Sound Off: When Celebrities Offer Us Health Advice


IN HER LATEST ATTEMPT to Goop-ify the world and turn everyone into juice-drinking, organic-munching, farm-to-table-buying carbon copies of herself, Gwyneth Paltrow has been encouraging the readers of her website to blow steam up their vaginas. She recently reviewed a service offered at Santa Monica-based Tikkun Spa called the “Mugworth V-Steam.” In Gwyneth’s owns words, the service involves sitting “on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release — not just a steam douche — that balances female hormone levels.”

Paltrow’s had a well-documented reputation for offering tone-deaf and off-kilter advice, from compiling lists of insanely-priced must-haves for “mindful” (read: good) parents to recommendations that you tell your water how much you love it before you drink it to up its nutritional value, but this seems like the first time in a while that her advice is not just strange but flat-out dangerous. Because, contrary to common sense and all logic, Stanley Steemer-ing your vagina is not, in fact, a healthy or safe thing to do. Besides being potentially painful, subjecting your vagina to heat like that can kill the natural bacteria that live there and play an actual role in balancing female hormone levels. And as Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and person with real medical knowledge of reproductive health, claims, steam can’t get into the body (and hence the uterus) through the vagina unless you use a hose or something like that (a big HELL NO, incidentally), so this “uterus-cleansing” that she’s after just isn’t going to happen.

She’s not the first celebrity with a built-in pulpit from which to spew unwarranted, implausible, unproven-by-science claims about health. Jenny McCarthy is notoriously vocal about her belief that the measles vaccine is linked to the development of autism in children (a claim that has been scientifically refuted), and don’t get us started on the snake oil Dr. Oz of The Dr. Oz Show fame regularly promotes to his viewers. These celebrities have reach and power; you’d better believe that there are people who are eager to try whatever “remedy” they’re being told to try simply because they’re too star-struck to do otherwise. They are entitled to their opinions, of course, but we as consumers and people with brains of our own need to realize that not everything that comes out of their mouths should be taken as true (DUH). You want to make sure your vagina is healthy? Go talk to the OB/GYN who’s actually studied them, not someone who’s had so much steam/smoke/juniper-scented, triple-filtered, naturally-sourced oxygen blown up hers that she thinks it’s acceptable to promote a treatment like this one, one we wouldn’t be surprised to find out paid big bucks to be endorsed on her website.

So, excuse us as we consciously uncouple from all the celebrity endorsements, the faulty health tips, and the idiotic, but culturally-ingrained, notion that celebrities are inherently trustworthy people. And to all the actors and celebrities out there who think that just because you’ve played a doctor in a movie or on TV once, you get to dole out actual health or medical advice to your fans and followers: please, just do us all a favor and stay in your damn lane.

h/t Refinery 29

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