In the modern world, the practice of healing is overwhelmingly biomedical — healing is tied almost entirely to medicine, technology, and science. For most of history, this has not been the case — humans have always relied on nature and spirituality to bring about healing. For thousands of years crystals and other stones have played a role in physical and emotional healing, and even to bring luck and love to believers.
While still considered a form of alternative medicine, the use of crystals to bring about healing is gaining a significant following. Whether it’s because of experiencing a failure of biomedicine or a newfound desire to add spirituality to their lives, people are choosing to let crystals act as conduits for the flow of positive energy to their bodies to protect against emotional and physical ailments.
- What Are Healing Crystals?
- How to Use Healing Crystals
- Popular Crystals and Their Healing Properties
What Are Healing Crystals?
Crystals are minerals. So, what’s a mineral? From academia, Radford University provides a somewhat technical, but still straightforward definition: “a mineral is an inorganic, naturally-occurring solid substance with a crystalline structure, a variable or fixed chemical composition, and a set of physical properties.”
So a mineral is not living (inorganic), is not man-made (naturally-occurring), is not liquid or gas (solid substance), and has its atoms or molecules arranged in a consistent and repetitive manner (crystalline structure). That last point is where the term crystal comes from.
A crystal is typically a single mineral. What differentiates a crystal from a rock is that a rock most often is made up of two or more minerals.
It’s the internal arrangement of a crystal’s atoms that determines its physical and chemical properties. One of those properties is color — light interacts differently when encountering different molecular arrangements, producing what the human eye sees as differing colors.
Some crystals in their pure state are colorless. When impurities are introduced into such a crystal, it takes on color. The best example of this may be quartz. In its pure state quartz is clear — you’ll find Clear Quartz (also called Transparent Quartz) crystals widely available from online crystal stores. Quartz with a number of impurities are also common, so you can also buy Rose Quartz, Blue Quartz, Green Quartz, Yellow Quartz, and Smoky Quartz crystals as well.
How Crystals are Formed in the Earth
The crystals you find today weren’t created overnight. Most crystals form when magma — molten rock cools — provided it cools very slowly. That heat, combined with compression and a little time (like a few million years) results in the formation of crystals.
While crystals are inorganic — non-living — scientists often describe crystals as growing. Crystals start out small — microscopic even. If they initially form under great compression, and remain under this compression, they’ll remain small. If they end up in a space that has some “breathing room” (so to speak), they’ll instead have a chance to “grow.” The atoms in melted rock, or even the vapor from melted rock, get added to an existing crystal. When added, they always get added in the same three-dimensional pattern such that the crystal gets bigger, but retains its same consistency. Again, it’s that consistent arrangement of molecules — that crystalline structure — that makes a crystal a crystal.
While water appears clear, it contains dissolved minerals — even the tap water you drink has some minerals in it. Some types of crystals are formed and grow from water that is very rich in such dissolved minerals. If a large body of mineral rich water evaporates really slowly, some types of large, hard, crystals may form.
One easy to understand example of this is salt. If a container of saltwater is heated for long enough that the water evaporates, the (relatively) heavy sodium chloride (NaCl) molecules present in the saltwater will be left behind. NaCl is the chemical notation for salt. The NaCl molecules attach to each other in a crystalline structure, resulting in the formation of salt crystals. Yes, salt is a crystal — you may yourself have referred to it as such (“even after wiping the table there were still some salt crystals that were missed.”). Salt may be a common, small, soft, crystal, but it is a crystal nonetheless.
Traditional Asian Medicines and the Healing Powers of Crystals
Crystal healing may be new to most Westerners, but today’s idea that crystals can promote better health are based on concepts traditional to Asian cultures — particularly the Chinese concept of vital life force (chi, or qi) and the Buddhist and Hindu concept of body energy points (chakras).
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, the concept of chi, or qi, has two components. Qi has a physical, nourishing part consisting of what the body takes in to maintain itself: air, water, and food. Qi also has a less concrete, harder-to-define part that is an energy that flows throughout every person’s body, and is also a force that binds all things in the universe together. In TCM it is believed that imbalances in this energy is the cause of emotional, mental, and physical ailments.
In Sanskrit, the classical language of India and Hinduism, the word chakra means wheel or disk, and refers to seven wheels, or disks, or centers, of spinning energy in the body. Like the qi of TCM, the chakras of Hinduism philosophy should be balanced to avoid negative physical, mental, or emotional issues.
Modern practitioners of crystal healing believe that the movement and interactions of the atoms and molecules that make up the unique crystalline structures of crystals emit vibrations and energies that affect both the body and mind of a person. The belief is that crystals act as conduits that transfer the healing energies of the earth to human bodies. Crystals can emit calming, uplifting, positive, or energizing vibrations that may help revitalize the body and bring peace to the mind.
How to Use Healing Crystals
Whether used with or without the guidance of a trained energy healer, anyone can take advantage of the energy-balancing properties of crystals.
Crystal Healing Sessions From a Practitioner
Crystal healing as performed by a practitioner of energy healing modalities (techniques, procedures, or methods) is not an exact science — there aren’t specific steps that must be strictly adhered to. What most sessions will have in common, though, is that for 20 to 60 minutes clients lie on their back, fully clothed, and the practitioner will place crystals on specific parts of the body.
Many practitioners practice crystal therapy in a manner similar to the energy healing practice of reiki. After lying down, the patient is led into a guided meditation, often using deep breathing and perhaps visualization of something calming, such as a warm white light.
Crystal healing therapists usually incorporate the concept of chakras in their crystal healing sessions. According to ancient meditation practices there are seven chakras, or energy points, corresponding to specific areas of the body. The practitioner will place a crystal on some or all of the chakras with the belief that positive energy will flow from the crystal to the chakra. The particular crystal that’s placed on a particular chakra will be determined by the practitioner. The practitioner may also place crystals around the body to form a general energy field to clear and restore harmony and balance in the spirit, mind, and body.
Using Crystals On Your Own
Crystals can be used in sessions carried out by a trained crystal healer, but anyone can reap the benefits of crystals on their own. One of the most interesting things about crystal healing is that there is no definitive rules for how to use the crystals. Instead, over time people have discovered some general guidelines and common practices that seem to allow crystals to best manifest intentions — to let crystals convey energies to help achieve goals.
Intentions, or goals, can seem intangible and flighty — holding a solid crystal and opening your mind and heart to its energy and healing powers can make intentions more real and attainable. There are several ways people use crystals to make their intentions become reality.
- Include crystals in your self-care routines. Having crystals present when you perform you daily self-care routine (regardless of just what that routine involves) can infuse the routine with the crystals’ properties. Go ahead and let your crystals soak in the water you use to wash your face, and even put crystals in the bathtub with you.
- Incorporate crystals in meditation. If you meditate, do so with a crystal in one or both hands. Experiment by holding different crystals during different meditation sessions to determine which ones have the biggest positive impact on you.
- Place crystals on your body when relaxing. Just as holding a crystal during meditation can be helpful, so to will placing a crystal on your body when you lie down to relax. If you aren’t familiar with the seven chakras, gain at least a very basic understanding of them so you know which area or areas of your body would be best served with a crystal placement for your particular intentions.
- Carry a crystal with you. This may be the easiest way to use crystals — simply have one with you throughout the day. Place a favorite crystal in your purse or pocket so that it is nearby at all times. At any time during the day that you feel uncentered, or drifting, pull out your crystal, hold it, and concentrate on your intention for a few minutes.
- Place crystals on your alter. A crystal alter isn’t a necessity or a requirement, but many people find that creating a small, special place devoted to their healing crystals and other spiritual pieces serves as a physical reminder of the helpful energies that come from these meaningful items.
If you’re new to crystals and/or chakras, the easiest way to get started is to buy a package of seven chakra-related crystals. The online crystal store Cosmic Cuts has an inexpensive (about $20) Chakra Crystals Healing Bag that consists of seven healing crystals, each of which correlates with one your body’s main chakras.
Crystals and the Akashic Records
The Akashic Records can be thought of as a spiritual database containing every experience, emotion, action, and thought that has ever occurred throughout time and space. The Akashic Records apply to not only every human that exists and has existed, but also to every creature in the animal kingdom, and any and all other worldly beings that we humans don’t even have knowledge of.
Every person has a soul, and every soul has its own, unique Akashic Record. Believers in the Akashic Records feel that these records are one of the most powerful tools humans can use to understand that everyone and everything is connected. The Akashic Records can also teach us, and remind us, that everything and anything we aspire to possible.
Accessing the Akashic Records is possible by any person that has a desire to do so. There is no set, single way in which the information in the records is accessible to each individual. Usually a person first puts themself in a relaxed, meditative state. After that, a person may rely on channeling (reaching out to spiritual, or angelic, beings), have flashes of intuition or hunches, or even “see” videos of the Records. Many people feel that the use of crystals enhances their ability to access the Records.
Certain crystals are believed to help in connecting with, retrieving, and translating, information from Akashic Records. Crystals in the quartz family are thought to be particularly useful partners when it comes to accessing the Records.
Quartz is made up of the two most abundant elements found in the crust of Earth — silicon (Si) and oxygen (O). In its purest form, quartz is transparent — and thus usually goes by the name of clear quartz. Quartz is most abundant in a clear, or near clear, state. But various impurities present during the time of the formation of quartz leads to a large number of color variations. Rose quartz, for instance, is pink due to a number of impurities including manganese, iron, and titanium.
Some variants of quartz are given their own name, so you might not even be aware that a favorite, beautiful crystal of yours is actually a form of quartz. Two of the most well-known quartz stones that go by other names are the very popular amethyst (violet quartz) and citrine (golden yellow quartz).
Quartz crystals work with a person’s consciousness, helping one to interpret requirements and needs. They’re thought to be interpretive interfacers — they help to bridge the gap between the earthly and the surreal, or spiritual. This power is what makes merely possessing any of the types of quartz crystals helpful in accessing Akashic Records. As you meditate and relax, and ask questions of a spiritual guide, a quartz crystal can be silently assisting in locating, retrieving, and relaying snippets of information.
Popular Crystals and Their Healing Properties
Here we provide a very brief list of some of the most common and important crystals. For a much more exhaustive list of key crystals, along with a couple of “cheat sheets” on crystals and their healing properties, you’ll want to read this article on choosing the best crystals for your specific needs.
The crystals listed here — and dozens of other types — can all be purchased at an online crystal shop like Cosmic Cuts.
Agates are often formed with different embedded minerals, resulting in crystals that can be one of over a dozen different colors, including orange, brown, pink, salmon, white, and gray.
Agates encourage calmness and contemplation, and raise your awareness of the collective consciousness of all life. This crystal is a grounding stone that can help to keep you balanced, and will enhance your strength and courage.
Amethyst may be the most recognized of all crystals. These purple stones are popular in all sorts of jewellery, but they’re also found in geodes — rocks with an internal cavity lined with crystal.
Amethyst is one of the most spiritual crystals. It’s a blocker of negative energy and can soothe and reduce anxiety and stress. — many people who meditate do so holding an amethyst stone in each hand during a session.
Citrine is a type of quartz that includes impurities resulting in crystals with a color ranging from light yellow to orange.
Citrine helps you connect with your divine nature and brings out your psychic abilities. This crystal increases optimism and happiness by eliminating negative energies that surround you. The positivity of citrine increases self-confidence and self-esteem.
Jasper, like citrine, is a type of quartz that gets its colors from embedded minerals. Jasper crystals can be yellow, red, green, blue, or a dozen other colors.
Jasper is a grounding and protective stone that encourages tranquility and wholeness. This earthy stone helps to transform ideas into actions, promote quick thinking, and improve organizational skills.
Rose quartz gets its red-pink color from iron and manganese impurities that are present during the formation of the quartz crystals.
Rose quartz is a crystal of love. You’ll want to keep this stone around if you want to attract, keep, or protect relationships. A very beautiful stone, rose quartz encourages helpfulness, openness, desire, and all aspects of love.
Traditional, energy, and spiritual healing practices — a staple of Eastern medicine for centuries or even thousands of years — have recently been making their way to the Western world thanks to the internet, migration, and an overall interest in spirituality. Healing crystals are a big part of this new era of spiritual and medicinal self-help.
Healing crystals are beautiful stones formed over thousands, and even millions, of years. Different crystals are associated with different properties that can help anyone to manifest their dreams, intentions, or life-goals.