Gemstones have been used in therapeutic treatments for centuries, but they’re widely believed to have no therapeutic effects. While this conclusion is technically true, gem therapy is still used successfully to treat certain mental health conditions. Does that mean precious gems have a valid place in mental health counselling? This article will answer this question in full.
What evidence supports gems in mental health counselling?
Many people purchase sapphire rings for their beauty or charm, but can these gems actually positively affect your mental health? While there are no scientific studies on the efficacy of precious gem theory (primarily crystal healing therapy), it can produce a placebo effect.
The term “placebo effect” is generally misunderstood, even in the scientific community. A placebo effect doesn’t mean that a treatment failed, especially when we’re talking about mental health. Unless the patient of said therapy is using it to cure an alignment where medical intervention is often necessary, then it can be used as a source of calm or comfort.
With that said, gem therapy isn’t always appropriate in every situation. It’s often a good idea to seek help from a professional, if possible, when you’re undergoing a mental health crisis.
What the placebo effect is and why it matters
The placebo effect is what occurs when the brain is convinced that a treatment they’re receiving works, even when it technically shouldn’t. Gems by themselves can’t banish negative energy or cure a mental health problem, but they can make you feel better, which matters in treatment.
The connection between resilience and positive thinking isn’t new, and there are many studies that support this correlation. The placebo effect and positive thinking in general are effective with conditions like stress-related insomnia, pain management, and cancer treatment side effects like nausea and fatigue. That’s because placebos release endorphins and dopamine.
These neurotransmitters produce happy feelings in the brain that make us more resistant to colds and trauma. With that said, you can’t “trick your brain” into giving yourself a placebo. This phenomenon is only possible if you truly believe that the treatment will help you recover.
How gems are used to produce a placebo effect
Gem therapy often correlates a specific gem with an attribute. For example, sapphires are believed to bestow wisdom and can be used to attract wealth. If you keep a sapphire on you, it may give you the confidence to learn more about life or start a business to earn more.
In reality, you’re completing all of these actions yourself. No stone is going to make you more confident, but your perception that it does still holds value. If something makes you more inclined to do something you otherwise wouldn’t, then there’s not really a downside to that.
With that said, the downside can come if you’re using gems as a crutch, but this is true of anything else. Antidepressants help to overcome depression, but you shouldn’t take more than the recommended dose. The difference between gems and medications, however, is that withdrawing from gem therapy suddenly isn’t physically dangerous to the patient.
Using gems as a form of therapy isn’t a bad idea if you’re experiencing social anxiety, confidence issues, or other mild mental health issues. Anything that can be used to help should be used, especially something as safe as crystal healing or gem therapy.
However, gem therapy shouldn’t be used solely to treat more serious mental health conditions, as it only produces a placebo effect. While gems can produce endorphins and dopamine if the patient believes they work, they won’t do anything for patients who are sceptical. If the placebo effect is produced when the patient undergoes gem therapy, then it has a place in treatment.
David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.