Gwyneth Paltrow has copped a ton of criticism over the years for her quirky lifestyle, unattainable for anyone who is not drowning in hundred dollar bills. Paltrow chronicles her expensive, borderline insane obsession with chemical-free wellness on her blog, Goop. Her most recent revelation? Sticking a jade egg up your vagina. Seriously.
Most of Paltrow's quirky treatments, elixirs and procedures are met with fury. For me, though, they foster intrigue. I mean, the woman looks like she has been drinking from the fountain of youth. My wellness regimen begins and ends with a Monday morning green smoothie, used mostly to alleviate my post-weekend alcohol and junk-food induced guilt. So, I ventured to the (semi) scientific corners of the internet to figure out whether I should adopt any of Paltrow's processes.
A recurring theme on Goop is vaginal health. This is undeniably a great thing. However, Paltrow's favourite method of achieving a flawless yoni ('yoni', appropriated from Sanskrit, is LA celebrity for vagina) is potentially very harmful. You may be wondering how one steams a vagina. As Paltrow explains, 'you sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus'. Paltrow gets hers done for $50 US at a Korean Spa, Tikkun, which is in LA (because of course it is). She goes on to explain that, 'It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.'
There is just one problem; your uterus is not dirty. Thus, it does not require cleaning. Dr Jane Minkin discussed the potential adverse affects of vaginal steaming with Women's Health. Her first concern is the fact that it could burn. Furthermore, she explains that the vagina is self-cleaning and, just like regular douching, steaming could upset the vagina's natural pH balance. This could lead to thrush. Furthermore, she knocks Paltrow's pseudo-scientific explanation, saying the process definitely won't balance hormones. She says, 'the hormone factory is in the ovaries, and there's no reason why steam would affect the hormones produced there.'
The verdict: Pass.
Jade eggs for your vagina
This story launched Paltrow and her cooky methods back into the headlines this week. In a post titled 'Better Sex: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni,' Paltrow told readers that they should be sleeping with a jade egg in their vagina. She claimed it would lead to better sex and overall wellbeing. Dr Jen Gunter disagrees emphatically. She says, 'I read the post on GOOP and all I can tell you is it is the biggest load of garbage I have read on [it] since vaginal steaming.' She explains that the practice could lead to serious health issues. 'I would like to point out that jade is porous which could allow bacteria to get inside and so the egg could act like a fomite. This could be a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis or even the potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome.'
The verdict: Pass.
Goop is littered with the word 'detox'. Most of the articles are hogwash about how we are putting so many toxins in our body that we must periodically cleanse ourselves with ancient herbs and positive energy. Shockingly, however, Paltrow is onto something with her ideas about digital detoxing. She discusses with Dr. Nicholas Kardaras (a real doctor) the adverse affects screen addiction can have in adults and children alike. He prescribes a four-to-six week screen-free period for people with serious addictions. For adults with mild addiction (i.e. everyone you know) though, he suggests 'tech-free dinners and no-tech periods throughout the day.' He advises, 'Get rid of your phone if it’s by your nightstand. Increase your non-screen activities: sports, recreation, face-to-face time with friends and loved ones. Read a book; walk in nature. Better yet, learn how to be bored and deal with boredom—this applies to both kids and adults.' Sounds reasonable.
The verdict: This one is actually worth trying.