Gwyneth Paltrow. (Image: Lionel Hahn/ABACAPRESS.COM)

The woman who gave the world the yoni jade egg and the This Smells Like My Vagina Candle now wants to bring back cruises. As in, sticking a bunch of people on a floating petri dish.

Goop founder and renowned woo-woo peddler Gwyneth Paltrow has announced the first Goop cruise, where you can hang out with her.

Goop at Sea is promising an “incredible roster of cutting-edge doctors, practitioners and thought leaders”, and Goop’s “very best healers” to bring you the “ultimate wellness experience at sea”.

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Paltrow needs some healing herself, she revealed last week, after she “went totally off the rails” during lockdown. She said she lost her shit so badly she even ate bread. And she drank not one but two cocktails every night.

“I mean, who drinks multiple drinks seven nights a week?” she wondered. Who, indeed.

Goopy Paltrow’s an easy target. She took hippy dippy wellness ideas steeped in pseudoscience and turned them into a business worth quarter of a billion dollars. The media love her because she’s famous, photogenic, and she talks about fannies.

She’s played a big part in shifting “wellness” into the mainstream. Shaping its image as harmless. Making it beautiful. And removing the distinction between science and bullshit. Which is particularly dangerous in the middle of a global pandemic.

She’s already been lightly smacked down by the head of NHS England, Professor Stephen Powis, for her coronavirus advice.

Paltrow had COVID-19 last year, with “some long-tail fatigue and brain fog”. She said kombucha, kimchi and keto were the answer, along with infrared saunas. (If you can’t afford thousands of dollars for a sauna, don’t fret. It’s more quackery.)

Much of the gunk on Goop is harmless, except to the credit card. But the website has a whole section on “immunity”.

Among the dross it lists homeopathic tablets called “Cold Crush”. Cold Crush’s ingredients include belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade, and nux vomica, a potentially fatal mixture including strychnine.

Which’d be a worry if there was enough of these toxins in there to do anything at all. Homeopathy is based on the notion that the more diluted a substance, the more powerful it is. There are many earnest treatises on why homoeopathy is hogwash, but perhaps the best explanation can be found in this Mitchell and Webb skit.

The homeopathy tablets are dangerous in a way the vagina candle is not.

There is a long history of homeopathists claiming they can produce alternatives to vaccines (they can’t). There’s also a long history of homeopathy trying to discredit medical science. And there’s also this disgraceful situation here in Australia where homeopathic treatments with vague promises couched in health-adjacent language can sit in chemists alongside proven medicines.

They get the imprimatur of the white coats.

As India suffers in the grip of COVID-19, homeopathy and other types of quackery are being promoted as treatments or cures. Here in Australia, a large online supplier of homeopathic junk claims India’s (previously) low infection rates were thanks to homeopathy.

The “wellness” industry is often well-intentioned, frequently ditzy, and sometimes useful. But promoting anything that is trying to take the place of proven medicine is downright dangerous bullshit.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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