The crystal healing community has grown very popular in the past several years. Many people have subscribed to the healing properties of crystals, gemstones, and minerals. I have done some research and found that there is very little peer reviewed research on crystal healing (gemmotherapy). What little research that has been done attributes any healing qualities to the placebo effect. It is important to mention that this can be enhanced through priming. The general consensus is that crystal healing is a pseudoscience.
The placebo effect as defined by the online Oxford Dictionary is, "a beneficial effect produced by a placebo drug or treatment, which cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient's belief in that treatment." It is general knowledge in the scientific community that the placebo effect is a very real phenomenon. Scientific studies that are high in validity include methods to counteract the placebo effect. While it is common knowledge that the placebo effect exists, it is not common knowledge that the patient's belief system can be utilized for the benefit of that individual.
Priming is something we are all accustomed to, but may not know it by its name. It is when we are repeatedly introduced to a subject, idea, ideology, and then begin to subscribe to the notions that have been introduced to us. Commercials and advertisements do this all the time. Repetition is key. This is also done in learning environments to make a concept salient. When an individual who is interested in crystal healing reads the healing properties of various crystals, they are essentially being primed. They purchase the crystal with the intention of receiving the crystals healing properties and every time they look, touch, or meditate with that crystal they are reminded and focused on that crystal's healing properties.
Now that you know about the placebo effect and the concept of a person's healing being initiated from their own beliefs, it is not incredible to think that crystal healing may be a medium for this process of personal belief to be enhanced in an effort to heal.
On another note, there is much more research on energy healing. An article about energy healing by Rao, Hickman, Sibbrittab, Newton, & Phillip (2016) describes how their research shows that energy healing has depicted significance in helping patients with chronic disease, but needs much more research to be appropriately verified. It would be inefficient to deny that crystalline structures in healing crystals carry their own energy and vibration. In minerals that do not qualify as crystals, there is also a form of energy and vibration. According to quantum theory, everything consists of energy (Andeweg, 2016).
Something to be noted is that in crystal healing ceremonies and rituals the person (Shaman/Reiki Healer, Witch Doctor, etc.) who is performing the ritual is integral to the healing process. In a peer-reviewed article on the performance aspect of alternative healing Stuart McClean brings to light the importance of maintaining a character that is both believable and nourishing to the client. This article suggests that a certain amount of performance may be applicable to the healing process.
So the real question is, are crystals able to heal or is it just a hoax? Is it beliefs, energy, performance, or a combination of all three? There simply is not enough research in the scientific community to verify or deny that crystal healing works. What you need to know is to do what is best for you. Crystals are beautiful, nice to look at, and with the placebo and priming effect in mind, they are kind reminders of traits you may want more of in your life. At best, it could not hurt to try. At worst, you have a beautiful paperweight. Whatever you decide, do not utilize any practice with the purpose of healing an illness without consulting a physician.
Andeweg, H. (April 21, 2016). Everything is Energy, Everything is One, Everything is Possible. Turner Publishing Company. https://www.turnerpublishing.com/blog/detail/everything-is-energy-everything-is-one-everything-is-possible/#:~:text=The%20quantum%20theory%20researchers%20discovered,true%3A%20Everything%20consists%20of%20energy.
Oxford Languages. (2020 July 15). Priming. https://www.google.com/search?q=priming+definition&oq=priming+&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l7.6302j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Rao A., Hickman L.D., Sibbritt D., Newton P.J., & Phillips J. L.(2016). Is energy healing an effective non-pharmacological therapy for improving symptom management of chronic illnesses? A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 25, 26-41, DOI:10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.07.003
Stuart McClean (2013) The role of performance in enhancing the effectiveness of crystal and spiritual healing, Medical Anthropology, 32(1), 61 74, DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2012.692741