Healing Crystals

Understanding healing crystals

What are healing crystals?

Healing crystals are semiprecious and often attractive looking stones that are used for the purposes of healing. In short, crystal healing is a practice whereby someone will use such stones to help them clear auras, to release bad energy or to boost energy flow as and when this might be needed. However, there is no scientific basis for the practice of crystal healing and the way that the crystals used for healing function. Despite this, many adherents of crystal healing will acquire certain crystals to perform certain functions, all of which are designed to have positive psychological and physiological outcomes. Some people will use healing crystals on themselves and their family while others carry out crystal healing professionally, usually alongside other therapies in alternative medicine, such as aromatherapy, reiki or psychic healing, among others. Examples of the sorts of crystals that are used in this sort of healing work are quartz, opal, agate and amethyst.

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 Where did the use of healing crystals originate?

Although crystal healing is mostly associated with the New Age movement that sprang up in the West in the late 1960s, the use of crystals as healing entities is something that goes back much further in history and religion. According to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, Atlanteans were able to read minds and transmit thought energies by using certain crystals. The ancient Sumerian civilisation was also known to use crystals for certain religious and magical rites. In ancient Egypt, mining was carried out specifically to obtain crystals. Although most scholars agree that this was partly to do with the beauty of gemstones and how they could be turned into jewellery, ancient Egyptians would have regarded such objects as having metaphysical properties and not solely as adornments. This is something that many pagans continued to believe in Europe, where crystals were closely associated with witchcraft. In India, the healing powers of some crystals are referred to in early Vedic texts of Hinduism.

How do healing crystals work?

There are several different interpretations of the way that healing crystals might work. To some, they have intrinsic metaphysical properties that simply means being close to them will be enough to enjoy a positive effect from them. In most New Age traditions, crystal healing involves placing crystals on or around the body. Specifically, they will be positioned close to a person's chakras so that energy can flow through them and be accentuated by the exact location of a judiciously placed crystal. The colour and shape of crystals are said to have different healing effects, so which ones are placed where will also play a part in the healing process. For some healers, people being treated will have an effect on the crystals themselves, which metaphysically adapt to their given use. Others think that the crystals have certain qualities which are of a more permanent nature. There again, others will admit that the healing properties of crystals are – in part, at least – down to a placebo effect.

Are healing crystals effective?

To begin with, it is important to say that many people set a great deal of store behind the idea that healing crystals are effective and even life-changing in certain respects. Some people will claim that their ailments are less severe after using them to heal, while others will say that they have been completely cured and that this is down to the use of crystals alone. That said, there is no peer-reviewed research that backs such claims up. In fact, many scientists would regard crystal healing to be a pseudoscience with no basis in fact at all despite the anecdotal claims of both patients and healers. Of course, any practice or rite that is taken seriously may have a psychological effect that could be stronger than a mere placebo. By calming people through a crystal healing session, there may well be a beneficial outcome. Nevertheless, crystal healing is an alternative therapy that divides opinion insofar as its effectiveness is concerned.

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Why don't healing crystals work?

As previously mentioned, no scientific work conducted into the healing properties of crystals has ever found any physical mechanism whereby they might produce a result. This is in stark contrast to traditional Western medicine and some studies into traditional Chinese medicine, which note results without necessarily being able to explain all of the processes involved. Consequently, some people think that healing crystals can never work excepting a placebo effect they may bring about. Even so, some people who do believe in the power of crystals also find they don't work or only work occasionally. Some healers will explain this by saying that everyone is different, so their effectiveness alters from person to person. Others will point out that they are working but may only be having a small, barely noticeable effect and that this will grow with continued use. There again, some will say that it is the way crystals are being used to heal or the types that have been chosen that is causing the problem.

Can healing crystals make you dizzy?

Many people explain the healing power of crystals according to their structure which means that certain frequencies will predominate from them. It is the frequency response of quartz, for example, that makes it so useful in digital watches. However, the vibrations that crystals supposedly emit when they are used for healing purposes make some people feel dizzy. In some cases, people will even feel nauseous when they are in close proximity to a healing crystal. This is often explained as a physiological reaction to the crystals vibrating interplay with an individual's chakra. It could be that there is an over-stimulated response in some people, just like the way others barely notice any effect from crystals. If you feel dizzy from a healing crystal, then be careful with it and either use it less or not at all. Most people find that dizziness is down to one type of crystal - not all of them - so some basic experimentation should be all that is needed to solve the problem.

Are healing crystals ethically sourced?

Some crystals are sourced in ways that respect ethics and morals. Indeed, some are simply found in the ground or on a beach, for example. However, since stones with a crystalline structure are usually forged by nature under extreme pressure or at very high temperatures, they tend to be found underground in cave systems or mines. These mines may well be in places where volcanic activity has taken place in the past. Just like most semiprecious stones, therefore, mining is needed to extract them. Even in open cast mines, working conditions can be very poor. Some people will point out that a degree of environmental damage is unavoidable to keep getting such stones out of the ground for use in healing. In the worst cases, child labour has been found in certain mines where they are extracted. Therefore, you should look for ones that have an ethical provenance or avoid them altogether if you are concerned about the growing demand for them.

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Are healing crystals safe?

Generally speaking, healing crystals are safe to handle and to use for alternative therapeutic treatments. Of course, as you have already read, some people will have a more dramatic outcome from their use than others which means that you should always proceed with a degree of caution so that any possible ill effects that might come about are minimised. More widely, however, the scientific knowledge surrounding crystal healing basically states that these objects have no discernible effect on health, so they should neither be considered safe nor unsafe. That said, some crystals and semiprecious stones are definitely not safe and may contain harmful bacteria or elements of heavy metals. Consuming them or making elixirs from harmful crystals should be avoided, therefore. Placing crystals into water is also a practice best avoided due to the harmful chemical compounds some crystals contain.

Which healing crystals are good for anxiety?

Opinions differ among crystal healers about which types are best for dealing with anxiety. That said, there is a consensus that those which are favourable for stress management and coping with anxious feelings tend to be ones that will help you to relax more, such as moonstone, which is often given the nickname of the mellower. Amethyst also tends to be favoured as a crystal that is good for elevating mood and releasing pent-up anxiety. You may also find that certain crystal healers will use rose quartz and celestite for this sort of healing work. Citrine is also widely used to help deal with troubled or unsettled minds because it is associated with relaxation and emotional release. When tension needs to be released, rhodonite is often preferred as it helps people to make connections with their deep emotional past.

Which healing crystals help with sleep?

Some of the healing crystals that are used for helping people to deal with anxiety are also preferred for encouraging better sleep patterns. After all, many of the emotional responses that people obtain from citrine and rhodonite will help them to feel better about themselves and less anxious about whether or not they will get to sleep when they go to bed. That said, some crystals are particularly associated with slumber. Fluorite and green calcite are two good examples. Both of these crystals are said to have a calming and soothing effect that is useful as we prepare ourselves for sleep. Many people use them if they've had a hectic day and want to get into the right headspace before tucking in. Rose quartz is also helpful for letting go of emotions and stresses which may interfere with sleep patterns.

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How are healing crystals formed?

Crystals that are used for healing are formed in just the same way as any other crystalline structure. Although human-made crystals are perfectly possible – many solar panels are made from crystalline structures derived from sand, for example – those that are used for healing or usually formed by natural processes. Essentially, what marks a crystal or a gemstone out from other rocks is that the elements in them have bonded together in molecular forms which are highly regular. These patterns form the shapes and surfaces of the crystal themselves, known as facets, as they are stacked upon one another. In nearly all cases, crystals form when liquids cool down in a particular way, often very fast. This is why crystals are often the product of volcanic explosions where molten rocks have cooled rapidly after being flung out of the earth during an eruption.

Can healing crystals be shared?

The opinion is divided on this subject. Many people will be completely fine with sharing their crystals and allowing others to use them for the purposes of healing themselves before giving them back. Some people will use their crystals to help heal others they might be offering an alternative therapy to. This may involve placing them on the body or close to it. However, others think that crystals should not be shared. This comes down to the idea that the energies of the vibrations found in crystals will alter depending on who or what they interact with. In other words, crystals can become drained when used to help people with bad or negative energy. There again, some will say this is not the case because of the intrinsic metaphysical nature of crystals which cannot be divided. As you might expect, science has little to offer on this topic.

How do you decide which healing crystals to use?

There are very many different types of crystal available to buy, so deciding which one or ones will be right for you takes some research. The first thing to do is to work out what you would like from your chosen crystals. This will depend on your overall mental and physical health and take into account any chronic pain, conditions or ailments you may already suffer from. Helpfully, there are plenty of online quizzes and personality tests around that will help in this regard. Some will even suggest the sorts of crystals that might be good for you. That said, some merely promote certain sellers or types of crystal, so take several such tests so you get a wider perspective. Once you have invested in a crystal or two, see how it works out for you before deciding on buying more, as you will gain more knowledge with every step.

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Healing crystals in summary

To conclude, healing crystals can be any sort of crystal or gemstone that has the perceived power to heal. In this regard, it could be that people simply imbue crystals with the ability to heal, which, in turn, means that they have some healing effect that we then ascribe to them. Although this is a circular argument, it does not take away from the fact that – for many people, at least – crystals are near-magical objects created by nature that can connect us to the Earth and the wider universe much more profoundly than, at first, might seem to be the case. Scientific research into healing crystals, like other alternative therapies, has little to say that supports the claims for the healing properties of gemstones, however. Consequently, it is largely a matter of faith whether you think crystals can heal or not.

Despite some ethical concerns relating to crystal mining, healing crystals have become incredibly popular in recent decades and demand for them is high. As a result, many of the rarer and most sought-after healing crystals can be expensive. Choosing the right ones for you should be a carefully considered process, especially if you want to avoid ending up with a crystal that causes drowsiness, nausea or dizzy spells. Nevertheless, the power of healing crystals is something many people enjoy exploring. Indeed, to some people, using them to restore and heal becomes second nature and a part of their daily routine - whether or not their effects can be quantifiably measured by current scientific practices.

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