If you’re suffering from stress, anxiety or you feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges, from meditation to reiki healing there are now a host of alternative medicines available to restore tranquility and help calm your restless mind.
Modern medicine has even embraced elements of complementary therapy, with a few particularly progressive GPs prescribing eco-therapy (spending more time in nature) to stressed out patients; while the NHS offers mindfulness courses.
But what about crystal healing? In recent years, the crystal industry has seen huge growth. But can colourful stones actually ease anxiety and stress, or is crystal healing just sparkly pseudoscience?
Crystal healing – the theory
Crystals are naturally occurring rock formations that have existed on earth for a millennia, and people have been championing the little shards of colour and light for their mystical healing powers for almost as long. But how do they work?
‘The theory behind working with stones comes back to Einstein’s theory of energy: E=MC2,’ explains Amiee Carlton, Master NLP Practitioner, development coach and energy worker. ‘Everything moves – everything has an oscillation and a vibration. With that in mind, the stone has a vibration and a frequency. We also have a vibration and a frequency. We actually have many, because each body part has a different vibration and frequency. Each stone vibrates at a very specific frequency.'
'When we come into contact with something that has a similar vibration to us but a higher frequency, it helps to take our own frequency higher – we realign with the frequency of the stone. And when we’re at a higher frequency, we feel in better health, we have more energy and we experience more flow,' she adds.
'So, when we’re out of alignment and our frequency is lower, we can rebuild our own health and our feelings of wellness by spending time within a frequency that is higher. It’s like a chemical reaction – our frequency rises to align with the frequency of the stone.’
Crystal healing guide
If you fancy trying crystal healing out for size, is it enough to simply pop a gem stone in your pocket and go about your daily life? Not necessarily, according to Carlton.
‘If you learn to trust that the crystals are working for you, then yes, you can carry them around and know that the frequency is doing its work,’ she says. ‘But generally speaking, you can’t connect with stones just by shoving one in your handbag and not connecting with what comes up at all.’
To get the best from your crystals, Carlton recommends the following:
💎 Go into a shop to physically see the crystals, and purchase one that you feel drawn to. Don’t read about the stone at all – just hold that stone in your left hand quietly for five minutes a day – you can set a timer, it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.
💎 Then afterwards, write down exactly what was going through your mind. Do that every day for two weeks, and then go back and read what kept coming up – you’ll notice there’s always a link. Then you can read about your stone.
💎 You’ll see very much that the vibration of the stone you were working with was bringing up the work that the properties hold. Once you start to build that relationship and have that level of trust, that’s how you can grow your understanding.
How to use healing crystals for anxiety
Carlton argues that, if used correctly, stones can help ease stress and anxiety. ‘One very common wellness belief is that stress and anxiety are very big side-effects of being ungrounded,’ she says.
‘So, to combat stress and anxiety, you need to come back into the self. First, we look at the root chakra, which is to do with existence – I am; I exist; I’m safe. It’s about bringing that root back into balance. Working with grounding stones to create that sense of balance tends to calm the mind quite a lot.’
Carlton suggests that smokey quartz, red jasper, agate, black tourmaline, shungite and haematite are all good options to meditate with, to help alleviate anxiety. ‘I love smokey quartz for grounding, because it’s really gentle,’ she says.
Along with other crystals practitioners, Carlton believes that connecting with the stone (in the way described above) can help to raise your frequency and in turn ground you more fully, thereby easing sensations of stress and anxiety.
‘But remember that you’re working with subtle bodies, so you might not notice that you feel less anxious – it might just be that your heart palpitations lessen,’ she says. ‘And it’s not to say that you’ll never get stressed because you’re walking around with black tourmaline. But it might be that you have an awful conversation with your boss and you don’t spiral. You know, define stress: are you going to be wrapped in a bubble full of light? No! Let’s be realistic, it’s not magical.’
Crystal healing: fact or fiction?
Harnessing the mystical power of crystals to ease anxiety certainly sounds plausible, but is there any proof that it actually works?
Despite its growing popularity, there are, as yet, no peer-reviewed scientific studies to validate crystals’ healing properties. Reports that they work tend to be anecdotal, and crystal healing does not have medical or scientific backing, meaning it is labelled a pseudoscience.
So, how can you explain the fact that so many people still believe that they work? The most common – and most widely accepted – scientific theory is that of the placebo effect. Indeed, in a research study published in 2001, Professor Christopher French, Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, found that when 80 study participants were given either a real or fake crystal to meditate with, all reported effects from the crystal – even those that were fake. What’s more, participants who were primed to believe that the crystal would make a difference noticed stronger effects.
How do crystals work?
So is the growing popularity of crystal healing simply a question of the power of the mind, rather than the power of the crystal?
‘One of the things I come up against a lot is, “There’s no proof”; “It’s not science”; “You don’t really believe all that rubbish, do you?”; and “It’s a placebo effect”,’ says Carlton.
‘But if you want to go down the road of the placebo effect – it’s still an effect. The placebo effect is a real phenomenon, where scientists have proven physiological and chemical responses and reactions to certain stimuli that cause bodily change and healing. So that’s the first thing I always say – even if it’s a placebo effect, it still works.’
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