Most of us do not need an official reminder to ignore the majority of Gwyneth Paltrow’s advice on health and wellness. However, when the actress-turned-Goop founder recently tested positive for coronavirus, she took the opportunity to use her massive platform to share how she personally got over the disease. Yes, it involves at least one Goop product. No, it thankfully does not involve inserting crystals in any orifices, so we can at least celebrate a small victory there.
Paltrow penned a blog post where she revealed that she contracted COVID “early on,” which left her with “ long-tail fatigue and brain fog.” She says she also had to deal with high inflammation and was told by a “functional medicine practitioner” (a quick Google search confirmed that “functional medicine” is a form of alternative medicine that, per Wikipedia, “encompasses a number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments,” so there’s that) that the road to recovery would be a lengthy one. He then conveniently pointed her in the direction of his own book about “intuitive fasting,” which she says she’s “been doing a version of” in her recovery. Paltrow says she reverted to a keto and plant-based diet, uses lots of coconut aminos, and indulges in an infrared sauna regularly: “Everything I’m doing feels good, like a gift to my body. I have energy, I’m working out in the mornings, and I’m doing an infrared sauna as often as I can, all in service of healing.” This, of course, is allegedly backed by nondescript research that she’s conducted, which somehow supports her whole [gestures vaguely towards the Goop site] thing. Speaking of: Lots of the “helpful” items that were instrumental in her recovery are linked back to the Goop store, which benefits you more than her, we’re sure.
But it’s mainly the “healing” bit that understandably raised a few hackles with NHS England, which addressed Paltrow’s stance. “In the last few days I see Gwyneth Paltrow is unfortunately suffering from the effects of Covid,” NHS medical director Stephen Prowis told The Guardian. “We wish her well, but some of the solutions she’s recommending are really not the solutions we’d recommend in the NHS.” He continues: “We need to take long Covid seriously and apply serious science. All influencers who use social media have a duty of responsibility and a duty of care around that. Like the virus, misinformation carries across borders and it mutates and it evolves. So I think YouTube and other social media platforms have a real responsibility and opportunity here.”
Goop has already had to cop to its less-than-true claims in a hefty 2018 settlement regarding its line of “vagina eggs,” which obviously did not lead to any material health benefits. Yet, it still managed to become the subject of a non-satirical Netflix show. Amazing.
All in all, catching the coronavirus sucks and we hope that everyone who has to deal with it—Paltrow included—recovers quickly. But considering that this scary time is making folks way more susceptible to placebo-like approaches to this evolving disease, we also hope Paltrow and other influencers like her can find a calm corner, meditate over some $900 incense, and chill the hell out while actual medical professionals do the real healing work.