If there's any time that you should check if a product's claims are scientific, it's when you're dropping some serious money on it. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website Goop just got science-slapped by NASA over its dubious “healing stickers”.
So what exactly are these healing stickers and what makes them special? The website claimed that the stickers are “made with the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut's vitals during wear.” Since the stickers cost $60 for a pack of 10, it may seem like a fair purchase—if the claims were actually true.
Spoiler alert: they were not true. In this era of fast-moving information, disputing spurious claims and pseudoscience is fortunately easy and quick. NASA debunked Goop's claims and said that it doesn't even use carbon to line its spacesuits at all.
A post on the Goop website waxed poetic about the ability of these expensive wearable stickers to restore the balance in our bodies and soothe our frazzled, anxious souls. These stickers, called Body Vibes, sure can accomplish a lot for us.
Except, of course, for the fact that the product basically sounds like snake oil. Gizmodo called out the site's claims by contacting people NASA and asking the right questions. Check out the Gizmodo article to see how the creator of the stickers tried to, well, make like a snake oil salesman and slither his way out of this mess.
But hey—maybe the stickers can work the way the creators claim they work. Of course, that's extremely doubtful. Unless the creators of these stickers can produce peer-reviewed studies and test results that prove their claims, it's best if we treat the products with caution.
Goop itself has been courting controversy ever since it came into existence. Paltrow has been selling an unattainable, out-of-touch, expensive lifestyle on her posts on the site. This time, however, the site has promoted a product with brazenly untrue claims. While the other products that the site endorses may also be dubious in some way, these stickers are just plain pseudoscience.
The site has since removed the description containing the stickers' outlandish claims. However, it is still promoting the use of the stickers, though it doesn't provide any explanation for or proof of how the stickers can “heal”.
What we can take away from this controversy is that fools and their money are indeed easily parted. If you can spare $60 dollars for 10 stickers with unproven “healing” claims, then do so and be happy. However, it's much better if we can all save our money for better things and be more discerning about the “scientific” claims we hear.
It can be surprisingly easy to make something sound scientific. All you'd need to do is choose the right words and phrases. You can then fool unsuspecting customers with more money than sense. Thus, if you'd like to protect yourself from being taken in by sites like Goop, remember to always look for peer-reviewed studies that prove any claims that product in question makes.
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