Crystals may seem like just the latest buzzy trend in wellness, but they’re old news — literally. Crystal healing date back a millennia where they were often used as a form of medicine. But in this modern age, you may be looking at these shiny, colorful rocks and wondering to yourself, “What are crystal healing stones, and how do they actually work?”
To start, the word crystal actually derives from the Ancient Greek word krustallos meaning both “ice” and “rock crystal.” “Technically speaking, crystals are structures which form when organic matter is exposed to a geological event, usually involving fire or water,” says Yulia Van Doren, founder of Goldirocks and author of Crystals: The Modern Guide To Crystal Healing, to TZR.
Mother Nature can handcraft crystals in all different ways, “some are formed when pressurized molten carbon quickly cools — enter everyone’s best friend, diamonds — or when a liquid solution evaporates, we get amethyst, ‘The Energy Vampire Slayer,’” says Colleen McCann, a self-described (and trademarked) Energy Stylist, founder of Style Rituals, and author of Crystal Rx, to TZR.
That’s how they’re literally formed, but magically speaking, “crystals are unique little powerhouses of energy, transformative vibrations, and limitless magic,” says Van Doren. “When you hold a crystal, you hold a little piece of Earth’s history in your hand,” says Heather Askinosie, co-founder of Energy Muse, to TZR.
“Crystal healing is woven into the threads of some of our most historic civilizations,” says McCann. “The Mayans, Incas, ancient Egyptians, Australian Aborigines, Native Americans, Celtic Druids, and more all traditionally used crystals in their healing practices.” The crystals they used varied though — because crystal healing is all in the eye of the beholder. While there are crystals that tend to be classified as “healing”, any crystal can technically be a healing crystal. “Choosing the right crystals — your “Power Stones” — are the ones that you feel the greatest connection with,” says McCann. “Listen to your intuition.”
Which Crystals Are Healing?
As you’ve just learned, most crystals can be used for healing, but there are a few in particular to keep an eye out for, says designer and crystal expert Ariana Ost to TZR. All of these stones are prized for their overall positive energetic effects, but each one has a unique quality of its own.
This clear crystal represents strength and reflects light, and it’s most commonly described as an enlightening stone. Ost recommends choosing quartz if you could only pick one. It’s one of the most common crystals on the planet, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked — after all, there is strength in numbers.
The baby-pink stone is often known for peace and enhancing all types of love: self-love, unconditional love, and love for others. “There is no one-size-fits-all definition for each crystal’s potential,” says Askinosie. “For example, rose quartz can be used either to heal one’s heart either due to heartbreak or grief or having low self-worth – and it can also be used to attract love to oneself,” she says.
This yellow crystal is like sunshine attracting abundance and joy, says Ost. It’s known to boost self-esteem and confidence, and is great for tapping into joyful and abundant vibes.
The plum-hued crystal helps promote resting, intuition, and deep sleep. Experts also suggest it has the capabilities to lull you into a peaceful state of mind and ease anxiety, too.
Iron Pyrite — aka “The Ultimate Manifestor” as McCann calls it — is often referred to as ‘Fool’s Gold’ because it resembles gold to the untrained eye, but there is nothing foolish about this crystal. “Traditionally known to generate wealth, pyrite carries a super-masculine vibe, and it’s great when we want to channel our inner divine masculine for confidence, willpower, persistence, and getting things done,” says McCann. “The design junkie in me loves this stone big time because it naturally grows in perfectly formed squares.”
The silicate crystal may look like just a chunk of charcoal with its pitch-black color and matte tone, but it’s powerful, says Ost. It’s known to be protective and ward off negativity, absorbing energy like a carbon filter.
How To Use Healing Crystals
First of all (and this is important), you don’t need any special knowledge or training to begin working with crystals. “There is no right or wrong way to use crystals in your daily life,” says Van Doren. Feel like placing an amethyst on your desk? Anchoring your yoga mat with rose quartz? Sleeping with opal under your pillow? “Fantastic, if you feel like doing something with your crystals, do it,” she says. “Your intuition is your most valuable magic, always listen to it, always trust it.” With that said, Van Doren has some ideas to get your crystal journey started.
Crystallizing your living spaces is the easiest way to start adding crystals into your daily life. Place them anywhere your intuition guides you (just be mindful that certain crystals fade in bright sunlight).
Spend some quiet time with your crystals to help deepen your connection with them. Try placing a crystal on your heart chakra (middle of the chest) or third eye chakra (between eyebrows), and lie quietly for a few minutes, breathing in and out calmly.
Absorbing crystal energy while you’re dreaming can be extra-potent, says Van Doren. Place crystals on your nightstand, and/or under your pillow, mattress, or bed frame for healing and guidance while you sleep.
Try adding crystals to your bath water to transform bathing into an extra-blissful self-care ritual. “Tumbled stones generally make the best bathtime buddies, and be sure to use only water-safe crystals,” says Van Doren.
Crystals For Skeptics
Feeling skeptical? Science is with you. In 2001, researchers at the University of London studied crystal healing and concluded that there was “no evidence that crystal healing works over and above a placebo effect.”
That said though, science has shown that the placebo effect can be very real — and very powerful. “I believe that our thoughts, words, and actions manifest the world that we live in,” says McCann. “If someone told me that a specific crystal had to do with personal power, and every time I look at it I get that thought in my head, I’m changing the way I think about myself and the frequency of the energy I am omitting into the world. Even if you don’t believe in the metaphysical aspect, the item can still become a symbol for your own manifestations.”
Ost suggests looking at crystals alternatively if the skeptic inside you is still adamant. “Nature offers many healing dimensions, so try to bring crystals into your space the way you would bring home an indoor plant without questions,” she says. “We all know that indoor plants can help purify the air, provide therapeutic effects of connecting to greenery, and be mood-boosting. Bringing crystals into your space is as intuitive as collecting rocks from the beach or a special trip, we are naturally drawn to objects of nature,” says Ost.
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