Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP Says 'Earthing' Can Cure Depression

By Kelly Burch 04/12/17

The controversial lifestyle website is citing an odd cure for everything from inflammation and arthritis to insomnia and depression.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s new-age lifestyle company Goop has made headlines once again for distributing questionable health advice—this time claiming that walking barefoot can cure everything from anxiety to depression. 

In a recent blog post for Goop, a so-called expert Clint Ober extols the virtues of earthing, or walking around barefoot. 

“Earthing therapy rests on the intuitive assumption that connecting to the energy of the planet is healthy for our souls and bodies,” the article begins, noting that there’s a “scientific angle” to the theory. “Several people in our community (including GP) swear by earthing—also called grounding—for everything from inflammation and arthritis to insomnia and depression.”

Ober says that connecting with the ground is a way to reduce inflammation and can impact mental health. This, despite the fact that depression is a complex condition linked to brain chemistry, environment and brain processes. 

“The reason grounding is so powerful is it reduces and prevents inflammation from occurring in the body, which in turn prevents inflammation-related health disorders.”

As the name suggest, getting outside is an important part of the process. "Walking barefoot in your home, where minimally conductive or nonconductive materials like concrete foundations and hardwood floors insulate us from the earth's electric potential, will not have the same effect,” Ober says. 

This is not the first time that Paltrow’s company has dispensed eyebrow-raising health advice. Paltrow once claimed that wearing bras was linked to breast cancer, which the American Cancer Society has said is false

In January, Goop advised readers that inserting a jade egg into their vaginas would increase orgasm, muscle tone and “feminine energy.” The product sold out on Goop’s website, despite the fact that a prominent OBGYN said in a blog post that Goop’s claims were downright false

“The claim that they can balance hormones is, quite simply, biologically impossible ... As for female energy? I'm a gynecologist and I don't know what that is!?” wrote Dr. Jen Gunter. 

In the April issue of Women’s Health, Paltrow dismissed criticisms of Goop’s health advice. 

“When you’re at the forefront of something that’s new, people can get really reactive. ‘That’s crazy! Why are you doing this?’ Then, five years later, everyone’s fine with it,” Paltrow said. “So I have a bit of pattern recognition in hand at this point—which is helpful. I also have nothing to hide.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.