One of the ways you can be quite certain that you’re dealing with some serious weapons-grade bullshit when it comes to medicine is when you hear phrases like “positive energy” and “restoring balance.” Christopher Wanjek takes a skeptical look at one of those “healing” techniques that utilizes such meaningless twaddle, crystal therapy.
Crystal healing philosophy taps into the traditional Asian concepts of life-energy (chi or qi) and chakras, which are vortices of this life-energy said to connect the physical and supernatural elements of the body. Yet because crystal healing so often is incorporated into the practice of astrology, soothsaying and modern witchcraft, as well as the belief in reincarnation, intelligent extraterrestrial life and the lost city of Atlantis, even ardent proponents of alternative medicine tend to dismiss it as a useless therapy, if not ludicrous.
No studies have ever demonstrated any therapeutic value for crystal healing. At a purely scientific level, there is no evidence that disease is caused by poor cosmic energy flow — positive or negative — or that crystals and gems can be differentiated by chemical composition or color to treat a particular ailment…
Patients should note that crystal healing is tied intrinsically to the occult. That is, the stones used are not said to be beneficial because of the chemicals they contain — phosphate, copper, silicates, etc. — but rather because they are conduits for a supernatural healing force…Crystal healing proponents assert that crystals and gemstones — largely by virtue of their color, shape, and texture — have properties that facilitate healing. Often these properties are referred to as spiritual or magical energy. More recently, some crystal healers have used the term vibrational energy, incorporating a concept of quantum mechanics, although incorrectly.
In short, crystals and stones are said to mediate a type of life-energy called qi, which according to some tenets of traditional Eastern philosophy is an unseen healing force that pervades the universe. That said, crystal healing as practiced today is largely a modern Western alternative medicine practice.
Crystals and stones are assigned various properties, albeit not universally agreed upon by crystal healers. Amethyst is said to be beneficial for the intestines; green aventurine helps the heart; yellow topaz provides mental clarity. Colors red through violet are associated with seven chakra points on the body.
A crystal healer may place various stones or crystals on your body aligned with these chakra points, roughly in the regions above the head, on the forehead, on the throat, on the chest, on the stomach, on the gut, and on the genital area. The stones used and their positioning may be chosen for the symptoms reported by the patient. This is all influenced by the healer’s knowledge of, and belief in, the chakra philosophy of disease and energy imbalances — a concept largely dismissed by practitioners of modern medicine.
Because it’s total nonsense.