Therapeutic uses crystals goes way back, too. Elizabeth Trattner, a Florida-based licensed acupuncturist and integrative medicine specialist who performs crystal- and acupuncture-infused facials, says crystal healing was practiced by ancient Egyptians and during the Roman Empire. And, she adds, crystals are still used today in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
So, how does this type of therapy work? The atoms in crystals have unique vibrational motions that determine how the stones will behave in the presence of heat or light. In fact, everything in the universe—including the atoms that make up us mere mortals—vibrates in this manner, says Lyons. "When we work with particular vibrations, they have the capability of balancing and harmonizing our own energies within our body, and this helps to create well-being within our energetic field and physical body," Trattner says.
In terms of scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of crystal healing, well, there really isn’t much. “This is because current science is materialist. You need to have something physical to measure for a scientific study,” says Azalea Lee, a crystal healer based in Los Angeles and designer of the metaphysical fine jewelry line, As Above So Below. “But crystalline healing energy is metaphysical and has no physical density to measure. It is therefore incongruent with the scientific method.” But Trattner points out that there is research showing that crystals may be medically beneficial. And the belief that they work can be very powerful (just look to studies on the placebo effect).
Crystal curious? Keep reading to learn how to find the right crystals for you.
How to find the right types of crystals for you and your needs
Find an ethical source
First and foremost, Trattner advises buying from a reputable seller who stocks crystals that were mined in an environmentally friendly manner using ethical labor practices. This may require some Googling, but it's worth the effort.
Don’t choose simply based off a crystal’s description
A common mistake when it comes to choosing crystals, Lee says, is selecting them based on their description. This is because, often, the information doesn’t come from authentic experience. “Though crystals do have metaphysical properties that will lend themselves to certain situations, summarizing crystals into abbreviated sound bites of their properties does more harm than help in helping people work with them,” she says. “You are a unique individual, so how you respond to a crystal’s energy may have a different specific effect than it would for someone else.” So while crystal descriptions can be helpful to get a general understanding of a crystal, that shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.
Use your intuition
Because you intuition is supreme when it comes to choosing the right types of crystals for you, Lyons recommends choosing the crystals you feel the most drawn towards. If you’re shopping IRL, hold the crystal in your hand and notice how you feel. If there’s an energetic connection between you and the crystal that you can’t quite explain, you’ve found the one.
10 types of crystals for healing, self-love, energy clearing, and more
1. Rose quartz
If you’re working on cultivating a more profound sense of self-love, rose quartz is the stone for you. “Rose quartz radiates the frequency of pure, unconditional love. It helps to balance, calm, harmonize, and heal the body, mind, and spirit and to deepen the relationship with the self, family, community, and Earth,” Lyons says. Tumbled rose quartz crystals, she adds, are easy to use during bath rituals or self-healing meditation. Or, place a piece of raw rose quartz under your bed to improve your sleep.
2. Clear quartz
Clear quartz is known as the "master healer" because it helps align all of your chakras and energetically attune to all other crystals. "It is a highly potent, easily programmable magnifier of energy and intentions and can help you to access and manifest higher states of consciousness," Lyons says. "Use clear quartz points in self-healing rituals and crystal grids, and use clusters to amplify the energy of an environment. When placing points on your body, always point the crystal point vertically up and down your body, so as not to break the energy line."
3. Smoky quartz
Smoky quartz is known for its ability to remove negative energy. Reach for this stone when you’re stressed or your body tenses up. “Smoky quartz helps to transform dense energy while also creating a grounding and calming effect on the system,” Lyons says. “It is a stone of letting go, surrendering to the unknown, and moving forward in life.” This makes it a great companion during stressful transitions. You can also use it to facilitate a positive vibe in your home or in any shared communal setting.
4. Black tourmaline
Trattner refers to black tourmaline as “the master" when it comes to removing negativity. “Tourmalines carry a charge with a positive and negative pole,” she says, adding that finely milled tourmaline emits far infrared radiation (FIR), which has healing benefits. Some crystal proponents even place black tourmaline near their electronic devices, because it is thought to reduce the effects of electromagnetic energy on the body.
Lee adds that “black tourmaline helps to recycle energies into a balanced state, and since most people experience negative energy, black tourmaline helps to neutralize it.”
If you’re going through something big, malachite can be an excellent crystal to have on hand for energetic support. “Malachite offers protection, deep healing, and cleansing on both physical and energetic levels,” Lyons says. “This stone helps to release old traumas, wounds, and patterns stored within the cellular structure of the body, and it is a beautiful stone to work with in times of transition, heartbreak, and loss.”
Need an extra dose of love and compassion in your life? Get yourself a kunzite crystal. Lyons says kunzite helps to cleanse your aura, expand your heart, and heal old wounds from past relationships. Reach for this one if you need harmony and flow in life (and, really, don't we all right now?). “Kunzite connects you to the feminine or matriarchal side of your lineage,” Lyons says. Trattner adds that kunzite is also great for facilitating calmness and a sense of grounding—which is kind of the exact kind of support we all need right now.
If there were an ultimate starter crystal set, selenite would be included—and for a good reason. “Selenite is like liquid light,” Trattner says, adding that it's great for clearing a room’s negative energy. She recommends placing it on your windowsill along with black tourmaline and quartz crystal points to keep your space’s energy up.
Think of lepidolite as a crystal chill pill that's said to have a calming effect on the mind and body. This stone soothes and relaxes frayed emotions, an overworked mind, and a tense physical body,” Lyons says. “It can calm the central nervous system and is a wonderful stone for when you feel anxious or overwhelmed, or if you're coping with panic disorder, insomnia, or PMS.”
You know how you're supposed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others in case of an emergency? Prehnite is the crystal embodiment of that practice. Use it to care for yourself so you have the energy and capacity to support others. Lyons says it helps to “heal the healer,” and is thus often an excellent choice for parents, caretakers, and activists.
Hematite is one of the three core crystals Lee recommends everyone to have in their crystal kit and a great starter stone too if you’re just getting into working with crystals. (The other two are black tourmaline and rose quartz.) “Hematite is the ultimate grounding stone, connecting you with your physical wisdom and what it means to live in a physical world, including your relationship with money,” she says. Working diligently with hematite, or any of the core crystals she recommends “will begin the process of unraveling distortions in your energy that have been preventing you from experiencing deep happiness and fulfillment,” she says.
The takeaway on the different types of crystals
Remember that you can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing the “right” types of crystals to work with. “More important than choosing the 'right' crystal is your willingness and dedication to work with a crystal, understand its true energies, and work with it with consistence and presence,” Lee says.
In other words, crystals are wonderful healing companions, but they’re not going to magically do the work for you. This is why Lee compares crystals to braces for teeth. “Over time, crystals can help you straighten things out, but you have to use them consistently, maintain good energetic hygiene, and be willing to go through some pain to get to the end result” she says. “There is a lot of work on your end, but if you're serious, the crystals will definitely help you.”
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