Devotees of the New Age believe that crystals are a metaphysical healing tool that have the ability to raise vibration, improve mood, and cleanse one’s energy field (1).
At the energetic level, crystals are believed to emit an energetic signature. A specific crystal, for example, could have the signature or frequency of courage, another of love, of inspiration, and so on. A green aventurine purportedly helps the heart, a yellow topaz provides mental clarity, and an amethyst is beneficial to the intestines. The New Ager also believes that should one use these stones in therapy or carry them on their bodies (on a necklace) they will emit a signature into his or her energy field and transfer energetic properties. Some New Agers even go as far as to posit their crystals act as transmitters through which the energies of ascended masters and archangels can be received. According to the authors of the Book of Stones, the following occurs during crystal healing,
“When we bring the crystal into our electromagnetic field, two things occur. The electromagnetic frequencies carried by the stone will vibrate with related frequencies in our own energy field through the physical law of resonance, creating a third larger vibration field. The nervous system is attuned to these shifts in energy and transmits this information to the brain. Here the frequencies stimulate biochemical shifts that affect the physical body and shift brain function” (2).
This statement proposes that by exposing a person to a healing crystal through therapy or by placing it nearby it will have beneficial effects on both the physical body and brain function. If true one would expect crystals to be a widely used therapeutic tool in psychology and medical science. It seems, however, that only New Agers find these stones to have positive healing effects, whereas to mainstream doctors their use is seen as an alternative method with no medical and scientific backing (3).
Unfortunately, only a few investigations have been done into crystal healing, but what has been done does not boast well for crystals having healing properties (4). In a 2001 study, psychologist Christopher French and his team at the University of London presented findings in a paper at the British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference in Glasgow (5). With the participation of eighty volunteers, French provided half of the group with a genuine crystal for a few minutes while meditating. The other half received a fake glass crystal but were informed that they were genuine crystals (6). All the participants were given a booklet explaining ten sensations they might experience, such as tingling, balanced emotions, more focused attention, increased energy levels, a rise in hand temperature, improved sense of well-being, relaxation of the forehead, stimulation of the brain, increased swallowing reflex, and “activation of all levels of consciousness.”
At the conclusion of the study, seventy-four of the eighty participants said that they experienced at least one of these sensations, with the most common ones being warmer hands and increased concentration. Nearly all of those given the fake glass crystals thought that they experienced these sensations. Researcher French further discovered that there were no differences in the sensations reported by those holding a real crystal and those with a fake one. Those who had the disposition to believe in healing properties of crystals were twice as likely to report a sensation than those who were more skeptical. French concluded,
“The fact that the same effects were found with both genuine and fake crystals undermines any claims that crystals have the mysterious powers which they are claimed to have” (7).
French further claims that “the effects reported were a result of the power of suggestion, not the power of the crystals,” thus suggesting the role that the placebo effect plays in those who believe in crystal healing, “If people believe that a treatment will make them feel better, many of them do feel better after they have had the treatment, even if it is known to be therapeutically worthless” (8).
1. Small, D. Do Healing Crystals Actually Work? Available.
2. Simmons, R. & Ahsian, N. 2005. Book of Stones. p. 28.
3. Palermo, E. 2017. Crystal Healing: Stone-Cold Facts About Gemstone Treatments. Available.
4. Palermo, E. 2017. Ibid.
5. Derbyshire, D. & Hall, C. 2001. New Age crystal power is all in the mind. Available.
6. Hill, K. 2011. Crystal Healing: Magical Cure or Just a Rock? Available.
7. Hill, K. 2011. Ibid.
8. Heid, M. 2017. You Asked: Do Healing Crystals Actually Work? Available.