New Agers believe that crystals are a kind of metaphysical healing tool that have the ability to raise one’s vibration, improve one’s mood, and cleanse the energy field of one’s body (1).
At their energetic level crystals are believed to emit their own sort of energetic signature. For example, a specific crystal could have the signature or frequency of courage, another of love, yet another of inspiration, and so on. A green aventurine is believed to help the heart, a yellow topaz provides mental clarity, and an amethyst is thought by some to be beneficial for the intestines. The New Ager further believes that should one use them in therapy or carry them around on their bodies (often seen on a necklace) they will emit a signature into their own energy field thus transferring their energetic properties over to oneself. 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 is no less than a grandiose claim. Essentially it argues that by exposing a person to healing crystal, via therapy or having them placed on one’s body or in close proximity, they will have beneficial effects on the physical body as well as brain function. If this were at all thought to be true we would expect crystals to be a widely used therapeutic tool employed within the science of psychology. However, as far as I can tell, it seems that it is only New Agers who believe that it works and has positive healing effects. To the contrary, qualified doctors and scientists have no hesitation in labeling crystal healing as alternative method a pseudoscience with no medical and scientific backing to support the claims made by its New Age proponents (3). And such views seem well grounded.
There have also been few scholarly investigations into crystal healing, and what has been done hasn’t been supportive of crystals possessing any healing properties (4). Perhaps at the forefront of this effort was a 2001 study by research psychologist Christopher French and his team at the University of London. He presented his findings in a paper at the British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference in Glasgow (5). Nonetheless, through the participation of some 80 volunteers French provided half of them with a genuine crystal for a few minutes while mediating. To the other half he gave a fake glass crystal even though they were informed that the crystals were genuine (6). All the participants were given a booklet explaining 10 of the sensations that they might experience which might include 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 74 of the 80 participants said that they experienced at least one of these sensations. The most common of these being warmer hand and increased concentration. Obviously nearly all of those with the fake glass crystals thought that they experienced these sensations. French also found that there were no differences in the sensations reported by those holding a real crystal and those given a fake one, and those who had a disposition to believe in healing properties of crystals were twice as likely to report a sensation than those who were more skeptical. French thus 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).
He further stated 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.