Despite the plethora of anecdotal evidence that exists on the healing powers of stones and crystals, the debate continues to rage in the scientific community over whether crystals actually have any real healing power. For example, a basic internet search reveals many articles claiming crystal healing to be pseudoscience. In fact, one recent study argues that crystals have absolutely no healing power and that the placebo effect accounts for people’s healing experiences with them.
As a trained research scientist, I am naturally critical and curious about everything in my life. Despite having a fascination with rocks and crystals in childhood, I forgot about them and was drawn away from them during my time in school and doctoral training. Then in my late 20′s, during a highly tumultuous time in my life, I began meditating, and during my meditations, I began to see visions of crystals. I didn’t know why, but I wanted to touch them and hold them. But I brushed it aside, still new to listening to my intuition, and figured I was just having random hallucinations.
About six months later, my boyfriend, Jimmy Ohm took me to a crystal healing course taught by a Reiki Master, Thao Le, who walked us through a bunch of different stones, allowing us to hold them and perceive their energies. In what was very much a “blind” experiment, I found that even with my eyes closed, I could feel how each stone was different, and how it resonated and vibrated in my hand. I felt something real that I could not explain or ignore.
Fast forward a few years, and I am now a big fan of crystals! I use them on myself during Reiki, I apply them in healing sessions for others, I sleep with them under my pillow, I grid my house out with them, I wear them on my body, I keep them in my car, and I gift them to loved ones and to random strangers.
WHY do I do this?
Because I have to trust my intuition. Maybe this is just the placebo effect and these crystals that resonate so deeply with me are just dumb rocks, but on some deeper, spiritual level, I know that this is not the case. Some people might criticize me for this perspective or call it pseudoscience, but I bet those same people are reading this article right now on their device’s LCD screen (which stands for Liquid CRYSTAL display), which is powered by a processor chip made of SILICON (an element derived or synthesized from silicate minerals in the earth’s crust, AKA, crystals). So are crystals just random rocks? Or are they are some of the most powerful and intriguing materials on this planet, necessary for the functioning of modern technology?
The Science of Crystals
Crystals are millions of years old, forged during the earliest parts of earth’s formation. They are the most orderly structure that exists in nature, meaning they have the lowest amount of entropy (a measurement for disorder). Crystals are structured in such a way that they respond to the inputs of all different energies around them, leading them to oscillate and emit specific vibratory frequencies. Because the crystal lattice is so balanced and orderly, the energy it emits is consistent, and when dissonant energy is inputted, it is balanced and transformed into a harmonic energy. (Note: I am a psychologist, not a physicist, so for more specifics on the physics behind this, check out this great article by Aleph Healing).
Crystals are essential to the functioning of our modern technologies, because of the way their balanced, ordered structure emits consistent frequencies and allows them to store a tremendous amount of information. As I mentioned earlier, Silicon is used in every single computer and cell phone processor, and liquid crystals comprise the display screens of these devices. Quartz (a type of silicate mineral) is used in watches and clocks to help them tell time because it helps stabilize and regulate the flow of energy. Earlier this year, The Mind Unleashed reported how a clear piece of Quartz crystal can be used to store data for up to 300 million years! Galena and Pyrite can be used to make radio receivers that do not rely on batteries. Ruby crystals were an important part of the first ever laser developed by Bell Laboratories in the 1960′s, and it is still used today for its abilities to focus and concentrate energy. Just this week, it was revealed that a synthesized crystalline material can be used to help human beings breathe underwater (I’m sure there are many more modern scientific applications of crystals than what I am listing here but hopefully you get the idea!)
Healing and Crystals
I feel strongly that crystals have been important in my healing and my spiritual growth, and I know that I am not alone in this. I have participated in many healing sessions with people who claim to feel the benefits of the crystals. Fellow crystal advocate Jordan Pearce fromSpirit Science has done some really great work on this topic, ranging from this wonderfulCrystal Movie about spirituality and crystals, to this list of 38 Awesome Crystals for Spiritual Growth, to his support of the Crystal Movement.
Why do crystals seem to have an impact on spiritual growth? The answer comes in the form of energy, frequency and vibration (which, according to Nikola Tesla, are the key to understanding the universe!) Remember, crystals have been shown to oscillate at their own frequencies, and even respond to the input of vibrations. The cells in the human body also vibrate at certain frequencies, as do the chakras (the centers of the human energy body). So when we come into contact with a crystal, its vibration interacts with the vibration of the cells in our body.
According to the Book of Stones, “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.” (Simmons & Ahsian 2005, 28)
Ancient Knowledge of The Power of Crystals
For millennia, crystals, minerals, and gemstones have been used to bring about healing and enhance physical, emotional and spiritual balance. The ancients must have somehow known that when worn, the energies of the stones would interact with the human electromagnetic field to bring about subtle energetic changes. Royals have worn crystals throughout history in their jewelry, crowns, thrones, and swords. Interestingly, the placement of crystals on the crown on a royal’s head could activate their crown chakra, and the same goes for a necklace over the heart chakra, rings on fingers for energy meridians, and earrings to stimulate reflex points. It kind of makes you wonder if all jewelry was initially intended to connect healing stones to different energetic points on the body?! Crystals have also been used burials, in divination, and in healing rituals for thousands of years. Here are some specific examples from ancient cultures around the world (again there are many more examples cited here and here):
The Ancient Egyptians: Used crystals for protection and health, and buried the dead with a piece of quartz on their forehead to help guide them to the afterlife. Dancers wore rubies in their bellybuttons to enhance their sexuality, and a necklace over the heart was intended to bring love into one’s life. Forehead crowns were also worn to stimulate the third eye. They even used ground lapis lazuli and malachite as eye makeup. Perhaps the most interesting is the account of pharaohs who carried a copper cylinder and zinc cylinder each filled with quartz, to balance the Ka and Ba energies of the body (equivalent of Ying & Yang today).
Ancient Greeks: Rubbed themselves with crushed hematite before going into battle thinking that it would make them invincible. The name for Amethyst is derived from the words for “not drunken” in Greek because Amethyst was worn as an amulet to protect against drunkenness and hangovers. Even the word “crystal” is derived from the Greek word for ice, because quartz crystal looked like water that was frozen and would never melt.
Romans: The use of crystals as amulets and talismans was very common amongst the Romans. They were used in medical treatment and to attract desirable things, enhance health and provide protection in battle.
India: The Hindu Vedas, the sacred 5000-year-old religious texts, discuss the use of different crystals to treat certain medical ailments, as well as the specific properties of different crystals. For example, they say that Emerald will bring good luck. Aryuvedic medicine has also recognized the healing powers of crystals for hundreds of years.
Mayans, Aztecs, and Incans: All three of these societies understood the power of using crystals for balance and healing on physical, emotions and spiritual levels. Crystals were used to diagnose and treat disease, well as to see the future through divination. According to some accounts, the Incans considered certain stones (such as emeralds) to be so powerful, they chose to die before giving the conquerors the location of their emerald mines.
Indigenous Tribes: American Indians and indigenous tribes of Australia have used, and continue to use, crystals to diagnose and heal illness. Many of the stones used in their traditional jewelry are thought to contain healing powers, including Agate, Turquoise, Onyx and more.
Ancient Chinese: the 5,000-year-old practice of Chinese Medicine often incorporates crystals for their healing powers, including the use of crystal needles in modern day Chinese acupuncture and Pranic Healing. Chinese emperors were even buried in Jade armor as a symbol of wealth and power.
Ancient Japanese: The ancient Japanese were skilled at the art of scrying, using transparent crystal balls to produce visions. Quartz crystal spheres were thought to represent the hearts of dragons, which symbolized power and wisdom.
Tibetan Buddhists have considered quartz crystal spheres to be objects of great holy, spiritual power, believing their properties could even assist with enlightenment. In Buddhism, the Medicine Buddha is called “Healing Master of Lapis Lazuli Radiance,” and its rituals include meditating on lapis lazuli.
Neolithic Man: The use of talismans and amulets dates back to the times of a prehistoric man, with the oldest crystal amulet, made from Baltic Amber, dating back over 30,000 years. Prehistoric humans also constructed stone tribal burial chambers or ‘Megaliths‘ that were designed according to the texture, weight, color, and vibration of the stone to maximize its resonance.
Shungite: The Most Powerful Crystal Ever Discovered?
I recently came into contact with some Shungite (pictured above) and after learning about its history, origin and uses, I have to say it is one the most interesting crystals I have ever encountered. Estimated to be about 2 BILLION years old, Shungite is about 98% carbon by weight and is only found in one place on earth, Karelia in the Lake Onega region of Russia. Shungite is the only known natural source of Fullerenes on earth.
Fullerenes were discovered by Robert Curl, Richard Smalley and Harold Kroto earning them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996. It is a compound containing 60 carbon atoms shaped like a closed hollow cage which resembles a soccer ball. A plethora of scientific data has revealed that fullerenes are an incredibly powerful antioxidant, described as a “radical sponge” that can soak up free radicals with absolutely no damage or toxicity to healthy cells. As a result, cancer researchers are currently investigating fullerenes for their anti-tumor effects, arguing that they offer promise in anti-cancer therapy.
Shungite has been used for centuries to purify water in Russia. Peter the Great put a spa at the Karelia in the 18th century after experiencing the anti-bacterial properties of the water and used the stone to provide purified water for his soldiers. Indeed, shungite appears to be an incredibly effective water purifier, removing almost all organic compounds including bacteria (and other microbes), nitrates, heavy metals, pesticides, volatile organics, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, and fluoride. Shungite water has been shown anecdotally to help with a variety of ailments including asthma, anemia, allergies, gastritis, erectile dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, immune system deterioration, and chronic fatigue. Shungite water can be made by allowing the stone to soak in a container of water for up to 72 hours and then drinking 2-3 glasses per day. Modern scientific testing has also confirmed the antibacterial benefits of shungite.
In terms of shungite being the most powerful healing crystal ever discovered, it is certainly possible, at least in terms of its abilities to absorb free radicals. There are also many other powerful crystals out there being used in a variety of different ways, including some of my favorites: Super Seven Quartz, Tourmaline, Ajoite, Celestite, Larimar, Kyanite, Citrine, Herkimer Diamond, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite and so many more (this is a great list of healing crystals and their properties).
It will be interesting to see how the research into the healing powers of shungite and other crystals progresses, and whether science will continue to catch up with what many of us already intuitively know: Crystals and stones are more than just random rocks, they really do have the power to heal.
Thanks to Dr. Kelly Neff at The Lucid Planet for this article.
Featured Image Credit: Timothy K Hamilton } Flickr