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][3]

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.[4] 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; for these reasons it is considered a pseudoscience.


Precious stones have been thought of as healing objects by a variety of cultures worldwide.[5]


Crystal healing is heavily associated with the New Age spiritual movement: "the middle-class New Age healing activity par excellence".[5] In contrast with other forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), participants in crystal healing view the practice as "individuated",[6] i.e., dependent on extreme personalization and creative expression.[5][7]

Practitioners of crystal healing purport that certain physical properties—e.g., shape, color, and markings—determine the ailments that a stone can heal; lists of such links are published in commonly distributed texts.[7] Paradoxically, practitioners also "hold the view that crystals have no intrinsic qualities but that, instead, their quality changes according to both" participants.[7] After selecting the stones by color or their believed metaphysical qualities, they place them on parts of the body.[1] Color selection and placement of stones are done according to concepts of grounding, chakras, or energy grids.

Other cultures[edit]

Many other cultures have developed traditions of crystal healing over time, including the Hopi Native Americans of Arizona[8] and Hawaiian islanders, some of whom continued to use it as of 1997.[9] The Chinese have traditionally attributed healing powers to microcrystalline jade.[10]


There is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that crystal healing has any effect; it is considered a pseudoscience.[1][11] Alleged successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect.[11][3] Furthermore, there is no scientific basis for the concepts of chakras, being "blocked", energy grids requiring grounding, or other such terms; they are widely understood to be nothing more than terms used by 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.[12]

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. In 2001 Christopher French, head of the anomalistic psychology research unit at the University of London and colleagues from Goldsmiths College outlined their study of crystal healing at the British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference, concluding "There is no evidence that crystal healing works over and above a placebo effect.”[3]

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).[13]

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.[14]

See also[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. ^ a b c "Live Science". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  4. ^ Chase, Pamela; Pawlik, Jonathan (2001). Healing with Crystals. Career Press. ISBN 9781564145352.
  5. ^ a b c McClean, Stuart. "Crystal and spiritual healing in northern England: Folk-inspired systems of medicine". Folk Healing and Health Care Practices in Britain and Ireland: Stethoscopes, Wands, and Crystals. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  6. ^ McClean, Stuart (2005-08-03). "'The illness is part of the person': discourses of blame, individual responsibility and individuation at a centre for spiritual healing in the North of England". Sociology of Health and Illness. 27 (5): 628–648. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2005.00459.x. PMID 16078904.
  7. ^ a b c McClean, Stuart; Shaw, Alison (2005-07-01). "From Schism to Continuum? The Problematic Relationship Between Expert and Lay Knowledge—An Exploratory Conceptual Synthesis of Two Qualitative Studies". Qualitative Health Research. 15 (6): 729–749. doi:10.1177/1049732304273927. PMID 15961872. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  8. ^ Malotki, Ekkehart (2006). "Introduction". Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism and Magic. University of Nebraska Press. p. xxvii. ISBN 9780803283183.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ MacKenzie, Donald A. (2005) [1924]. Myths Of China And Japan. Kessinger Publishing's rare reprints. Kessinger Publishing. p. 249. ISBN 978-1417964291. Rhinoceros horn had, like jade, healing properties.
  11. ^ 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."
  12. ^ Stenger, Victor J. (2016-05-08). "The Energy Fields of Life". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  13. ^ Campion, E.W. (1993). "Why unconventional medicine?". The New England Journal of Medicine. 328 (4): 282–3. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301283280413. PMID 8418412.
  14. ^ "Warning about animal 'therapies'". BBC News. 2008-02-12.

Further reading[edit]

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