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How Do Crystals Work (Or Do They?)

Despite gaining mainstream popularity in recent years in the West, healing crystals have been used by many cultures around the world in their rituals and healing practices. The use of crystals dates back almost 7,000 years, originating from the Middle East, India, and even Native America. 

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These colorful minerals were said to contain unique properties and energies that could help people ward off evil, attract good fortune, and improve their physical and mental well-being.  

However, despite their long history, there’s still widespread skepticism from the medical community, which labels the use of crystals as a form of pseudoscience.  

Although not many scientific experiments and research have been carried out on proving the effectiveness of crystals, those who believe in them swear by healing crystals and their benefits. 

Let’s explore how crystals work and see if there’s any scientific reasoning behind them. 

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Fundamental Theory Behind Crystals 

white crystal

There is no denying that healing crystals were recognized by ancient civilizations as having some form of power or energy. Ancient Egyptians and Sumerians believed that wearing crystals, either as jewelry or embedded into their garments, would help ward off evil and deliver good fortune. 

Regardless of the passage of time, the theory behind crystals remains the same. They’re seen as objects acting as channels for repelling, or drawing out negative energies and allowing positive energy to pass through. 

As such, the concept of healing crystals seems to have some form of correlation with other concepts such as Chi (or Qi) and Chakras. These concepts are also regarded as forms of pseudoscience by the scientific community, where no scientific experiments or research have been exacted. 

Crystals, more specifically quartz, are used in modern electronics as oscillators. Such crystals are said to contain Piezoelectric properties which help generate and maintain electrical signals or radio frequencies. 

Although it’s difficult to prove, it’s obvious that crystals play a significant role in the transmission or generation of energies and frequency.  

Because of their molecular structure, they tend to exhibit different colors, shapes, and electromechanical properties and, despite modern research not being able to find any differences between crystals, the community believes that different crystals possess different properties. For example, Amethysts are said to alleviate anxiety, while Clear Quartz tends to aid with migraines and motion sickness.  

This brings us to the question – do crystals work or is it just a placebo? 

Do Crystals Actually Work? 

crystals woods and twigs

Medical experts tend to disagree with the effectiveness of crystals, and that’s perfectly understandable since there’s not enough evidence to conclude the existence of these different life energies surrounding the human body. 

That said, modern science is still a long way off from completely exploring and understanding extensive topics such as the nature of these minerals and the complexities of the human body. 

Despite all this, the only way that we can know for sure about the power of crystals is through scientific methods. Without proper scientific evidence, we can only chalk it up to faith and individual experience. 

So, let’s talk about the “science” behind healing crystals and the resulting conclusions made by the scientific community. 

1. The Lack of Scientific Experiments 

According to Peter Haney, a Professor at the Department of Geosciences of Penn State University, there has never been any NSF (National Science Foundation) supported studies that prove the healing properties of crystals.  

So as of right now, we can’t say for certain that crystals have healing properties. On top of that, we can’t quantify the healing properties of different crystals or identify these supposed properties based on the different physical and chemical characteristics.   

However, despite the skepticism of the scientific community, healing crystals are still used by many people across the world as alternative forms of medicine and spiritual wellness practices, and most of these people claim that crystals are indeed effective and have improved their lives for the better. 

There’s no denying that concepts of healing crystals, life force, and chakras tend to have a positive influence and the only possible explanation for their success can be attributed to the “Placebo Effect.”  

2. The Placebo Effect 

placebo crystal

If you didn’t know already, the placebo effect occurs when a patient’s physical or mental condition improves after taking/undergoing a “dummy” medicine or procedure.  

As such, this treatment doesn’t directly improve their condition. Instead, it is the patient’s belief in the drug or procedure that actually improves their condition. 

Common placebos include inactive drugs and injections such as sugar pills, and saline, which are often prescribed by a doctor to calm the patient and help the placebo effect to take over. The placebo effect demonstrates the power of the mind in regard to well-being.  

3. The Effectiveness of Healing Crystals as a Placebo 

A 2001 study carried out by Christopher French, an Emeritus Professor in the psychology department of the University of London, laid the grounds for the placebo effect of healing crystals.

In this study, people were told to meditate while holding a Quartz crystal in their hand. Some were given real crystals, while others were given fake stones. On top of that, a control group was instructed to note any significant physical sensations (such as a tingling in the body or feeling an unusual amount of warmth from the crystal) before conducting the meditation session.  

After the meditation sessions were concluded, a questionnaire was given to the participants, who were asked to note down what they felt during the session, and if they felt like they had gained any significant benefit from their experience with the crystals. 

According to the results, the number of participants who admitted to feeling these sensations was twice as many compared to the number of participants who were only questioned about these sensations after the session. There was no direct evidence concluding that the real crystals had any noticeable differences. 

The researchers concluded that the placebo effect was, in fact, responsible for the effectiveness of these crystals. Regardless of whether they were real or fake, it was the belief in the crystals that eventually affected the participants for the better. 

Should You Get Started with Healing Crystals? 

stone crystal

From what we’ve gathered so far, it’s clear that the crystals have no scientific basis for acting as a conduit for positive energies while repelling or drawing out negative life forces. 

However, our current understanding of the human body and mineralogy has a long way to go. So, we can’t disregard the effectiveness of healing crystals just yet. These healing crystals could be a complete placebo, or they could be a combination of the placebo and life energy. 

Whatever the case, it’s up to you whether or not to put your faith in healing crystals. After all, despite the lack of evidence, individual results speak for themselves. 

Wrapping Up 

Healing crystals are said to improve a person’s physical and mental faculties by being able to repel negative energies from a person’s body or atmosphere and bring in more positive energies.  

So far, the only scientific explanation for the success of healing crystals can be attributed to the placebo effect. As such, the potency of these crystals depends on the individual and their beliefs.  

Affiliate Disclosures
Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.