Crystal healing

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Quartz crystals are often used in crystal healing
Shop in London selling crystals

Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine technique that employs stones and crystals. Adherents of the technique claim that these have healing powers, although there is no scientific basis for this claim.[1][2]

In one method, the practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to chakras; or else the practitioner places crystals around the body in an attempt to construct an energy grid, which is purported to surround the client with healing energy.[3] Despite this, scientific investigations have not validated claims that chakras or energy grids actually exist, nor is there any evidence that crystal healing has any greater effect upon the body than any other placebo so it is generally considered to be pseudoscience.

Practices[edit]

Practitioners select the stones by colour or their believed metaphysical qualities and place them on parts of the body.[1] Colour selection and placement of stones are done according to concepts of grounding, chakras or energy grids.

There is no scientific basis for the concepts of chakras, being blocked or energy grids requiring grounding being anything other than terms ascribed by the adherents to lend credibility to their practices. Energy as a scientific term is a very well-defined concept that is readily measurable and bears little resemblance to the esoteric concept of energy used by proponents of crystal healing.

Cultural uses[edit]

Different cultures have developed traditions of crystal healing over time, including the Hopi Native Americans of Arizona[4] and Hawaiian islanders, some of whom continued to use it as of 1997.[5] The Chinese have traditionally attributed healing powers to microcrystalline jade.[6]

Criticism[edit]

There is no peer reviewed scientific evidence that crystal healing has any effect; it is considered a pseudoscience.[1][7] Alleged successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect.[7]

In 1999, researchers French and Williams conducted a study to investigate the power of crystals compared with a placebo. Eighty volunteers were asked to meditate with either a quartz crystal, or a placebo stone which was indistinguishable from quartz. Many of the participants reported feeling typical "crystal effects", however this was irrespective of whether the crystals were real or placebo. The study was repeated in 2001 by French, O’Donnell, and Williams in order to add a double-blind component to the study design. Similar results were produced.[8]

Crystal healing effects could also be attributed to cognitive bias (which occurs when the believers want the practice to be true and see only things that back up that desire).[9]

Crystal healing techniques are also practiced on animals, although some veterinary organizations, such as the British Veterinary Association, have warned that these methods are not scientifically proven and state that people should seek the advice of a vet before using alternative techniques.[10]

As with other non-scientific methods the practice of crystal healing can be actively dangerous or possibly even fatal if it causes people with illnesses that are treatable by scientifically-based medicine to avoid or delay seeking effective treatment.

Notable proponents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Regal, Brian. (2009). Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia. Greenwood. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-313-35507-3
  2. ^ Carroll, Robert Todd. "Crystal Power". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ Chase, Pamela; Pawlik, Jonathan (2001). Healing with Crystals. Career Press. ISBN 9781564145352. 
  4. ^ Malotki, Ekkehart (2006). "Introduction". Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism and Magic. University of Nebraska Press. p. xxvii. ISBN 9780803283183. 
  5. ^ John Kaimikaua, talk at Molokai, HI: 1997, as cited in Gardner, Joy (2006). Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras with Light, Color, Sound, Crystals and Aromatherapy. Berkeley, CA: The Crossing Press. 
  6. ^ MacKenzie, Donald A. (2005) [1924]. Myths Of China And Japan. Kessinger Publishing's rare reprints. Kessinger Publishing. p. 249. ISBN 9781417964291. Rhinoceros horn had, like jade, healing properties. 
  7. ^ a b Spellman, Frank R; Price-Bayer, Joni. (2010). In Defense of Science: Why Scientific Literacy Matters. The Scarecrow Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-60590-735-2 "There is no scientific evidence that crystal healing has any effect. It has been called a pseudoscience. Pleasant feelings or the apparent successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect or cognitive bias—a believer wanting it to be true."
  8. ^ "Does crystal therapy really work?". My Informed Life. 2014-09-07. 
  9. ^ Campion, E.W. (1993). "Why unconventional medicine?". The New England Journal of Medicine. 328 (4): 282–3. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301283280413. PMID 8418412. 
  10. ^ "Warning about animal 'therapies'". BBC News. 2008-02-12. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]