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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.

One method is where the practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to so-called “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. 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.

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Practices

Practitioners select the stones by colour or their supposed metaphysical qualities and place them on parts of the body. Stones are placed at the feet or held in the hands. Practitioners sometimes use crystal wands, which are placed near the receiver’s body. 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 misleadingly 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

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

Criticism

There is no peer reviewed scientific evidence that crystal healing has any effect. It is considered a pseudoscience. Pleasant feelings or seeming successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect.

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.

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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. One method is where the practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to so-called...