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Mind & Body

Do crystals really work?

Everyone from A-listers to wellbeing Instagram gurus are turning to the healing benefits of crystals, but is there any science behind the stones? APRIL LONG investigates

Beauty

Crystals have been cherished by humans for millennia, with certain semi-precious stones believed to possess healing powers by everyone from the Aztecs to Ayurvedic doctors. Now, the rock resurgence is ubiquitous: Adele has revealed that she holds crystals in her palms while performing on stage, while Miranda Kerr, who filters the products in her Kora Organics skincare line through rose quartz, also stashes a small heart-shaped crystal in her bra. The Manhattan studio of celebrity-favorite trainer Taryn Toomey is equipped with a layer of tourmaline, hematite and pyrite under the floorboards. Jade facial rollers are an Instagram sensation, you can sip from gemstone-infused water bottles, and crystal shower heads can be installed in your home. “People are getting more attuned with themselves and the subtle energies around them,” explains spiritual healer Holly Star, Miranda Kerr’s go-to crystal guru. “We all want to effect change, and crystals are tools that can help us.”

Do crystals have healing powers?

While no legitimate studies have been conducted to back up the claims that crystals emit vibrations that affect our minds and bodies, some stones can conduct energy. In 1880, French physicist Pierre Curie (Marie Curie’s husband) discovered that putting pressure on various crystals – including quartz, topaz and tourmaline – created electricity. This phenomenon, called the Piezoelectric effect, is why crystals are used as essential elements in computers, TV screens, iPhones and satellites. Limited studies have indicated that crystals can increase the alkalinity of water – so the makers of Glacce water bottles, which expose H2O to stones such as obsidian and rose quartz, might be on to something. There is also science to support the benefits of using crystals in skincare beyond the finely milled quartz often found in exfoliators. Magnetized tourmaline, for example – a key ingredient in La Mer The Cleansing Foam – energizes skin to improve cleansing efficacy and boost circulation. The crystal is also used in Nurse Jamie Uplift Massage Beauty Roller, where 24 tourmaline stones help to mimic an energizing massage.

How to use your crystals

There are countless ways we can incorporate crystals into our daily lives. While Star suggests bathing with pink halite “to heal the heart”, or sleeping with selenite “to clarify an issue in dreamtime”, many people – and an increasing number of businesses – are taking things further. They are hiring design firms such as The Cristalline, the company that bejeweled both Toomey’s floors in her studio and the interior of New York natural-beauty mecca CAP, to infuse their spaces with crystal energy. “Having crystals around is a way to connect back to nature, which is grounding,” says Cristalline co-founder Rashia Bell. “And even if you don’t understand the energy, but you look at it and it makes you feel good, that’s enough – it’s having the desired effect.”

Indeed, when it comes to crystal healing, the power of these minerals may be more in our minds than anything else. Just taking a moment to focus on them can make us more mindful, or provide a moment of peace, which might be even more precious than the stones themselves. The top treatment at Manhattan’s Modrn Sanctuary – a luxury wellness center that also offers crystal facials, massages and salt-room therapy – is a 30-60-minute session lying on a vibrating bed under seven large crystals, through which various colored lights are directed at the body. “No matter what, everyone comes out and says: ‘I feel so calm and clear-minded,’” claims owner Alexandra Janelli. “They’ve described it as the deepest meditation they’ve ever done. It’s almost like mental reset. And whether that’s a placebo effect or not, it’s amazing.”

Esthetician Marie Reynolds uses crystals daily, wearing a selection tucked in her bra, as she believes that they need to be in contact with the skin to deliver the most benefits from their energetic vibrations, not tucked away in your purse. “If you need a boost, just sitting holding a crystal in your hand for 20 minutes can help,” she says. “You can also add them to your bath to get the same positive ‘re-charge’.”

Are crystals good for your skin?

Whether crystals have an effect on your skin’s energy is still to be decided, but there is no denying that even the most rudimentary skincare regimen can benefit from the introduction of crystals for massage purposes. When it comes to using crystals at home in your skincare routine, esthetician Angela Caglia likes to incorporate two rose-quartz rollers in her facials. “I prefer to use two rose-quartz rollers on my clients in unison because they feel like two hands,” she says. “For the facial-like experience, I recommend my customers use two at once for the full effect. Plus, rose quartz stays cold, so it’s excellent for de-puffing. It’s almost a cryo-crystal-like experience.”

Katie Brindle, a Chinese-medicine practitioner and founder of Hayo’u gua-sha tools, is also all for using rose quartz to care for skin. “It has a hexagonally stacked structure, which means it retains heat and cold really effectively, helping active [ingredients] better penetrate your skin.”

How to care for your crystals

For the dedicated, when you first get your crystals, it is recommended that you cleanse them of any previous energies they may have picked up. This involves holding them under running water before leaving them – ideally outside – overnight when there is a full moon. “Crystals absorb negative energies,” says Reynolds. “So they do need to be regularly cleaned to remove these. However, washing them under running water or soaking them for a time in salt water is enough.”

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