The most bizarre celebrity health trends ever

History is chock-full of bizarre health fads. Back in the day, eating ground-up mummies (or even making your own medicine out of body parts, as Charles II allegedly did) was a totally acceptable practice. So was flatulence-sniffing, which was rumored to be a method that could combat the Black Plague. Needless to say, this idea was neither soothing to the senses nor effective. 

Fortunately, we no longer live in an age of unsound superstition, and the health trends of today seem downright wholesome in comparison to the fads espoused in the past. But fanciful health trends — and particularly weird celebrity health trends — are still very much an ongoing thing. 

Some of the below examples of Hollywood health regimens are truly bizarre. Others seem sound enough, if a bit eccentric. But all of them speak to an ethos that's as grounded in contemporary medical evaluation as it is in ancient folk tradition.

​ Sarah Miles on drinking her own urine

British actress Sarah Miles is famous for starring in films like Ryan's Daughter and Hope and Glory. But she's also known for espousing a bizarre health trend — the practice of urotherapy (that is, drinking one's own tinkle).

 As the Independent explains it, urine is a pure substance because it's filtered by both the blood and the kidneys before it turns into pee. As a result, what's left is a substantial amount of (unfiltered) vitamins and nutrients.

In an interview for the 2017 documentary Urine Aid, Miles had this to say about the practice:

"[Urine] is incredible, and it's such a beautiful thing to get your body healthy that way ... if you eat well, the pee's good. And it doesn't have any nasty smell or any nasty taste to it as all. It's very, very pure." 

The film's director, Steven Williams, agreed, calling the substance "sweet and beautiful."

Gwyneth Paltrow and "bee sting" therapy

Gwyneth Paltrow's health and lifestyle brand Goop has often been subject to skepticism and Onion-esque satire. Not only for its sometimes tacky (if good natured) New Age nature, but because many of its lifestyle "suggestions" necessitate being able to spend thousands of dollars on various New Age products/treatments. Which is something we're all able to do at the drop of a hat, right?

Nevertheless, Paltrow swears by some of her more eccentric wellness treatments. In a 2016 interview with the New York Times, she talked about being stung by bees for the good of her health.

"It's a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy," she said. "People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It's actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it's painful."

One would definitely think so. It also might not hurt to have an EpiPen handy. Just in case the stinging gets out of hand.

Gwyneth Paltrow (again) and "cupping"

When Gwyneth Paltrow showed up at an elegant gala event with what looked like circular lesions on her skin, some people were nonplussed. What were those burn-mark looking things, anyway?  

The answer can be found right on Paltrow's website. According to Licensed Acupuncturist Amy Lafayette, the somewhat-bizarre health trend of "cupping" is actually an ancient Chinese practice in which glass cups are placed over the body. The goal is to effect a "partial vacuum" that's designed to increase blood flow and stimulate the nervous system, while lifting connective tissue like tendons, ligaments, and fascia, and draining excess fluid.

The treatment was apparently originally used as a cure for pulmonary tuberculosis and rheumatoid issues. There's also something in it that's supposed to invigorate "energy highways," as Lafayette puts it. But even if it doesn't actually work, those cup marks still look pretty avant-garde on the red carpet.

Shailene Woodley and "vaginal sunbathing"

By most accounts, Shailene Woodley is a really unaffected and down-to-earth person, with a well-developed social conscience, and all that. She also seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about her own eccentric health rituals — some of which are quirky, indeed. 

In an interview for Into the Gloss, Woodley discussed some of her odder regimens, which include something called "vaginal sunbathing."

"Another thing I like to do is give my vagina a little vitamin D. I was reading an article written by an herbalist I studied about yeast infections and other genital issues," she explained, with a chuckle. "She said there's nothing better than vitamin D ... when the sun finally comes out, spread your legs and get some sunshine."

Well, shucks. There's worse ideas out there. As long as you can be absolutely certain you're not within range of neighbors or paparazzi, that is. 

Bobbi Brown deep-freezing herself

We're all familiar with the health benefits of saunas, but cryotherapy — being temporarily reduced to ice — is also a bizarre health trend. Proponents claim that it reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and boosts metabolism, among other things. Others reports maintain that the treatment is bloodcurdlingly high-risk: remaining in a cryochamber for longer than a few minutes can be (and has been) fatal.  

Be that as it may, cosmetics giant (and Yahoo Beauty editor) Bobbi Brown wrote about her own experience with the procedure in 2015.

"The immense relief when the machine was turned off was just plain euphoric,"  she recounted. "I felt great immediately afterward (though I'm not sure if it was just because I wasn't cold anymore)." 

Brown also admitted to feeling "a little less inflamed," and reported a notable improvement in joint pain. So who knows? The idea might not be worth freezing out just yet.

Kim Kardashian being smeared with her own blood

In 2013, Kim Kardashian (almost) became a goth when she underwent what's known as a "vampire facial." The facials start with a standard medical blood-draw, then the blood is spun in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets before the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is injected back into the skin or applied as a mask after microdermabrasion. 

In other words, the whole thing involves a professional smearing your own blood all over your own face. Or injecting your own blood into your own face, as you prefer/see fit.

Kim's experience with the treatment was famously chronicled on Instagram. But she later posted on her website that she regretted her decision. 

"It was really rough and painful for me," she remembered. "It was honestly the most painful thing ever! It's the one treatment that I'll never do again."

Moral of the story: if you're squeamish, use Halloween makeup instead.

Demi Moore's "leech therapy"

As distressing as having a bloodsucking parasite plastered to you may sound, leech therapy is an accredited health trend. According to an analysis in the Integrative Medical Research journal, leeches have both antimicrobial and anticoagulant effects. They also have considerable anti-inflammatory properties, and have been used to treat conditions like osteoarthritis. Some studies suggest that leech saliva extracts may even have anti-cancer benefits. 

Which is not to say that walking into a swamp is advisable, but you can always have a controlled session, as Demi Moore did. In an appearance on David Letterman, Moore discussed the process.

"Just a week ago I was in Austria doing a cleanse, and part of the treatment was leech therapy," she explained. "It detoxifies the blood. And I'm feeling very detoxified right now!"

All of which is all well and good, as long as you don't end up like Wil Wheaton in Stand by Me

Mayim Bialik and placenta-eating

Many animals, like dogs, routinely eat their placentas. But the benefits of humans doing it are debatable, according to the experts at WebMD

Actress and legit neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, known for starring in Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, is a big proponent of the procedure. 

"It's good for mammals to eat the placenta  ... some people ingest the placenta pureed into a vegetable soup, some blend it with fruits," she wrote in a 2012 article. She also claims that there's "no evolutionary benefit" (at all) to humans having a placenta that's not "perfectly healthy and wonderful to ingest."

The upshot: Though it's not necessarily medically advisable to do so, eating your placenta won't kill you. You can always swallow the discarded organ in powdered capsule form. You can also theoretically fry it up and eat it a la Dr. Lecter (with some fava beans and a nice Chianti).

Myleene Klass and her family's tradition of breast milk in tea

Breast milk isn't any more harmful to humans than cow's milk, according to a 2015 CBS News report. It only becomes problematic when it isn't properly tested for viruses, bacteria, and other milk-borne illnesses. In fact, it's even been used in ice cream

That's why singer Myleene Klass' claims about "taking tea" with breast milk are more eccentrically quaint than they are bizarre. In 2013, she told the Evening Standard that the ritual was even a bonafide family tradition.

According to Klass, her father, a senior officer in the Royal Navy, routinely took breast milk with his tea. "Come on, it's normal!" she explained."I made everyone try mine. It tastes just like those probiotic yogurt drinks. Sweet — not as sweet as condensed milk."

Hey, as the saying goes, if you know where your food comes from, you're way ahead of the average consumer.