Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet thus correspond to the seven chakras located along the spinal column." (Fuller 242) Crystal therapy is therefore based on the control and manipulation of these energies so that there is the "correct" or appropriate and balanced amount of this energy in each of the chakras.
The most touted of New Age healing techniques has been the use of crystals. Enthusiasts claim that because rock crystal is almost entirely devoid of color, it is an almost perfect capacitor of divine white light. Explanations of exactly how crystals wield their healing powers vary from practitioner to practitioner. Some maintain that the unique properties of crystals make them excellent receptors of metaphysical energies.
Brief history of crystal therapy
As has already been mentioned, the history of this form of therapy is to be found in many historical documents and in myths, stories and records from the distant past.
Some of these earlier records of crystal healing come for ancient Egypt and India. For example, "Primitive paintings dating back to 25,000 BC show that the ancient Egyptians used crystals for therapeutic purposes. " (What is crystal healing) There are many references to India and crystal healing in the East. " India's Ayurvedic records and traditional Chinese medicine also claim healing with the use of crystals, dating back to 5000 years ago." (Crystal Healing: Medindia. Com) There are also references to the use of crystals in ancient Shamanic cultures, such as the Inuit of Canada.
In a more modern context, crystal as an alternative therapy emerged in Los Angeles in the 1980's as part of the alternative medicine movement. "New Age and holistic health magazines, such as Van Nuys-based Meditation Age, began to include stories on crystals. " (Flores) Crystal healing gathered momentum and popularity in the more "fringe" section of modern alternative and complementary therapies and practices.
There was of course a reaction from the scientifically orientated allopathic medical community. Crystal therapy and the way that crystals affect the body are not easily accessible to scientific investigation. As one medical practitioner states: "There is no medical evidence of an imbalance of energy in the body...." (Flores)
The future of the history of crystal therapy is marked by a difficult battle for medical acceptance "Complementary therapists should face tougher regulation and more rigorous tests to prove the treatments they offer are effective." (Crackdown on alternative therapy)
4. Demographics and statistics
At present there is a relative paucity in terms of a comprehensive quantitative overview of the demographics and statistical parameters of crystal healing, in terms of its breakdown by gender, age, number of practitioners and other variables. It can be assumed from various reports that the consensus is that this therapy is most popular and used more extensively among younger people who have more tolerance for and more acceptance of alternative therapies than older people. This is due to the fact that older people have become used to the more formal and allopathic forms of healthcare and this fact is borne out to certain extent in the following discussion.
One of the quantitative studies that have been done on crystal healing indicates that there is conclusive proof that there has been a "substantial increase in the popularity of alternative medicine for a variety of illnesses and symptoms, as well as for preventive health practices and general self-care." (Blanchard) an indication of the increasing acceptance of crystal therapy is that it is included in many formal assessments and definitions of CAM or Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Therefore the demographics and acceptance of crystal therapy can also be ascertained from the more extensive data on alternative therapies in general. In this light one study reported, "...widespread use of CAM using nationally representative random household phone surveys. In 1991, 33.8% of American adults had used at least 1 in 16 CAM therapies, and a follow-up study in 1998 found that number had increased substantially to 42.1%." (Blanchard)
In a survey of U.S. university students, measuring the percentage use of various alternative Medicine (AM) practices over a twelve month period, it was found that while crystal therapy was featured it was at the lower end of the table.
Percentage Use of Different Alternative
Medicine (AM) Practices in Past 12 Months
I am practice
Note. N = 506.
The above table illustrates the fact also seen in other report and statistics, that crystal therapy is not as popular or as well accepted as many other better-known alternative health therapies.
On the other hand it has also been found that in certain areas and regions there has been an increase in the number of practitioners and acceptance of crystal therapy. For example one study shows that that while there have been a measured decline in conventional religious practices in Britain, there has been a concomitant increase in views and practice associated with alternative philosophies of healing and crystal therapy in particular. "According to recent figures, fewer than 3% of Londoners are now regular churchgoers. At the same time, non-Christian practices such as Kabbalah, Buddhism, Hinduism and crystal healing are flourishing..." ("The Return of Paganism")
At present it is estimated that there are in excess of 2000 Electro-Crystal Therapists throughout the world (Huxley M.A.) an interesting statistic is that in studies of alternative therapy is has been found that one of the areas that has shown a greater increase in usage is crystal therapy. In a 2000 survey by Mills and Budd it was found that while some therapies such as aromatherapy has shown lower levels of growth, "....less well-established therapies such as Ayurveda (+100 per cent) and crystal healing (+109 per cent)..." shows the highest level of growth. (Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the UK and German)
As stated, the demographics on crystal therapy are not comprehensive and one often encounters contradictory figures and statistics. For example, some reports state that more obscure alternatives like crystal theory are not particularly popular among Western users. "The more unusual therapies are still relatively unpopular - an ICM poll.... showed 1% of people were using crystal therapy, auricular therapy, treatment with magnets and Qi Gong. http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/nothing.gif very peculiar practice)
This seems to contradict other reports in the same general region and time frame which show an increase of interest in crystal therapy. "Crystal therapy has gained some recent credibility..." (Bachelor). Differences in country and culture may also be variables that influence these results, as well as various perceptions and preconceptions that may exist.
Part of the problem that exists in understanding and collating a consistent demographic profile on this subject is that many of the alternative therapies are unknown or unfamiliar to counselors and practitioners. In a survey of the rehabilitation profession, it was shown that many counselors were unaware of alternative and Native American healing practices. More than eighty percent of those surveyed were unfamiliar with crystal therapy.
Conclusion: An assessment of crystal therapy
There are indications that crystal therapy and healing as a movement is becoming more structured and cohesive. For example, this is particularly evident in the United Kingdom.
The Crystal & Healing Federation (CHF) and the Affiliation of Crystal Healing Organisations (ACHO), who are the two main umbrella bodies for crystal healing schools and colleges, have joined forces in order to ensure that professional and adequate standards in Crystal Healing are set and maintained. The result is the British Crystal Healers (BCH), which is now the lead body representing Crystal Healing Standards in the UK.
One of the problems with the acceptance and growth of this form of therapy is the relative mystery that surrounds its functioning. However the long history of crystal therapy and the numerous personal accounts of its success in treatment indicate that this is a therapy that should receive more research and recognition. For example, crystal therapy has been found to be effective in cases of depression. "Crystal therapy documentation indicates that clients, having suffered from miscellaneous kinds of depression have been successfully treated by Crystal therapists." (Vantol and Tarling)
At present crystal therapy is still in the beginning stages of its development in the Western world. Some critics compare it to the way that Aromatherapy was perceived fifteen years ago. (Vantol and Tarling) However there is an increasing awareness of the benefits of crystal therapy in both an alternative and complementary sense.
Albanese, Catherine L. "Chapter 6 the Magical Staff: Quantum Healing in the New Age." Perspectives on the New Age / . Ed. James R. Lewis and J. Gordon Melton. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1992. 68-84. Questia. 11 Mar. 2007 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=102478457.
Bachelor B. Alternative therapies. 11 Mar. 2007. http://www.barcelona- metropolitan.com/Article.aspx?TabID=2&MenuID=8&ArticleID=146
Blanchard a. Alternative medicine and herbal use among university students. Journal of American…