Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Pseudoscience of Crystals

     Ever since I was little I  have loved to look at and purchase beautiful rocks and minerals; there's just something alluring about them to me.  Polished rocks are often sold in gift shops at museums and many other locations where they appear very attractive to children because of their colorful appearance and variety.  It is only in recent years that I learned that many of the rocks and minerals that I had collected because I thought they looked cool supposedly had special properties.  From experience in shopping around many jewelry racks of markets and gift shops for years I had come to know that different stones had meaning such as empowered faith, hope, wisdom or love but healing properties were news to me.  But other than hearing about it here and there from a TV commercial or small shop add I didn't give it much thought.  However in recent years the market for this type of trend has skyrocketed.  As a curious person who doesn't mind learning about a little bit of everything I was intrigued and decided to do a little research myself.

     I found that a lot of the popular trends associated with crystals are associated with their believed healing properties.  Crystal healing is pseudo-scientific alternative to modern medicine.  It finds its roots in China as the Chinese have traditionally attributed healing powers to jade; as well as in Native American, Egyptian and Greek  tradition to name a few.  Besides being associated across cultures crystal healing and mythology also spans multiple religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.  Today many people try to draw upon the power of these stones through placing them in their homes as decoration, using them with meditation and carrying them on their person in daily life in the form of jewelry.  Artisan online shops such as Etsy sell a lot of jewelry crystal products as well as raw and polished stones to be used for their special properties.  For example rose quartz is associated with love, comfort and healing; while blue kianite is said to stimulate communications  and awareness as well as calm the body.

     Of course as a skeptic I attribute the claims to a matter of personal belief influenced by spirituality or religion in some way.  Still I am interested in it because I find its historical background very rich and interesting.  I have met people that never leave home without a stone that they believe will help them through their particular struggles that day and swear by its effects.  While I know that this is pseudoscience and the effects are due to a placebo effect I still find it fascinating that an object such as a small piece of  rock has the power to make someone's day better.  Not because the stone has special properties but because the person may actually be more pleasant or have more confidence in themselves because they have something to focus that goal on.  For example if a student wears a pendant of a crystal or mineral that promotes concentration and peace of mind while taking their biggest test of the semester, they may actually not stress out as much just because they believe that the stone is having that effect on them.  Its ironically a case of mind over matter (no pun intended), in that because a person believes a stone is helping them that they actually make a change in their self for the better.

1 comment:

  1. Really awesome post….i have always collected rocks as well. Really interesting to read.