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article imageGoop to host 'Wellness Summit' in Vancouver in October

By Karen Graham     Aug 23, 2018 in Internet
Goop, the controversial and much-lambasted e-commerce lifestyle brand founded and led by actor Gwyneth Paltrow, has chosen Vancouver as the site for its first wellness summit in Canada, but not everyone is happy with the idea.
Los Angeles, California-based Goop has already faced criticism for promoting and selling products and treatments that have no scientific basis, lack efficacy, and are recognized by the medical establishment as harmful or as misleading. And the medical community is prepared to fight back, according to CTV News Canada.
Goop chief content officer Elise Loehnen announced Wednesday that the online wellness empire is bringing its series of 'In Goop Health' to the Stanley Park Pavilion on October 27. The e-commerce site also plans on expanding its selection of products available to Canadians. This will be Goop's fourth "In Goop Health" installment and the first to be held outside the U.S.
The one-day symposium is being touted as being more intimate and less "intense" than previous gatherings in the U.S. Tickets to the summit are a cool $400 plus tax and will get you a pot-full of all kinds of stuff, including being registered for all the talks and discussions, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and cocktails; and access to an onsite retail hall where you can blow any leftover money on vitamins, athleisure wear, and paraben-free apothecary products.
Gwyneth Paltrow in  Country Strong
Gwyneth Paltrow in 'Country Strong'
Sony
"(Canadians) are sometimes even a little bit ahead of Goop in terms of where you are on the wellness spectrum, so it feels like a totally natural brand affinity," Loehnen said in a recent phone interview from Montreal. But this comment has raised the ire of skeptics.
"They're in our backyard now," said Timothy Caulfield, an Edmonton-based health science expert and author of "Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash."
"As a scientific community, we have to start thinking of ways that we can use things like the Goop summit to talk about the science, to talk about what the evidence really says, and what you really can do to live a healthy life."
Separating science from false claims
Professor Caulfield is not alone in his claims that the "Goop movement" is seething with alleged pseudoscience and outright false claims that are dangerous. In 2017, consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising TTINA.org) filed a complaint with the government regulatory agency regarding over 50 health claims made by Goop as dangerous and false.
Timothy Caulfield  Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy  University of Alberta  Canada
Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, University of Alberta, Canada
Peacock Alley Entertainment/Matt Barnes
However, a month after TINA.org provided Goop with a list of URLs harboring illegal health claims, the company has removed a number of inappropriate health statements from its site. These include claims to prevent uterine prolapse (Better Sex Jade Eggs), as well as claims to treat acne, eczema, and psoriasis (Black Rose Bar).
To be fair, as it is with many celebrity-based movements in the past, much of what is contained in Goop's online newsletter centers around travel tips and recipes for healthy eating. But the website isn't above promoting dubious and downright strange practices - like "a vaginal steaming" service that claims to "cleanse the uterus."
"We typically feature a wide range (of opinions), including many western doctors, and they're not necessarily debating what's in the medical canon," said Loehnen in defense. "A lot of content is around things that are more chronic, not incredibly well understood."
In January 2017  Goop marketed the  Jade Egg  for $66.00 USD as a form of vaginal weightlifting whic...
In January 2017, Goop marketed the "Jade Egg" for $66.00 USD as a form of vaginal weightlifting which, according to their website, is "used by women to increase sexual energy, health, and pleasure."
Jadeeggs (CC BY-SA 3.0)
But Loehnen says the e-commerce website "is bringing on a fact-checker to review and contextualize information on its website," She says this will help readers to "distinguish between claims grounded in modern science and those that are more speculative."
But Caulfield says, "(Goop) can't say that they're going to try to have evidence-based fact-checking and then reject the whole concept of science. They want the best of both worlds."
Winnipeg-raised gynecologist and obstetrician Jennifer Gunter, who calls herself the "people's choice" for Goop fact-checker says medicine has seemingly become more gender-based, with men receiving more extensive treatment than women with similar problems.
She adds that this leaves a hole in women's health care that is ripe for business models to jump on that use claims based on medical conspiracy theories. "I think that (Goop is) profiting off of the way that women have been ignored by medicine," Gunter said in a phone interview from San Francisco, where she is now based.
Dr. Gunter sums up the "Goop Carnival" pretty well, saying: "Women do not benefit from lack of information, and you can only be empowered about your health if you're informed about it, Using smoke-and-mirrors to say things that make you happy or make you healthier ... is not fair."
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