern with talc in those sensitive regions, you’d think new-agers might go to another mineral for their magic?

    • Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure it says somewhere that they’re nephrite, which is a form of jade. If they were jadeite they’d be far more expensive.

      • loren russell
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Nephrite is one form of tremolite, which also presents as a common [and dangerous]form of asbestos, and as a probably carcinogenic contaminant of talc powder.

        In all its forms, tremolite crystalizes as extremely fine fibers. Paltrow’s eggs may be inert, but carving and grinding nephrite is likely hazardous [eg, Yang et al, “Carving of non-asbestiform tremolite and the risk of lung cancer… Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2013 70:852-857). I’m sure that GP ensures that the carvers of her magical eggs are well-protected..

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Women really need to leave their vaginas alone.

      • Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Yes: This is of a piece with the “you’re just not pure enough” anxiety industry.

        My wife has gone to “Functional Medicine” — good thing she didn’t demand an opinion from me beforehand.

        They give her this thick book of a “report” that cites people [authorities] rather scientific literature. The data presented represent the null hypothesis (but they cherry pick to claim some kind of non-null “effect”). (Or they simple state it’s an effect with no further data analysis.)

        And, of course, they “prescribe” a cabinet’s worth of “supplements” (eating food just isn’t good enough!) that will make all your dreams come true. And of course they will make you lose weight! (How is it that every fad diet/supplement/treatment in the US always makes you lose weight (they don’t). You’d think people would figure out these hucksters!

        This crap has many of the aspects of religion too (overtly in Paltrow’s case). You aren’t allowed to touch (eat) certain things — it’s treated just like sin in the Old Testament.

        You’re a sinner — just not pure enough.

        Show me you can charge a battery with your supposed chi. 🙂

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          I think a lot of it is people just want to feel heard and these woosters fulfill that need. If I go to any doctor, they seem really busy. They don’t have time to listen to me or, worse, they dismiss me. I think this is the experience of a lot of people. So, when someone comes along and sympathizes, you tend to follow them along even if you’re thinking “this sounds like bullshit”.

          • Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            Sorry to hear about your Dr. experiences. (I hope this isn’t an indictment of Canada Medicare, in general …) (I do remember correctly that you live in Canada, don’t I?)

            I’ve had a few dickhead MDs I’ve had to deal with; but very few.

            I’ve always gone with word of mouth from colleagues on which MD to see and it’s worked well.

            “Customer Service” in doctoring has improved incredibly over my lifetime as well. (In the US.)

            I’ve also pretty much had (as a traveler — I wasn’t planning to visit a doctor!) very good experiences with MDs in, for instance, Thailand and Denmark.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I’m in Canada. I think it just depends on what you are going to see a doctor for and who you get. My GP can be hit or miss. A had two neurologists that were awful and my oncologist is again hit or miss. She discharged me but she was always so busy that it was hard to get her time. I found that cancer treatment is a sausage factory. My surgeon, however, is really good.

              • Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

                Interesting. Sorry it’s been bad for you. Almost every “dickhead” MD I’ve dealt with has been a specialist. My GP (I’m very happy to say) is great.

                Glad your surgeon is good. I’d say 75% of the dickhead MDs I’ve have been surgeons!

                Q: How many surgeons does it take to change a lightbulb?

                A: One. They hold up the bulb and the earth rotates about them.

                (Works for pilots too …)

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, I got lucky with my surgeon. My dad got lucky with his too.

            • Diane G.
              Posted July 18, 2017 at 1:32 am | Permalink

              ““Customer Service” in doctoring has improved incredibly over my lifetime as well. (In the US.)”

              That’s exactly the opposite of my experience. Nowadays a doctor might have 2000+ patients, and just 15 minutes to spend with each one at an appointment. As to choosing a doctor–the good ones aren’t taking new patients. They may do annual exams (be sure to schedule several months in advance) but expect you to go to walk-in clinics for anything else–actual illness, god forbid…

          • Sastra
            Posted July 17, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

            I moved from Chicago area to a small town over 30 years ago and perceived a difference in the physicians. Almost without exception, it’s easy to get appointments and the doctors are unhurried and give lots of explanations. They also seem friendlier. Sometimes I had to break the into a conversation about our kids to get back to my medical problem.

            And yet, I know people who prefer alternative medicine. These practitioners DO seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on personal matters, but the patients don’t generally contrast that with cold, impatient, unsympathetic mainstream doctors. What really seems to appeal to them is a combination of confidence, reassurance that they’ll be fine, and explicit references to spiritual truths.

            They’re not in it because they want to be heard when it comes to their medical issues; they want to hear and be heard on the superiority of woo. It will help their bodies heal themselves. They’re not supposed to be sick: it’s unnatural.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        “Women really need to leave their vaginas alone.”

        Billy Joel wrote a tune about it — well, coulda been about it, far as I’m concerned, anyway. 🙂

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          Ha ha!😝

  21. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I had to google to make sure JAC was not joking about the recharging of the egg, but he is not.
    http://goop.com/better-sex-jade-eggs-for-your-yoni/

    She also has a bunch of moon juice dusts.

    Why isn’t this a red flag for more people??

    • busterggi
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      She works for Stark Enterprises, you don’t get more sciencey than that.

  22. Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    You can get that bag of polished stones at any gift shop in the mountain west of the USA for about $2.

    • RossR
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Decades ago I got one free with a science magazine.

    • Richard
      Posted July 18, 2017 at 4:01 am | Permalink

      But just think of her profit margin!

  23. Another Tom
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The Pure Food and Drug Act contained an exemption for the homeopathic remedies that existed at the time from having to show efficacy. However pharmaceuticals were required to show both safety and efficacy.

  24. Phil Rounds
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Humans seem to want to believe in magic and natural remedies. I suspect this goes back to the neolithic when we didn’t know anything about the world. If you had no cure then magic stones, elixirs made from natural sources and chanting spells were the best you could do. The thing is, every now and then they would stumble onto an actual remedy…so it gave credibility to the magicians.

    Today we have organized medicine to make us well (hopefully), but modern magicians and shamans (and shawomans) have maintained their credibility as “natural” healers.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      “we didn’t know anything about the world”

      That’s certainly the case, but modern first world populations know enormously more about the world than the inhabitants of past eras. The easy availability of factual information is clearly not enough. There’s another important factor which I think might be described as thinking style. Some people are simply far more gullible and credulous than anyone here on this enlightened forum. I would guess that a lot if it is environmental, but I think probably a lot of it is hardwired.

  25. Posted July 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    She actually calls this line of products “goop”? Incredible. I thought that term was some kind of insult or (well-deserved) mockery.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Yeah. I think it shows that she knows precisely how much they’re all worth.

      cr
      (Note to self: Open a business called ‘Crap’. Make millions)

      • Colin McLachlan
        Posted July 18, 2017 at 4:27 am | Permalink

        See my comment at #17.

      • Posted July 18, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Almost happened, in a way. When the Canadian Alliance, Reform and Progressive Conservative parties merged / started coming together in Canada …

        (This is likely an urban legend, along the lines of Operation Iraqi Liberation, but …)

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 20, 2017 at 2:34 am | Permalink

          LOL, love that last one!

  26. jaxkayaker
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Do any of the stones keep tigers away? Other than Keith Richards, of course.

  27. Posted July 18, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  28. Mike
    Posted July 18, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    This is the one who put her Shamans Medicine Bag “with drawstring” together; Colleen McCann, (a certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner, emphasizes the importance of both the scientific and the more mystical aspects of crystals.) Previously a fashion stylist ;Well, who wouldn’t trust a fashion Stylist.?

  29. Posted July 19, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    $85?! There’s a hobby shop at a nearby mall that has a “fill your own pouch with tumbled stones” for five bucks. If I want pretty stones, I’ll freaking go there and pick them out myself!


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