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 has 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.
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 and make nice jewellry, but that’s where it ends for me. Are you inclined to jump on the crystal bandwagon?
- EnergyMuse: Crystal crash course: A beginner’s guide to healing crystals
- Gienger, M. (2006). The Healing Crystal First Aid Manual. Earthdancer Books.
- Goop: 8 Crystals for better energy
- LiveScience: Crystal healing: Stone-cold facts about gemstone healing
- Wikipedia: Crystal healing
There’s more on pseudoscience and public health on The Science Corner.The Science Corner: Debunking Pseudoscience