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Different stones are said to have different healing properties based on their color, mineral content, and energy output. (For example, websites promoting crystal healing tout amethyst as a remedy for sprains and swelling.) Some enthusiasts wear healing-crystal jewelry, sold in special shops or online; others may buy individual stones and keep them close by. If you do a quick search for “crystal healing” online, you’ll likely find a spa or holistic health center in your area that offers healing services using stones, in which a therapist places certain crystals along the “energy centers” (or chakras) of your body to restore positive energy.
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It sounds hokey, right? From a medical standpoint, it is. There’s no scientific evidence to back this practice whatsoever. Think about it: Placing a crystal on someone’s body to produce an internal change (e.g., erase a headache) does not make physiological sense. But, interestingly enough, past research has shown that crystal healing may have a significant placebo effect for those who believe in the practice, which may actually make them feel better, or at least more relaxed. So if you’re into this sort of alternative medicine, there’s little harm in giving it a go—as long as it’s not a substitute for real medical treatment when you need it.
Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.