In America there are thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them are seeking alternative therapies either in addition to or instead of traditional treatment. This trend is likely to continue, so it is essential that studies on the effectiveness of these alternatives are presented. Women need information to make informed decisions.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that in America 192,370 women will be diagnosed with and 40,170 women will die of breast cancer in 2009. Even though these numbers are alarming, breast cancer research continues to be the highest funded area by the NCI. Traditional treatment depends on the type of breast cancer and how far it has spread; it is likely to include any combination of the following: surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and radiation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is common for doctors from different specialities to work together in treating breast cancer. Sometimes patients seek out complementary alternative treatments, such as healing through crystal use.
Dr. George Kunz writes that the Ebers Papyrus is the first known reference to the healing properties of gemstones. This papyrus was written around 1550 B.C. and contains the presumed medicinal uses of many different crystals. Using crystals for healing is seen throughout history in different cultures. In the practice of Ayurveda. it is called Vedic gemstone therapy. Complementary and alternative therapies such as crystal therapy are controversial in the medical community, because their benefits often cannot be proven.
Crystal therapy is often guided by an experienced healer who chooses the correct gemstones for the particular ailment. The use of crystals is thought to reduce stress, promote deep relaxation and augment the body's immune system. Observers of the practice have noted that the patient-provider relationship is essential to the success of crystal therapy. Patients must trust and believe in the provider to gain any benefits. Sceptics blame any benefits on the placebo effect.
To underscore the sceptics' point, some healers believe that patients should choose a gem by their gut feeling; the gem they choose is the gem they are meant to have. However, other healers assign various gems depending on the illness that is treated. For breast cancer treatment, emerald, sugilite and selenite are suggested gems by one healer. A different healer may suggest amethyst, smoky quartz, rose quartz and clear quartz to treat the same disease. There is no consensus of which crystals are best for this particular illness.
Breast cancer patients should always follow the advice of a medical doctor when treating this serious illness. Crystal therapy is meant to complement traditional medicine; it is not a substitute. There are no published studies that prove the effectiveness of crystal healing.