The role of performance in enhancing the effectiveness of crystal and spiritual healing

McClean, S. (2013) The role of performance in enhancing the effectiveness of crystal and spiritual healing. Medical Anthropology, 31 (1). pp. 61-74. ISSN 0145-9740 Available from:

Full text not available from this repository

Publisher's URL:


In the arena of biomedical sciences, technical skills and expert judgement are at a premium, and the standardization and repeatability of an intervention is crucial to help determine, for example, the effectiveness of a new drug in a clinical trial. Crystal and spiritual healers are less rule-bound, and their playfulness with the systematized conventions and rituals of healing practice is more evident. In this article, based on in-depth ethnographic research, I highlight some of these themes in the context of contemporary crystal and spiritual healing practice at a center in northeast England. I show that the standardized models of measuring effectiveness is less appropriate in many healing contexts, partly due to the unrepeatability and limited standardization of each healing performance, but also due to the performative ‘being-in-the-moment-ness’ and intuitive sensibility that frames what healers count as evidence.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:complementary and alternative medicine, effectiveness, ethnography, crystal healing, spiritual healing
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Health and Social Sciences
ID Code:16749
Deposited By: Dr S. McClean
Deposited On:09 May 2012 10:50
Last Modified:02 Aug 2017 09:22

Request a change to this item

Document Downloads

Total Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...