Crystal healing

Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative-medicine practice that uses semiprecious stones and crystals such as quartz, agate, amethyst or opals. Adherents of the practice claim that these have healing powers, but there is no scientific basis for this claim.[1][2][3] Practitioners of crystal healing believe they can boost low energy, prevent bad energy, release blocked energy, and transform a body's aura.[4]

Quartz crystals are often used in crystal healing.

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. Scientific investigations have found no evidence that such "energy grids" actually exist, and there is no evidence that crystal healing has any greater effect upon the body than any other placebo.

While the practice is popular, it fosters commercial demand for crystals, which can result in environmental damage and exploitative child labor to mine the crystals.[5]

HistoryEdit

OriginsEdit

In Plato's account of Atlantis, crystal healing is also mentioned. According to Plato the Atlanteans used crystals to read minds and transmit thoughts.[6] The first historical documentation of crystals originated from the Ancient Sumerians (c. 4500 to c. 2000 BC). The Sumerians used crystals in their magical formulas.[7][8]

Writings dating back as far as 400 BC make observations about the powers different crystals were believed to emit.[9] Often if a negative incident occurred a specific stone would be used in an attempt to counteract the negative effect.[9] This was done by wearing amulets or other talismans around the neck with specific stones.[9]

The origins of crystal healing is tied to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, India, Ancient Greece, or Ancient Rome.[9]

Ancient Egyptians mined for crystals and used them to make jewelry. Crystals or gemstones were also used in practice, for their metaphysical properties. Specifically, they used crystals as aids for health and protection. They often would bury a lapis lazuli scarab with their deceased, with the belief that it would protect them in the afterlife.[10] Additionally, in Ancient Egypt amulets were used to ensure the well-being of the individual.[11] The amulet's shape, decoration, inscription, color, material, or ritual performed with the amulet dictated its power.[11] Amulets were worn or placed on the body, in the form of stones, piercings, rings, necklaces, or other jewelry.[11] The Egyptians used amulets to benefit their afterlife, often representing an Egyptian deity and their specific powers. Amulets were also placed on mummys or in between the mummy's bandages, with funerary pieces usually being larger than those worn by the living.[11] In funeral practices they also used headrest amulets, these were full-size headrests placed in tombs to protect the dead, they also symbolized the deceased rising and being revived, and the sun rising between two hills, which symbolized resurrection and rebirth.[11]

The Ancient Greeks assigned a multitude of properties to crystals. The word 'crystal' is derived from the Greek word "krýstallos" which translates to "ice".[12] The Ancient Greeks believed that clear quartz crystals were a water that had frozen to the point where it would remain in its solid form.[13] The word "amethyst" in Ancient Greek language means "not intoxicate." Amethyst was worn as an amulet that they believed would aid hangovers or prevent intoxication.[10]

 
John Dee's crystal, used for clairvoyance and healing, and supposedly given to him in November 1582 by the angel Uriel

Precious stones have been thought of as objects that can aid in healing—in a practice known as lapidary medicine—by a variety of cultures.[14] The Hopi Native Americans of Arizona use quartz crystals to assist in diagnosing illnesses.[15] Both Pliny the Elder and Galen claimed that certain crystals had medicinal properties. In Europe, the belief in the healing powers of crystals (and in particular crystal amulets) persisted into the Middle Ages.[16][17] The alleged medicinal properties of precious stones, as well as other powers they were believed to hold, were collected in texts known as lapidaries, which remained popular in Medieval and Early Modern Europe until the 17th century.

Across cultures, different stones can symbolize or provide aide for different things. An example of this is rose quartz. In Egypt, it was believed rose quartz could prevent aging, but the Romans used rose quartz as a seal to signify ownership, while in the Middle Ages it was used in healing potions, today rose quartz is known as the "love stone" and is used to balance emotions, and heal anger and disappointment.[18]

Introduction to the New Age movementEdit

New-age crystal healing ties to three cultures, British, Indian, and Native American.[9] British culture has a Pagan history which has inspired many people who practice modern-day witchcraft.[9] Indian culture uses crystal healing as a form of holistic healing and is written in the holy texts of Indian culture.[9]

New-age healing in the Western world has ties to the British, and more specifically paganism.[9] While many people may not want to practice animal sacrifice, modern practices have simplified many ancient rituals and practices, making them more available, and attractive to those in Western society.[9] Western astrology is also used with crystals, and ties into modern paganism.[9] Practitioners believe certain stones align with and share properties with certain planets.[9] Using astrological birth charts someone may also use types of stones that are compatible with their star signs.[9]

In the Vedic texts of Hinduism, specifically the Garuda Purana and Graha-gocara, there is a lot of information about the importance of crystals in Indian culture.[9] In these texts Hindu Demigods trick the Vedic demon Vala into attending a pretend sacrifice ritual and after allowing himself to be tied to a stake, Vala learns the demigods are not pretending and the Demigods dismember Vala, whose body parts turn into gem seeds which contain talismanic powers, made more powerful the purer the gem.[9] Vedic crystal practices is still alive in modern India and are used by both the older and younger generations.[9]

Tibetan refugees practicing Buddhism used crystals in meditation as malas, or prayer beads and many other people in Indian culture still use crystal healing when modern medicine does not work or is unattainable.[9]

Native American culture and crystal healing have been passed down through generations through word of mouth, due to this many traditions and secrets have been lost due to the extinction of many indigenous languages.[9] In native cultures there are two important principals when it comes to crystal healing, meditation, and respect. Meditation varies from person to person but usually includes good thoughts and a healthy mindset when handling crystals.[9] In Native American culture crystals are considered an entity and you must show respect to the stones, you can also show respect to the crystals through respect of the Earth.[9] In native traditions they can use the crystals by wearing them to benefit from healing vibrations, either one at a time or several but the stones should never touch, or tinctures can be made with the stone and water and then administered internally.[9]

Contemporary useEdit

New AgeEdit

In the English speaking world, crystal healing is heavily associated with the New Age spiritual movement: "the middle-class New Age healing activity par excellence".[14] In contrast with other forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), participants in crystal healing view the practice as "individuated",[19] that is dependent on extreme personalization and creative expression.[14][20] Practitioners of crystal healing purport that certain physical properties such as shape, color, and markings, determine the ailments that a stone can heal; lists of such links are published in commonly distributed texts.[20] Paradoxically, practitioners also "hold the view that crystals have no intrinsic qualities but that, instead, their quality changes according to both" participants.[20] 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.

Crystal healing today is often featured in jewelry and is used side by side with yoga, meditation, or mindfulness.[9] Often people turn to crystal healing when they become dissatisfied with modern medicine and people are looking to revive cultural traditions from older generations.[9] Today the use of crystal healing is typically used by middle and upper-class individuals because they have the time and resources to seek out this type of alternative medicine. More affluent people are also able to afford better quality crystals.[9]

Use of crystals in the New Age movementEdit

  • Align the chakras, where stones are placed on one, multiple, or all seven chakras at once[9]
  • Meditation, where crystals are typically placed in a geometric configuration around the meditator[9]
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga

Sales and industryEdit

Worldwide, retail sales of crystals were estimated to amount to more than US$1 billion per year in 2019.[5][21]

India, China, Brazil, and Madagascar are the main producers of crystals.[5] In Madagascar, one of the sources of crystals, most crystals are mined in unsafe, non-industrial or "homemade" mines, with parents and children working together to dig crystals from pits and tunnels they dig with shovels.[5] The miners are usually paid between 17 and 23 cents per kilogram for rose quartz (less than a penny per ounce).[5] The miner's income may be just 0.1% of the final retail price.[5] Some people in the industry say that the low pay for miners is because customers in developed countries want low retail prices; others say that it is due to shops in developed countries wanting to be more profitable.[5][21]

Scientific evaluationEdit

There is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that crystal healing has any effect; it is considered a pseudoscience.[1][22] Alleged successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect.[3][22] 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.[23]

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).[24]

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.[25]

Crystal healing proponents and 5G conspiracy theorists have falsely alleged the pseudoscientific and misinformational belief that shungite may absorb 5G radiation.[26][27][28][29][30]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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". June 23, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "Crystal Therapy". Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g McClure, Tess (September 17, 2019). "Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  6. ^ Sagan, Carl (1997). The Demon-Haunted World. Headline Book Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0-7472-5156-8.
  7. ^ Palermo, Elizabeth (June 23, 2017). "Crystal Healing: Stone-Cold Facts About Gemstone Treatments". livescience.com. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "ANE TODAY – 201409 – Witchcraft in Ancient Mesopotamia -". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Carlos, Kristine D. "Crystal Healing Practices in the Western World and Beyond". Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Connecting with Ancient Egypt". Crystal Life. July 23, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Ancient Egyptian Amulets". Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  12. ^ "crystal | Origin and meaning of crystal by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  13. ^ Shashkevich, Alex (August 9, 2018). "Stanford scholar tackles the history of people's obsession with crystals". Stanford News. Stanford University. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c McClean, Stuart (2010). "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. ISBN 9781845456726. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  15. ^ Grant, Richard Earl (1982). "Tuuhikya: The Hopi Healer". American Indian Quarterly. 6 (3/4): 293, 301. doi:10.2307/1183643. JSTOR 1183643. PMID 11614178.
  16. ^ "Early Medieval Crystal Amulets: Secular Instruments of Protection and Healing." Medievalists.net, June 29, 2011. http://www.medievalists.net/2011/06/early-medieval-crystal-amulets-secular-instruments-of-protection-and-healing/.
  17. ^ "Symbolic Virtues of Gems." Dress, Jewels, Arms and Coat of Arms: Material Culture and Self-Representation in the Late Middle Ages. Central European University. Accessed September 13, 2019. http://web.ceu.hu/medstud/manual/SRM/symbol.htm.
  18. ^ "Rose Quartz History and Lore". Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  19. ^ McClean, Stuart (August 3, 2005). "'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.
  20. ^ a b c McClean, Stuart; Shaw, Alison (July 1, 2005). "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. S2CID 37051800. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  21. ^ a b Wiseman, Eva (June 16, 2019). "Are crystals the new blood diamonds?". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  22. ^ 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."
  23. ^ Stenger, Victor J. (May 8, 2016). "The Energy Fields of Life". Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  24. ^ Campion, E.W. (1993). "Why unconventional medicine?". The New England Journal of Medicine. 328 (4): 282–3. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301283280413. PMID 8418412.
  25. ^ "Warning about animal 'therapies'". BBC News. February 12, 2008.
  26. ^ Tiffany, Kaitlyn (May 13, 2020). "Something in the Air". The Atlantic. ISSN 1072-7825. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  27. ^ Koetsier, John (May 28, 2020). "$350 '5G Bioshield' Radiation Protection Device Is A ... $6 USB Stick". Forbes.com. Retrieved May 27, 2021. Other recommendations from Glastonbury? People should use Shungite, a mineral which is said to have healing powers that one "healing crystal" company says "span the board from purity to protection.
  28. ^ Bucci, Nino (October 30, 2020). "Conspiracy theorists forced to apologise for calling Victorian youth leader a Covid 'crisis actor'". The Guardian. Retrieved May 27, 2021. Fernandez claims Facebook warned him his account would be restricted for posting misinformation to his page, which he also uses to promote cryptocurrency opportunities and sell shungite, a crystal which he claims prevents the effects of 5G.
  29. ^ Song, Victoria (March 3, 2021). "5G Conspiracy Theories Are Fueling an Entire Economy of Scammy Gadgets". Gizmodo. Retrieved May 27, 2021. There isn’t much scientific evidence backing these claims, and researching shungite primarily brings up New Age-y articles spewing quackery, with no citations to actual studies or research. The 5G stickers supposedly generate some kind of shield to protect you from 5G waves. Let us be clear: A sticker that claims to generate any type of radiation-blocking shield is pure science fiction.
  30. ^ McGowan, Michael (February 24, 2021). "How the wellness and influencer crowd serve conspiracies to the masses". The Guardian. Retrieved May 27, 2021. [Fernandez] flits between long screeds about vaccinations and claims that Covid-19 is a hoax to selling products that he claims protect users from electromagnetic fields that conspiracy theorists believe are emitted by 5G towers. A shungite pyramid crystal will protect a radius of "approximately 6–7 metres", his website claims, and costs $226, reduced from $256.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit