In recent years there was a surge of popular interest in the use of crystals for healing purposes, harking back to ancient times when priests and shamans of many cultures used crystals for healing, as well as for summoning the dead and scrying (i.e., crystal gazing ) to obtain knowledge of distant events or to fore-tell the future.
Quartz crystals are a natural product formed by movements in the earth's crust. Silica in a molten state is moved toward the earth's surface. When it rises and cools, it changes structure, forming crystals on surrounding granite or sandstone cavities. The molecular structure of quartz crystal involves a perfect alignment and symmetry and imports unusual physical properties. Crystals can receive, amplify, convert, and focus energy, or store an electrical charge. If an electric current is passed through crystal it vibrates. If rubbed, a crystal generates an electrical current. Such properties have made crystals essential components of many modern devices, such as phonograph needles, watches, and microcomputers. Lasers use quartz crystal to convert electrical current into light and focus it as a beam of great intensity. These many interesting scientific properties and technological uses underlie much of the recent metaphysical attention to crystals.
Much of the modern interest in crystals in the New Age movement is rooted in the psychic readings of Edgar Cayce. In his readings mentioning Atlantis, Cayce described a large crystalline structure that supplied the power to run the Atlantean culture. He also spoke of the use of various crystals for individual personal needs. The references to crystals were later compiled in a booklet, Gems and Stones: Based on the Edgar Cayce Readings (1960).
In 1976 psychic channel Frank Alper began to convey a series of readings said to be from spirit entities. These readings were later published in a three-volume set and described the power system of Atlantis and the use of crystals in great healing temples. Alper claimed that crystals can actually absorb and store energy, which can later be discharged as a healing power.
According to Alper, crystals come in different shapes and sizes. Those with many facets are best for storing energy. Some crystals in the form of inverted pyramids were supposedly used for surgery on Atlantis. Flat, rectangular-shaped (emerald cut) crystals were used to filter light that rejuvenated the body. Alper also described the way in which a set of small crystals can be placed on or around the body of someone who desires to use the crystals' energy to either restore the body or elevate the consciousness.
Alper provided a comprehensive text on crystals. Through the 1980s his work was the basis of numerous texts on crystal power and elaborate speculations on the properties of crystalline structures. In his wake a considerable body of theory and practice has grown up around the use of crystals for healing purposes.
Marcel Vogel, a former research scientist at IBM, established a Psychic Research Institute in San Jose, California, to study, among other subjects, the claimed healing effects of crystals. He developed special techniques for "balancing and harmonizing" the body's energy field by means of crystals and claimed that many physicians and other healers were using such techniques. He videotaped his own experiments with hundreds of individuals and alleged improvements in relieving a variety of diseases, including Parkinson's disease, bursitis, arthritis, chronic back pain, and even blindness.
In spite of the efforts of people such as Vogel, however, acceptable evidence for the use of crystals as powerful storage batteries was not forthcoming, and only claims of its spiritual and metaphysical properties survived. Supporters still claim for example, that a crystal placed in a room will bring harmony and peace to the environment, in drinking water will improve the flavor, and set in a refrigerator will help keep food pure. Crystals are also believed to relieve mental and emotional tension if held in the hand and to bring about harmony and clarity if worn during meditation.
For such applications, the crystal must first be "cleared," that is, subjected to a process to neutralize existing vibrations and energies, usually by placing the crystal in a clear running stream, soaking it in salt water, or "charging" it with one's own breath. A new word, crystaphile, has been coined to indicate lovers of crystals who believe that they may have occult applications.
Without scientific backing for crystals' physical properties, however, interest in them largely died out by the beginning of the 1980s. As William Jarvis of the National Council Against Health Fraud in Loma Linda, California, has noted,
"As far as I know, there is no convincing published data to indicate that crystals have any efficacy in healing. The effects that are claimed are more in the realm of the metaphysical than the physical. They cannot really be measured, and can be readily understood as placebo effects. Until there is scientific documentation, these treatments should be presented only as medical experiments, not as valid medical therapy." Meanwhile, the Chiropractic Board of Examiners in Massachusetts has banned the use of crystals in chiropractic work in the state.
Baer, Randall, and Vicki Baer. The Crystal Connection: A Guidebook for Personal and Planetary Ascension. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.
Bonewitz, Ra. Cosmic Crystals: Crystal Consciousness and the New Age. Van Nuys, Calif.: Newcastle Publishing, 1983.
Gold, Gari. Crystal Energy. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1987.
Raphaell, Katrina. Crystal Enlightenment: The Transforming Properties of Crystals and Healing Stones. Sante Fe, N.Mex.: Aurora Press, 1985.
——. Crystal Healing: The Therapeutic Application of Crystals and Stones. Santa Fe, N.Mex.: Aurora Press, 1987.
"Crystal Healing." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crystal-healing
"Crystal Healing." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crystal-healing
A crystal is a mineral that is nearly transparent and colorless or has a slight color. Practitioners of crystal healing believe that crystals, particularly quartz crystals such as amethyst or clear quartz, contain energy that enhances healing of both body and mind. They believe that crystals can be "charged" with this healing energy, in a manner similar to the charging of a flashlight battery. The charged crystal can then be used to alter the energy patterns in the person receiving treatment. Some crystal healers also say that arrowheads and other stones can be used to diagnose illness.
Aboriginal, shamanistic cultures throughout the world, including Native Americans and the Inuit of
northern Canada, have long believed in the healing properties of semiprecious and precious stones. These views were further developed and widely popularized during the late twentieth century by New Age healers.
Crystal healing is used to enhance healing of a wide range of physical and mental ailments. For example, amethyst is said to be useful against acne , atacamite against venereal diseases, agate against ulcers, and lapis lazuli against stroke symptoms. Crystals may also be used to counter environmental hazards such as electromagnetic radiation, food additives, and polluted air and water . They are thought by some to minimize the detrimental effects of caffeine , tobacco, and alcohol. In addition, some practitioners use crystals before and after surgery to minimize trauma.
Although its effectiveness is disputed, crystal healing is generally safe and inexpensive. Crystals are used in a wide variety of ways. The best results are said to occur when both the patient and the healer are holding crystals. The healer may hold a stone in one hand while using the other to touch the body part in need of healing. Crystals may also be worn as pendants (this is said to be particularly effective in treating thymus gland problems). Appropriate stones can be selected, healers say, by simply picking up various crystals and determining which ones seem to harmonize with the frequencies of the patient's body. This may be indicated by a feeling of warmth or tingling. Some healers work solely with crystals while others combine them with aura or chakra work.
Numerous techniques are used to prepare crystals before therapeutic use. One such technique is clearing, which involves using an invocation to remove negative emotional energy from the stone. Another method is cleansing, which is said to maintain the crystal's existing energy level but converts negative energy to positive. This may be accomplished by immersing the stone for a minimum of 24 hours in dry salt or saline solution. Crystals can also be charged, like a battery, by exposing them to running water, magnets, sunlight, moonlight, pyramids, fire, laser light, or living animals, birds, fish, or plants.
Some practitioners attempt to charge stones by putting them near a mother who is giving birth, or someone who is dying. Crystals have been wrapped in a newborn's placenta, then given to the child seven years later. Gem stones that have been near meteorite fragments, earthquakes, volcanoes, or trees struck by lightening are also highly valued for healing properties.
Some healers believe that healing crystals can be programmed with human thoughts. This may be done by placing a crystal against the forehead, then visualizing a desired outcome.
Crystal healing is largely viewed as an enhancement to other therapies. It should not be used exclusively in cases of serious illness.
There are few, if any, proven side effects to crystal healing.
Research & general acceptance
Medical professionals place little credence in crystal therapy, attributing any observed benefits to placebo effect . Their skepticism stems from a lack of scientific evidence for the healing effects of crystals, and from differences of opinion among practitioners about how the therapy actually works.
Training & certification
Practitioners of crystal healing tend to be New Age spiritual healers. A number of schools in Europe and North America offer courses in crystal therapy, but the field is largely unregulated. Many individuals use crystals for self-healing.
Elsbeth, Marguerite. Crystal Medicine. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1997.
The International Association of Crystal Healing Therapists. P.O. Box 344, Manchester, M60 2EZ, United Kingdom. Telephone: (UK) 01200-426061. Fax: (UK) 01200-444776. firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.iacht.co.uk/.
"Crystal Healing." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crystal-healing
"Crystal Healing." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. . Retrieved June 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/crystal-healing