Can crystals, minerals and gemstones really heal you?

From Cleopatra to popes, the belief in the healing power of crystals and stones has persisted for centuries, and even modern medicine has weighed in on the matter

Before dismissing it all as hocus pocus, consider how their reputation has persisted for centuries. From Cleopatra to popes, crystals and gemstones have been stitched into robes and cut into amulets for protection, or ground into powders to beautify the complexion and heal wounds and diseases.

Modern medicine has attempted to shed light on the their use. Dr Robert O. Becker, an orthopaedic surgeon and professor who has dedicated his life to researching the regenerative powers within our bodies and its electric currents, documented in his book The Body Electric, that open wounds do emit a certain electric current, and the currents’ intensity determines how quickly one person heals compared to the next. His research has also focused on the purported potential of electric fields in healing bone fractures and heart murmurs. This suggests that our bodies actually do correspond with the energy and vibration levels of crystals and mineral stones, which all possess natural energy fields and properties.

Hong Kong-born, London-based geneticist and biochemist Dr Mae Wan-Ho championed the more radical idea of holistically fusing Western and Eastern medicinal lore in her book The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms, in which she writes about how liquid crystals exist within our ligaments, muscles and tendons and are “chieftains” that connect one point to another in order to enable the body to function properly. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it borrows from the principles of acupuncture.

“Utilising stones as a practice has been done for centuries in Eastern traditions and is something that is now being incorporated into Western medicines,” says Kristin Petrovich, author of Elemental Energy and co-founder of Sjal Skincare.

The US skincare brand fuses Chinese, Tibetan, ayurvedic, homeopathic and vibrational medicines with biotechnology advances in the beauty industry to remedy skin problems. Minerals, gemstones and crystals are believed to contain electro-stimulants that give an extra boost to the concoctions.

“From our perspective this seemed very logical as they possess a higher vibrational level or frequency which we as humans naturally resonate with,” Petrovich says. “We resonate and have an electronic exchange with the Earth as we do with the gemstones and minerals.”

Taryn Toomey, former yoga instructor and founder of calisthenics and plyometrics workout The Class, which she offers in Dubai, Australia and the US, is opening a fitness studio in New York with crystal-encrusted floors and custom-made scents to create an “energetically balanced” environment.

This leads to the heart of what mineral stones are claimed to do, which is heighten your energy fields and lift low vibration levels, none of which can be seen with the naked eye, but are deemed instrumental in causing maladies from fevers to depression. If you have trouble sitting still, sound healing could be for you. Built on the foundation of gongs, sound forks and Tibetan crystal singing bowls, each session is designed to bring peace, simulating a tranquil state similar to that achieved in meditation. Followers claim it has healed sleeping disorders, psychological traumas, and anxiety.

“We can use black stones such as smoky quartz or black tourmaline to protect against negative energy,” says Petrovich. “Malachite and sugilite can act as a shield to help protect against electromagnetic frequencies.”

This is especially relevant in our hyper-connected world. So if you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, instead of a cup of coffee, consider this tip from Petrovich: “You can make gemstone elixirs to spray around your office and home. You can even place stones at work and home as well as carry them in your pocket or close to your skin.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Rocks and minerals: a healing history