The concept of crystal healing, a type of alternative medicine that harnesses the powers of quartz and other semi-precious stones, like most new age philosophies, has a polarizing effect on most of the population. Some people fully believe in the vibrational energy that crystals are said to channel. And there are others who think anything that remotely relates to the mystical is a load of malarky. I fall somewhere in the middle.
However, I’m not immune to the charms of a pretty stone and the promise of seemingly magical powers. On a trip to Sedona (aka Arizona’s mecca for New Age spiritualists) a couple of years ago, I picked up a blue topaz, dubbed “the writer’s stone.” But… what’s the difference between actually using a stone and just owning it?
Before I get into it, let me clear the air on one topic for all you skeptics out there. Crystals do have many scientific applications, and are used in microphones, laser beams, and radio transmitters, to name a few. Their role relies on transmitting energy, which, no matter your thoughts on new wave healing techniques, holds some gravitas. Not to mention that ancient cultures — including Native American and Mayan societies — have used crystals to heal physical and mental afflictions for centuries.
OK, so maybe there is something to crystal healing, but how does it work, exactly? Kristin Reed, a reiki and crystal healer based in Brooklyn, New York, explains that it has to do with frequencies, or vibrational energies. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and water and crystals have the same frequency. So when a crystal is placed on the body, your body may feel as if the crystal is within your body due to their similar frequencies, and act differently.
I was curious about what it might feel like, so I signed up for a crystal healing session with Reed. The whole experience started out with a phone call, during which Reed asked me to tell her about myself. She asked me what I might like to get out the healing session, to which I replied with a list of mostly mental ailments: anxiety, stress, an overworked brain, etc. Then she asked if I had physical ailments, and I couldn’t think of anything except the achy joints and shin splints I’d been feeling after beginning to run again.
When I came in, Reed and I went over my intentions: to get better at prioritizing, to deal with stress and anxiety better, and to improve the physical pressure on my joints. Reed had laid out her collection of crystals and asked me to select some. When I asked how many, she said it didn’t really matter. So, I grabbed five of the prettiest ones: a moonstone, a watermelon tourmaline, some citrine, turquoise, and pink rhodonite.
Then, Reed had me lay down on a massage table with some soothing music in the background and started positioning the crystals on my body — in total, there were 43. She started at my feet with some dark hematite stones. As soon as they were placed at the base of my feet, I could feel something like a magnetic pull.
As soon as they were placed at the base of my feet, I could feel something like a magnetic pull.
The next stones were placed on my hips, along my sternum, and up my chest, with a concentration of stones on my belly. The last two stones were placed on my forehead (or the third eye). The crystal placement was informed by the chakras — Reed selects stones that correlate with the traditional colors of the chakras (the colors follow ROY G. BIV rainbow order, starting with red at the lowest, the sacral chakra, and moving up to violet at the crown).
Once the crystals were in place, Reed conducted reiki healing, which is a healing process conducted by laying hands on the afflicted. It’s a very soothing process — it reminded me of massage because of its relaxing properties, but since it doesn’t target muscles, it’s more of a mental process. During the reiki (which must have gone on for at least 40 minutes) I felt myself drifting in and out of consciousness. At one point, I awoke into a kind of vision: with my eyes still closed, I could see (or rather sense) pulsating rings of neon greenish-yellow light that were coming up from the ground, passing over my body, and moving over my head and away. If you think I sound a little crazy, I don’t blame you.
If you think I sound a little crazy, I don’t blame you.
After a bit more reiki, Reed removed the crystals from my body. Even though there had been a significant amount on my chest, I wasn’t sure if they had been lifted off — I could still feel their weight afterward. Then Reed passed a sage smudge stick over me to seal the practice (I do love the smell of sage). She told me to drink a lot of water.
Afterward, I felt great — super relaxed and stress-free. But my anxiety didn’t go away overnight. Finally, after a few days, I was able to gather up all of my worries, assess them, and then let them float away (it helped that I had a long holiday weekend out in the country to let the crystal energy soak in). When I returned to my normal life on Monday, I did feel like I had my priorities more sorted out, and my usual mountain of worries wasn’t as tall.
On the other hand, I don’t have any proof that the crystal healing did anything at all. It’s a subjective science, and after experiencing it firsthand, I’m not entirely sold that the crystals were a miracle cure, either.
In conclusion, I can’t say exactly what powers were at work during my session — maybe it was all in my head — but I definitely feel less afflicted by stress now than I did a couple weeks ago. Some will say that the crystals harnessed some earthly energies, and others will chalk it up to a placebo effect. At the end of the day, I saw results. And regardless of where they came from, isn’t that what matters most?