There’s officially a crack in the vaginal-egg trend: Gwyneth Paltrow’s site Goop settled a $145,000 lawsuit concerning some of the claims made about the jade eggs, which are inserted vaginally, that are not backed by evidence, including that they can correct hormonal imbalances, boost orgasms, prevent uterine prolapse, and regulate periods. The prosecutors said the list of benefits was “not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence,” and now Goop has been banned from advertising any products “without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence,” according to the suit. The silver lining? If you bought Goop’s jade or rose quartz egg, or an “inner judge flower essence blend”—the latter of which was marketed to prevent “shame spirals” and cure depression—between January 12, 2017 and August 31, 2017, you’re eligible for a full refund.
That mood-lifting mist aside, what are these “powerful vaginal eggs” that have been at the center of heated conversations surrounding women’s sexual health with vocal fans and detractors alike? Hardly a new find of Paltrow’s, the polished gemstones, also known as yoni eggs or “love eggs,” purportedly date back to ancient Taoist times in China, with the purpose of exercising a woman’s pelvic and vaginal floor—like weighted Kegel exercises, if you will—and heightening her overall Chi energy. And while they certainly can’t do all the magic things they’ve been credited with, as this lawsuit so pointedly claims, they can serve a valid purpose.
“What the egg is doing is giving biofeedback—in other words, it gives a woman the ability to understand what her pelvic floor is trying to do by giving it something to work against,” explains Stacey J. Futterman Tauriello, a physical therapist specializing in pelvic-floor rehabilitation at 5 Point Physical Therapy in New York City. Think of it like doing a hamstring curl on a machine versus doing it on your own; with the former, it’s easier to know if you’re hitting the right muscle. Pelvic-floor strengthening is important for a wide range of reasons, she continues, from incontinence to posture. “If someone has a weak pelvic floor, that feedback might help—or it might not.” But some of the jade-egg claims made by enthusiasts like Goop are outright wrong: “Saying that [a jade egg] can alleviate uterine prolapse is absurd,” says Tauriello. “Prolapse is a laxity of ligaments. [Strengthening] the pelvic floor helps support those organs, but it doesn’t change the structure of them.”
As for the, well, witchier touted benefits, like that it can increase sexual energy? Sure, your mileage may vary, but know that the egg’s role here has yet to be scientifically proven. “There’s no reason you wouldn’t get the same results [while] doing similar exercises without the egg,” says Tauriello. Suffice it to say, when it comes to anything you’re planning to stick inside your body, it’s best to do your own homework, and get it evaluated by a professional—whether the advice comes from a Hollywood-turned-wellness phenomenon or not. As Tauriello puts it: “Pelvic-floor rehab is not one-size-fits-all.”