WTF Are Healing Crystals—And Can They Actually Help You Feel Better?
If you've ever been in the lot of a Phish concert or strolled around hippie locales like the Haight-Ashbury 'hood in San Francisco or Massachusetts' Northampton, you know that crystals are nothing new. And while there is zero scientific evidence to support their proponents' claims (literally, I dug deep, and there's zilch), the idea persists that a) crystals are pretty AF and b) people will try anything once to feel better, especially sparkly, shiny things spotted in yoga studios and in cool girl Instagrams.
With no knowledge of how the hell a few crystals could possibly make me feel better, I enlisted the help of Luke Simon, one of the founders of Maha Rose Center for Healing in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (Related: What's Up With Crystal-Infused Water?) The Center offers a slew of holistic health services including Reiki, acupuncture, hypnosis, sound baths, and crystal healing. There's also a pretty shop stocked with crystals, inspirational home decor, and various other accessories and jewels. And you have to take your shoes off when you walk inside. Points alone for that chill vibe.
After I kicked off my Nikes, Simon explained to me the basics of crystals and crystal healing. "Crystals are solid figures that are made up of repeating patterns of geometric shapes," he said. When they're placed on your body, while you're holding them, while they're on display in your home, or even while they're just chilling in your pocket, "they act as conduits for healing-allowing positive, healing energy to flow into the body as negative energy flows out."
Crystals, he claims, have vibrational energy properties. "Crystals have a very high and precise rate of vibration, and so they are utilized extensively in modern technology," in things like computers and cell phones, to help turn mechanical energy into electrical signals, Simon tells me. Healing theorists believe crystals can pick up vibrations from the human body's "energy centers," or chakras, which are aligned with our endocrine glands, and-because of their own similar vibrational properties-help flush out negativity.
If you ask a doc, though, they'll tell you that the body does not have energy centers and in no way can crystals heal any kind of mental or physical illness.
Despite the lack of science, I was willing to give crystals a try-I love yoga, enjoy meditation (how can you not, with its endless list of benefits?), and started doing acupuncture when I was 14. In order to explain how we'd proceed, Simon showed me around each crystal and detailed their metaphysical properties. For example, there's quartz, purportedly the most powerful stone, which aids in filtering out distractions but can also be used to amplify any other crystal's powers. Then there's amethyst, which is often used in large chunks in spaces as decor because it creates a feeling of balance, calm, and peace-ideal for the home.
When I asked him if there was a "starter kit" of crystals that one could work with, he explained that it's not that simple, and, no, you shouldn't just buy a bag of crystals on Amazon. "I've never purchased a crystal without touching it and feeling it," Simon says. "That's such an important part of finding your own healing crystals."
Just as important, though, Simon noted, are which specific crystals an individual is drawn to. Rose quartz, I immediately said, because I freakin' love that color (and not just because it's the Pantone Color of the Year). Turns out rose quartz is best for opening up your heart and feelings of unconditional love. I'm a sap, I guess, what can I say?
As I chose a few others, he explained the "powers" of each crystal. I picked up a bit of black tourmaline ("the Ghostbusters stone," Simon says, "because it sucks up bad vibes"), a stick of selenite for its "angelic energy," and a Carnelian stone because it "cultivates courage, dispels apathy and depression, and increases balance"-something I am constantly looking for. He then led me back to the treatment room to "lay some crystals on [me]."
Focusing on my own chakras, or the aforementioned energy centers, Simon carefully aligned stones with powers related to the chakras we were working on. (Check out The Non-Yogi's Guide to the 7 Chakras.) I wanted most to focus on balance, so he mapped the stones accordingly-Carnelian on my Sacral Chakra (just below the belly), to stimulates creativity and sexuality, and selenite above my head (near what's known as the Crown Chakra) to foster spirituality. He placed that Ghostbusting black tourmaline at my feet to suck out negativity, then left me with some mellow tunes to vibe out.
I'd say I sat around for five or ten minutes before he fetched me and asked me how I felt-which you're probably wondering too. Did I feel the bad stuff expel out of my body, experience a sexual awakening, or have a moment of spirituality? No, of course not. Like I said, there's no science to back this up and his explanation of how crystals work was a bit murky at best. But I felt super relaxed. I'm talking so relaxed that my contact lenses were falling out. And the stones were so pretty. So I bought a bunch.
It's been a few days since procuring my healing crystals and I have to say, well, I don't really feel healed, or rather, that the negativity was entirely flushed out. But I do think the stones are gorgeous, and I certainly believe in the power of suggestion-if you view them as a tool to help you relax and find balance, they'll probably help you do just that.
Sitting on my desk though, they're just taking up space with a strand of mala beads. Some really pretty, peaceful space, at least.