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Open Access Research article

Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding gemstone therapeutics in a selected adult population in Pakistan

Sidra Ishaque1*, Taimur Saleem1 and Waris Qidwai2

Author Affiliations

1 Medical College, The Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800, Pakistan

2 Department of Family Medicine, The Aga Khan University, Stadium Road, Karachi 74800, Pakistan

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2009, 9:32  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-32

Published: 26 August 2009

Abstract

Background

Gemstones have been in use as part of alternative and complementary medicine for years. However, our understanding of the perceived healing powers of gemstones is limited. An extensive literature search revealed that there is a dearth of validated information on this subject. This study was therefore undertaken to explore the various aspects of the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the public towards gemstone therapeutics.

Methods

A survey was performed in the Community Health Centre of a tertiary care teaching hospital in Pakistan. Data collection was done via a face-to-face interview based on a structured, pre-tested questionnaire. Participants included all willing persons between 18–75 years of age approached prior to their appointments at the Community Health Centre.

Results

The survey response rate was 86% (400/465). More than half (63%) of the study population was aware of the use of gemstone therapy. One hundred fifty-six individuals believed that gemstone use impacts health. Of this group, 39% believed that gemstone use increases physical strength. 62% believed that gemstone use is based on superstitious beliefs, whereas 28% opined that it is based on religious beliefs. 38% had used gemstones therapeutics formerly, while 24% were current users. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that age status and education status were significant (p < 0.05) independent predictors for both awareness of gemstone therapy and the belief that gemstone use impacts health. The elderly (aged 51–61) were 5.9-times more likely to believe that gemstones had an impact on health than the younger population (aged 18–28 years). (Adjusted Odd's Ratio = 5.9 [95% Confidence Interval = 2.9–11.9]).

Conclusion

More than half of our sample population is aware of the use of the gemstones for their various effects. Willingness to use gemstones is associated with the beliefs about the impact of gemstone therapy on health. Friends and family seem to be the major role players influencing people's willingness to use gemstones. CAM modalities should be recognized and considered as an important therapeutic option. We feel that gemstone therapy is a relatively unexplored area and more studies should, therefore, be conducted to gather more validated information on the subject.