Civilisations have used crystals for healing purposes, practically since time began. There’s evidence that crystal therapy was part of the Different Ancient Egyptian culture and Ancient Chinese structures have been unearthed, built entirely from crystals. The Native Americans and Aborigines used them as an aid to meditation, while there are even stories about them being used for even higher purposes in the lost city of Atlantis. These stories are all well and good – but can the presence of stones actually have an effect on the human mind or body?
How Crystals are Used
During healing ceremonies and rituals, crystals are placed on a person. Generally, that person is fully clothed and will have approached an holistic healer with a problem of some sort. Occasionally, the crystals are placed around that person, rather than on them, but either way the theory is that they are supposed to be able to reduce stress and physical pain, promote relaxation and peace. They are even said to be able to help with serious problems such as alcoholism and depression.
Holistic healers offer an explanation that seems to be a combination of science and a belief in powers that are, as of yet, unexplained. Their argument is that the human body and crystals are similarly constructed, which is why one is able to affect the other. The suggestion is that the water that makes up 90% of our bodies is a ‘liquid crystal’.
Going further than that, there is iron in our blood and minerals present in our systems which, according to the world of holistics, will react in accordance to the different types of crystal that are placed on or around us. On top of that, they believe that the crystals used in therapy of this sort are actually able to emit energy that has a palpable or measurable effect on us.
Science versus Belief?
Science sort of backs up the liquid crystal theory, to an extent. Research has found that when sound waves pass through water, they use more energy than they theoretically should; a property that is generally associated with passing sound through crystal molecules. However, there is more research required before scientists are happy to label water in that way. You could argue that water is capable of achieving a crystalline form when it freezes, but that doesn’t automatically mean that it is crystal in liquid form.
The theory about stones being able to emit vibrations or energy waves also has some loose scientific support. A general theory in physics purports that all matter is merely energy condensed to a very slow vibration. Following that idea, it suggests that all matter is capable of generating a vibration of some sort. Holistic practitioners, who are keen to demystify the practice, counter by saying that there is nothing magical involved, and that anything that looks like magic is merely an undiscovered branch of physics. They suggest that crystals have the ability to absorb and emit energy; crystals are placed in watches to absorb the charge from batteries and then release them at such specific interludes that perfect time is kept.
The notion that crystals can affect our physical states seems well supported and plausible. However, what about the claims that it can affect our emotional and spiritual well-being?
Electro-Magnetic Fields or Auras?
Practitioners suggest that, in scientific terms, crystals have the ability to influence our electro-magnetic fields – often referred to as auras. In the holistic world, auras are supposed to be representative of our emotional and spiritual conditions. Science has agreed that we generate these fields and has even developed technology that allows us to see them, but is wary of attributing certain feelings or emotions to the spectrum that is created. This is where science and holistics clash. One simply sees them as varying degrees of a particular frequency of light, while the other sees them as the embodiment of our spiritual existence.
But what if we combine the two theories? Scientists are continuing their research into the notion that a positive outlook promotes good physical health. A number of experiments have been conducted and the results all seem to point to the idea that if you are optimistic and emotionally balanced, you are less likely to suffer from prolonged illnesses - apparently laughter really is the best medicine.
If crystals are able to affect the human body, reacting and interacting with the crystal compounds therein, then could those interactions not also have an effect on our general mood? After all, our emotions are electric impulses, generated by chemical compounds, a constituent of which are crystals.
Finding the Right Words
Unfortunately, the two worlds use very different language to quantify their discoveries, leading to arguments that might not actually be necessary. Healers will talk about chakras, energy blockages and auras, while scientists can only see things as chemical or physical reactions. It may be that, in order to sufficiently answer the question whether crystal therapy works, they need to come together and agree on mutually acceptable terms to define any measurable results.
There is little doubt that crystals have played a huge part in many civilisations – in fact the Bible holds approximately 200 references to them and their uses. The Ancient Mayans were advanced enough to work out that if you compress quartz crystals together, you get a glow or a spark – something that science has termed as its ‘piezoelectric property’.
However, the debate as to whether crystals can actually affect the body in either positive or negative terms is still up for grabs. We’re well aware that certain metals, such as lead, and certain radioactive compounds, such as mercury, can cause ill-health and even poison our systems, but there is no firm evidence yet to suggest that, for example, amethyst can cure headaches or restore a sense of inner harmony. All evidence so far is purely anecdotal and in scientific terms that’s simply not enough.
Until the debate is resolved there will always be the two camps - those who believe and those who don’t. Probably the best way to see which one you sit in is to have a go yourself. There are plenty of resources on the Internet that can tell you how to do it at home or you can always seek out the services of a crystal therapist.