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Mind & Body

Do crystals really work?

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


Crystals have been cherished by humans for millennia. Semi-precious stones have been 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 singing 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’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 VitaJuwel water bottles, which expose H2O to stones such as aventurine and chalcedony, might be on to something. There is also some solid 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.”

Aesthetician 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 energic vibrations, not tucked away in your purse. “If you need a boost, just sitting holding a crystal in your hand for 20 minutes will help,” she says. “You can also add them to your bath to get the same positive ‘re-charge’.”

How to care for your crystals

When you first get your crystals, you need to cleanse them of any previous energies they will have picked up. For the dedicated, 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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