Science, Pseudoscience, & Media Literacy

Do Crystals Have Healing Powers?

Do crystals have healing powers?  Image of crystals laid out in a heart surrounded by a circle

Crystals are pretty, there’s no doubt about that.  But can they do anything for your health and wellbeing?

The belief that precious stones have healing powers has been around for centuries.  In current practice, it’s most often associated with the New Age movement.  It draws on the Chinese concept of life energy (qi) and the Hindu/Buddhist concept of chakras.  Different stones are associated with different healing properties, and are associated with chakra points based on colour.  The crystals are thought to facilitate the release of negative energy and the intake of positive energy.

There’s been very little research to evaluate claims that crystals have healing powers.  A study mentioned in the Wikipedia article on crystal healing found that in a study of 80 participants there was no difference in reported effects when volunteers meditated with a genuine quartz stone versus an identical-appearing placebo stone.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s website Goop is a home for all things woo-woo, and it doesn’t fail to deliver with an article on crystal healing.  Apparently, crystals can pick up “dense or stale energy.”  To cleanse them, you can bury them in dirt for a week, or leave them out in the moonlight for 6 nights during a full moon.  I wonder what sort of cleansing is considered appropriate after you’ve had a jade egg stuck up your vagina.

According to a crystal crash course from EnergyMuse, you need to set an intention or “program” a crystal.  This is done by cleansing it and then connecting to your highest vibration and telling the crystal what your intention is.

crystals sitting on a stump surrounded by leaves
Image by TessaMannonen from Pixabay

Apparently wearing crystals in one’s bra is a thing, and this keeps them nice and cozy with your heart chakra.  Model Miranda Kerr gets in on this action by sticking a rose quartz crystal in her bra.  For bra-stuffing purposes, the Earth Crystals site suggests rose quartz, clear Quartz, Tourmaline, Shungite, Citrine, Calcite Mangano and Smokey Quartz.  Perhaps not all at once, though; that could start to get a bit uncomfortable.

There’s a first aid manual for crystal healing, because why wouldn’t there be, right?  Taking a look at the recommendations for depression, the author gets awfully specific about what certain crystals do.  For example:

“Amazonite helps with severe despondency and feelings of impotence, especially if one feels a victim of some overwhelming fate. It encourages a healthy belief in life and stimulates the concept of taking one’s fate in one’s own hands.”

“Golden Topaz helps with all depression, no matter what the cause. It strengthens self-confidence and the ability to express oneself. It also enables you to regain control of those parts of life that you might believe are lost. It helps with living one’s own life and sticking to one’s own ideas, wishes and ideals.”

While this sounds fabulous, is it plausible?  “The concept of “taking one’s fate in one’s own hands” is very specific yet at the same time quite a nebulous construct.  How would a crystal possibly latch on to that?  I’m guessing the explanation would have to do with the crystals vibrating at the same frequency as certain thoughts, although that is, to borrow a convenient term from the Brits,  a load of bollocks.

The real downside of all the crystal fanaticism is that mining for gemstones is often done by children in unsafe conditions for extremely low wages.

Gemstones are pretty to look at and they can make a lovely mindfulness focal point or help with grounding, but that’s where it ends for me.  Are you inclined to jump on the crystal vibrating bandwagon?

Sources:

The Science Corner: Pseudoscience, Public Health, and Media Literacy

The Science Corner has info on media & research literacy, fake news, public health, and debunking pseudoscience.

39 thoughts on “Do Crystals Have Healing Powers?”

  1. Weird.

    I recall that when Tony Blair was Prime Minister, his wife Cherie (a hugely successful lawyer in her own right, but never popular with the public) was into New Age stuff, including healing crystals, and was widely mocked for it.

      1. Well, as I’ve learned through my own experience with university and working with “highly educated professionals”, you don’t necessarily have to be intelligent to succeed.

  2. I’ve never felt any attachment to crystals, but we have a nice crystals shop right around the corner from here! I’ve been there with two different New Age friends. The rocks are so pretty to look at!! Here’s the website: stix-n-stonz.com. It lies halfway between my house and Mitch McConnell’s house, which is a three-minute walk from here. If you continue up that road, you reach my alma mater high school. So, to recap, we have my house, crystals, Mitch McConnell, a steep upward hill, high school. (I suppose we can joke that he moved to our neighborhood to be close to the crystals shop?) 😀

    I’ve always been New Agey, but I’ve never gotten any energy from crystals. (Possibly because they have none!) Fun blog post!

      1. Ooooh, fun idea! Oh my gosh, I could make New Age furniture, like a candelabra for each chakra color, and sell or consign with the New Age shop!! Ohh! What a fun idea!! I’d be unable to make the item you found, because I can’t carve or draw with wood, but I could make other things!! Oh boy!

  3. I don’t buy the whole healing thing. But I do have a couple of crystals just because I like the look of them. Odd occasions I may use one as touch for part of my relaxation and grounding. But that’s all I do.

  4. My heart chakra hurts thinking about Mother Earth being robbed by those small children that are being exploited for this stuff.
    Can’t we have a recycle program for those stones?.As you can ‘clean’ and ‘charge’ them with the full moon apparently or hold them under running water.
    I can imagine the look of those stones outside on certain nights and those people carefully looking at the calendar to know when it is the right time. Will people never learn?

      1. I know of a company that solely uses recycled gold. There is a way!
        But I admit that because of the problems with stones I don’t buy them, not even in jewelry although I find them very pretty.

  5. I love crystals and I have a collection of precious and semi-precious stones, which takes up quite a bit of space in my room, and many people who for example visit me for the first time immediately think I must be new-agey and use them for healing or at least believe in that. I used to have mixed feelings about that, and, in a way, I really did want them to be healing, because wouldn’t that be so cool, but I did some little experiments myself and read a bit on that and, while I still think it would be great if they could help with healing, I don’t believe in it, it’s hard to see how they would be able to do it. But I enjoy to read about how crystals were used for healing or any purposes throughout the ages. Still, despite I don’t believe in that, it doesn’t stop me from sleeping with a lapis lazuli under my pillow (it’s said to help with insomnia). Not because I think it’ll necessarily make me sleep, I haven’t noticed any correlation between the lapis and my sleep pattern, but just why not, right? 😀 I love Misha and I sleep with him, and I love my lapis lazuli and I sleep with it too!

  6. Thanks for posting this. I’ve always been pretty skeptical about cystals having any special spiritual properties. Also, most people whom I’ve met who believe this are people who are unusually resistant to looking into their own selves for the answers. That’s only my subjective experience, of course, but it may point to something.

    1. That’s a very interesting perspective, and it makes a lot of sense. Looking inward can be difficult, but if a crystal could fix things, there’s not much motication to do the hard work,

  7. It’s a nice idea but I’m not sure I’m grabbing hold of that one. I have some stones/crystals just for the sake of having them, they’re pretty but I don’t know about magical powers and all that. If this were true then you would think there’d be a lot more in the news media about this. I would expect there to be widespread use in the mental health community as well. Maybe they’re more a Feng Shui kind of thing!

    The jade egg comment…lol…that’s too funny. 😉

  8. I never understood the whole crystal craze. While they ARE pretty, I don’t think they ACTUALLY “heal”. But perhaps they are form of mindfulness. Looking at something can relax something and help them REDUCE stress and perhaps pain, but NOT “heal” whatever ails them.

  9. Very interesting piece! I use them to aid my meditations. So if I’m searching for guidance on a certain area of my life , I would randomly choose a stone & look up the meaning. I will then take what message resonates with me.

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