They’re pretty, and they’re popular. But what’s the science behind healing crystals? We investigate
By Diane Small
We recently covered so-called ‘spiritual jewellery’ in Eluxe. That article focused on brands that claim to infuse their work with spiritual meaning, and even spiritual energy. But it’s not just jewellers who aim to harness the power of crystals; beauty brands do it, too. So why is that?
Crystals have been the stuff of legends for many centuries. These range from pink gemstones that can apparently heal the heart to the famous gypsy’s ‘crystal ball’ that can foresee the future. Crystals do have some serious scientific and technological uses. I mean, you’re reading this on an LCD screen (LCD = liquid crystal display), on a device that’s powered by a silicon chip (derived from silicate crystals), for example.
And before you had your phone, you probably had a quartz watch. Those use crystal energy to help keep the time regular. But by using these devices, you’re also surrounding yourself with other frequencies, from electromagnetic and radio wave radiation. These, of course, are invisible. But we know they power your phones and laptops.
So, the question is: what’s the science behind healing crystals? Can they actually help us heal, or are they limited to technological aspects? In short, do healing crystals actually work?
The Science Behind Healing Crystals
Beliefs in crystals throughout history
Crystals are millions of years old, forged during the earliest parts of earth’s formation. Before their technological uses were discovered, common crystal types were used to assist healing and enhance physical, emotional and spiritual balance for millennia.
It seems that our ancestors must have somehow understood that crystal energies could interact with the human electromagnetic field to bring about subtle energetic changes.
For example, royals have adorned themselves with crystals in their crowns, thrones and swords. Perhaps they noticed that the placement of crystals on a crown could activate the crown chakra. A pendant necklace would work with the heart chakra, while rings would activate energy meridians. Earrings could stimulate reflex points.
The Ancient Egyptians used crystals for protection and health, and buried the dead with a piece of quartz on their forehead to help guide them to the afterlife. Dancers wore rubies in their bellybuttons to enhance their sexuality, and a necklace over the heart was intended to bring love into one’s life. Interestingly, some Pharaohs carried a copper and zinc cylinder filled with quartz to balance the Ka and Ba (like yin and yang) energies of the body.
In India, the 5000 year old Hindu Vedas discuss the use of different crystals to treat certain medical ailments in detail, as well as the various specific properties of different crystals. Ayurvedic medicine has also recognized the healing powers of crystals for many, many years.
Crystal’s solid energy
Physicists know that everything on the planet is in a state of breaking down. That’s true whether it’s animal, mineral or vegetable. But crystals have one of the most orderly structures that exist in nature, and thus one of the slowest rates of entropy (a measurement for disorder). Crystals are structured in a manner that allows them to respond to the inputs of all different energies around them. This in turn leads them to oscillate and emit specific vibratory frequencies.
Due to the fact that the crystal lattice is so orderly, the energy it emits is consistent. When dissonant energy is inputted, it is balanced and transformed into a harmonic energy.
For these reasons, modern technologies use crystals. Every computer and mobile phone processor uses them, and display screens on your devices are made up of liquid crystals, too.
Rubies were an important part of the first ever laser developed by Bell Laboratories in the 1960s. They’re still used today for their abilities to focus and concentrate energy.
Quartz is used in watches and clocks to help them tell time. The crystal helps stabilise and regulate the flow of energy. Quartz has other uses, too. For example, in computing, it can be used to store data for thousands and thousands of years! And to make battery-free radio receivers, galena and pyrite can be used.
And the list of technological uses for crystals could go on.
Feelings and frequencies
Today, some believe that the energy of healing crystals works closely with your body. For example, when you are in a state of disharmony, whether through negative thoughts or an illness, your biomagnetic sheath (a.k.a. aura) is altered. Crystals have their own specific vibration and frequency that connects to different parts of our body and the chakras.
Energy healers believe they can use a crystal’s energy to vibrate it with the specific point of focus. They can then restore balance and harmony. And there may be something to that.
Nikola Tesla said energy, frequency and vibrations could help us understand the universe itself. Crystals have been shown to oscillate at their own frequencies, and even respond to the input of other vibrations.
The cells in the human body also vibrate at certain frequencies. The same is true for the different chakras of the body (i.e. the different centers of human energy). So when we come into contact with a crystal, it’s believed that its vibration interacts with the vibration of the cells in our body.
According to the Book of Stones:
“When we bring a crystal into our electromagnetic field, two things occur. The electromagnetic frequencies carried by the stone will vibrate with related frequencies in our own energy field through the physical law of resonance, creating a third larger vibration field. The nervous system is attuned to these shifts in energy and transmits this information to the brain. Here, the frequencies stimulate biochemical shifts that affect the physical body and shift brain function.”
Marcel Vogel and crystal science
Marcel Vogel, a research scientist who worked for IBM San Jose Research Center, would agree. He was a prolific researcher who truly believed in the science behind healing crystals. In his lifetime, he attained 32 patents for his inventions, including a magnetic coating for 24″ hard drives, phosphor technology and liquid crystal systems.
After 27 years, Vogel left IBM in order to carry out more scientific research on the properties of quartz on health and other areas. In collaboration with Chicago University’s Dr Peter Pringsheim, Marcel Vogel published Luminescence in Liquids and Solids and Their Practical Application. He then went on to develop what is now known as the Vogel-shaped crystal.
He discovered that a certain geometric structure caused the flow and accumulation of health-promoting life-force energy in the form of negative ions. That same geometric structure is found naturally all over the world and is, perhaps, most notably associated with the shape of the pyramids. This, of course, ties in with the field of sacred geometry which is beyond the scope of this article. Vogel also discovered that when crystals are cut in the Vogel shape, their power is measurably amplified.
Vogel’s research into the incredible power of such geometric shapes has been corroborated by many others, such as Dan A. Davidson, who carried out over 35 years’ worth of research on shape power and ether physics and who came to similar, if not identical, conclusions. This research was documented in his book, Shape Power.
The science behind healing crystals
Ok, so that proves that crystals have energies and negative ions. But….is there any other science behind healing crystals that proves they can heal us? The short answer is: maybe.
We can certainly measure the vibrational frequencies of a crystal with an oscillator, and the human body’s energy can also be improved by holding certain crystals.
At Stanford University in the 1980s, researchers sent crystal pendants into 5 quantum energy generators to be charged with tachyon energy. People who later wore those pendants or held them found their bodies generated much higher energy levels than they did without them. In fact, 50 -100 MV is the norm for most people, but for qi gong healers, for example, their voltage can be up to 250 MV.
Whilst some believe these frequencies can be healing, it’s very difficult to empirically measure. These increased frequencies could be from crystals, or mediation or positive emotions. And they do actually do have healing abilities in anecdotal studies. After all, the subtle energies of crystal vibrations is what puts the “meta” in metaphysical. The thing is, hard science hasn’t figured out how to measure this yet. And what hard science can’t measure, it doesn’t believe in.
So – do healing crystals actually work?
That being said, I did find one study that suggests one of kind science behind healing crystals could be the placebo effect. Placebo effects are those which accompany a treatment, but aren’t directly due to the treatment itself. That’s according to Christopher French, head of the anomalistic psychology research unit at the University of London.
In other words, a person may feel better after undergoing crystal healing treatment, but there’s no scientific proof that this has anything to do with the crystals used during the treatment. In 2001, French and his colleagues at Goldsmiths College presented a paper at the British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference in Glasgow. There, they outlined their study of the efficacy of crystal healing.
The most important study we know of
For the study, 80 participants were asked to meditate for five minutes while holding either a real quartz crystal or a fake one that they believed was real. Before meditating, half of the participants were primed to notice any effects that the crystals might have on them, like tingling in the body.
After meditating, participants answered questions about whether they felt any effects from the crystal healing session. The researchers found that the effects reported by those who held fake crystals while meditating were no different than the effects reported by those who held real crystals during the study.
Many participants in both groups reported feeling a warm sensation in the hand holding the crystal or fake crystal. They also felt an increased feeling of overall well being. Those who had been primed to feel these effects reported stronger effects than those who had not been primed. However, the strength of these effects didn’t correlate with whether the person was holding a real crystal or a fake. Those who believed in the power of crystals were twice as likely as non-believers to report feelings from the crystal.
Is modern medicine any better?
But before you go rolling your eyes and saying the power of crystals is all in our heads, know this. Even when a doctor prescribed pharmaceutical drug is said to ‘work’, a recent study shows that up to half of its impact on a patient may be due to one aspect of the placebo effect, too. That is to say, the positive message that a doctor provides when prescribing the treatment.
To illustrate, when 66 people suffering from migraines were given either a placebo or a common migraine drug called Maxalt, some were told they were taking a drug recommended by a doctor. Others were told the pill could be either Maxalt or a placebo.
The pain-relieving benefits of the migraine drug increased when patients were told they were taking an effective drug for their condition. And when the identities of Maxalt tablets and placebo pills were switched, patients reported similar pain relief from placebo pills labeled as Maxalt as from Maxalt tablets labeled as a placebo, according to the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The placebo effect is real
This study is far from unique: 21 to 40 percent of patients respond to placebos with positive effects. For example, in pain studies using brain imaging, the administration of a placebo to patients who believed they were receiving a painkiller led to the actual activation of the endogenous opioid system in the brain, which releases natural pain-relieving chemicals produced in the body.
It has also been shown that the placebo response in patients with post-operative pain could be blocked by the opiate antagonist naloxone, further lending support to the placebo effect. Dopamine, another central nervous system neurotransmitter, has even been shown to be directly activated in the brain after placebo administration to patients with Parkinson’s disease.
So, do healing crystals actually work?
Well, there are certainly many forms of physical and medical treatments that have no therapeutic impact apart from the placebo effect. What this proves is that how we react to modern medicine relies on our belief in it. (This is not always the case. Certainly some drugs, such as antibiotics, have a demonstrative effect proven to save lives.)
The same is somewhat true for crystal healing. A strong belief in crystals can indeed bring about some small changes in physiology. People report feeling lighter, happier, and more energised. But unlike modern medicine, crystals have no proven track record, as far as I could find, for curing disease.
Crystals certainly do give off vibrational energies. But other energies around us, such as electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and radio waves (RFI) are so much stronger, they could well interfere with any effects of crystals.
Whilst a strong belief in crystals can possibly work in concert with the brain to create some kind of psychosomatic healing effect, if you’re suffering from a serious medical issue, you should seek professional treatment.
But if you like wearing crystals, believe they have an impact on your well being and feel good wearing them – well, power to you!
References used for this article
What are your thoughts on the science behind healing crystals? Do healing crystals work for you? Let us know in the comments below!