Crystal therapy

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Crystals such as quartz, malachite, amethyst, and other gemstones are used for the purposes of healing physical and emotional conditions.

Overview: Available scientific evidence does not support the idea that crystals are effective in treating cancer or any other disease. However, there are individual reports that crystals can be used as a method to promote relaxation and relieve stress.

Crystals are thought to focus or otherwise transform energy to stimulate healing. Specific crystals are suggested to treat a wide variety of physical and emotional conditions including bursitis, headaches, indigestion, insomnia, hemorrhages, rheumatism, thrombosis, forgetfulness, anxiety, depression, Parkinson's disease, blindness, and cancer. Some people claim certain gemstones or crystals carry special energy that can be transferred to people to provide protection against disease, restore health, and provide spiritual guidance.

Most supporters do not claim stones or crystals can cure illness directly. They say certain stones and crystals emit vibrations that can correct underlying problems, although some crystal healers say that they are used only as adjuncts to other types of healing. It is thought that illness occurs when an individual is misaligned with the divine energy (or light) believed to be the foundation of all creation. The application of stones or crystals within specific energy centers (chakras) draws light and color into the body's aura. This creates a flow of energy that promotes healing by clearing, balancing, and re-energizing the body's energy fields (see Electromagnetic Therapy).

What does it involve?

Crystal therapists are said to intuitively determine where "blockages" of energy in the body's aura (bio-magnetic energy field) are located and then place particular stones or crystals on specific parts of the body. Different types and colors of stones or crystals are promoted to have different healing powers. For example, amethysts are thought to calm the mind and uplift the spirit, sapphires are thought to help hearing and mental clarity, and rubies are thought to cleanse the blood and foster courage. Each one is chosen based on the individual's needs and energy fields.

Some people carry crystals in their pockets, wear them on a chain, put them in bath water, or place them in their homes to bring the power of healing within reach. Crystals are sometimes used along with other methods such as acupuncture, meditation, and polarity therapy (see these entries for more information).

What is the history behind it?

The use of crystals for healing dates back to the ancient Greeks and Indians who believed there were large gems that gave light to another world under their known world. Some ancient cultures believed that spirits lived inside crystals. They also thought crystals created and gave off light. Crystals remain popular among some alternative therapy proponents today.

What is the evidence?

Available scientific evidence does not support the idea that crystals are useful in promoting healing. Some crystals have the ability to bend or refract light, which creates a rainbow effect. Phosphorescent crystals can hold light for a short period of time, but they do not have their own energy source or special powers. Some people believe that crystals or gemstones are helpful as a complementary treatment to promote relaxation and reduce stress. This may occur as a result of the "placebo effect" in which believing that something can or will happen produces a positive result.

Are there any possible problems or complications?

Crystals are thought to be relatively safe. However, relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences.

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