You're probably used to ignoring all those overpriced New Age-y therapies and miracle cures Gwyneth Paltrow's website Goop tends to promote. Remember that time when it suggested inserting jade eggs into the vagina to "increase chi?" No? Well, you can't make this stuff up. One of its latest recommendations, wearable stickers by a company called "Body Vibes," is pretty hard to turn a blind eye to, though, because its creators claimed that it uses NASA technology. Goop wrote that the body stickers are capable of rebalancing "the energy frequency in our bodies," since they're made of the "same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line spacesuits" to "monitor an astronaut's vitals during wear." Except, as a NASA rep told Gizmodo, that's not true -- at all.
Here's the meat of Goop's writeup for your reading pleasure:
"Human bodies operate at an ideal energetic frequency, but everyday stresses and anxiety can throw off our internal balance, depleting our energy reserves and weakening our immune systems. Body Vibes stickers (made with the same conductive carbon material NASA uses to line space suits so they can monitor an astronaut's vitals during wear) come pre-programmed to an ideal frequency, allowing them to target imbalances."
Spacesuits have complex structures and are made of several layers of various materials like nylon, spandex, Kevlar and a number of other synthetic fabrics. They do not, however, use any conductive carbon material lining to monitor an astronaut's vitals or any other purpose, the spokesperson said. Former NASA human research division chief Mark Shelhamer backed what the agency's rep said and added that the product is "a load of BS." The ex-NASA scientist didn't pull any punches: "not only is the whole premise like snake oil," he said, "the logic doesn't even hold up."
Despite the criticism, Body Vibes wouldn't explain the research and development behind the product, as it's apparently confidential. The company at least apologized for the "communication error," though it insisted that the stickers, which will set you back $120 for a pack of 24 (of course), work as advertised:
"We apologize to NASA, Goop, our customers and our fans for this communication error. We never intended to mislead anyone. We have learned that our engineer was misinformed by a distributor about the material in question, which was purchased for its unique specifications. We regret not doing our due diligence before including the distributor's information in the story of our product. However, the origins of the material do not anyway impact the efficacy of our product. Body Vibes remains committed to offering a holistic lifestyle tool and we stand by the quality and effectiveness of our product."
I guess the lesson here is, you can sell products with the most outrageous promises, but you can't drop NASA's name and expect to get away unscathed.