Gwyneth Paltrow has set the internet ablaze yet again with her revelation that she has undergone rectal ozone therapy – let’s find out why everyone’s talking and what this practise actually involves.
You’ve probably heard a number of the wellness therapies and tools Paltrow endorses – from at-home coffee enemas to vampire-repellent spray (we imagine this stuff comes in handy in Hollywood!) so maybe her comments around ozone rectal therapy shouldn’t come as a surprise. But, to be fair, Paltrow was responding to a question on the podcast The Art of Being Well with Dr Cole about the weirdest therapy she’s tried – and her answer certainly delivered.
What is rectal ozone therapy?
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – rectal ozone therapy involves transporting ozone gas into the colon, and this is generally done with a rectal catheter. Talk about blowing smoke up your arse! Ozone gas is essentially a form of oxygen – it’s the stuff that makes up the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, protecting us from excessive UV radiation. But, when you bring this gas a little closer down to earth, it's not as beneficial to our health – quite the opposite. Ozone gas is toxic when inhaled, and can result in lung and throat damage. But with rectal ozone therapy, this gas isn’t being inhaled – obviously – and is instead taken into the body through the other end.
Now, why would someone want to put a toxic gas up their rectum, you ask? Well, some researchers believe the practise may offer some benefits, from improving the symptoms of infections and cancer to treating COVID-19 – Paltrow herself stated that she’s been dealing with long COVID and a range of difficult symptoms.
“For over two years now to deal with some chronic stuff, and I have long Covid,” Paltrow said on Instagram. “The way it manifests for me is very high levels of inflammation over time.”
Photo Credit: @gwynethpaltrow on Instagram
it’s worth noting, however, that none of these theories have been substantiated. In fact, due to a lack of research and the potential risks involved, the Food and Drug Administration in the US have advised against the use of ozone therapy – not just for treating long COVID, but also in general.
Long COVID is a massive health problem here in Australia and around the world, with Paltrow one of the 7.5% Americans struggling with the condition. Symptoms can range of fatigue to shortness of breath and brain fog – and while many are struggling to find relief or treatment, they may lean on unsubstantiated therapies. In some cases, it can be harmless or even beneficial, but in the case of a treatment like rectal ozone therapy, it may in fact prove dangerous. While cramping and trapped gas may be the more common and mild side effects involved in the therapy, there are more dangerous adverse effects like air embolisms – this is more common with IV ozone therapy and it involves trapped air bubbles that can lead to a blocked vein or artery, and then potentially a stroke. As always, check in with your doctor before undergoing any procedures.
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