Crystal Curious? A Healer Shares The Basics

These rocks really do, rock.

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It might seem easy to dismiss crystal healing as just another Hollywood health craze; celebs from Madonna to Katy Perry tout the sparkly stuff’s many healing properties. But before you write it off entirely, consider this: Humans have been using gemstones and crystals for medicinal purposes since ancient times. One frequently used crystal that also happens to be a favorite of Ms. Perry’s? Rose quartz. According the Gemological Institute of America, ancient Egyptians believed the blush-colored stone could prevent aging, and in the Middle Ages, it was frequently used in healing potions.

But if you want to try out this treatment for yourself, how do you know if crystals can help you? We talked to “Ananda” Kathryn Sutliff, a healer and massage therapist with Om Shanti Healing Arts — who touts crystal healing as one of her many specialties — to find out how to get started.

 “I started using crystals when I was about 10 years old,” says Sutliff. “Then as I got into yoga and massage and Reiki, I realized that I could use these powerful stones on my clients and in yoga, not just on myself. I’ve seen tremendous results from using crystals in my treatments. The earth has tools to heal us, and crystals are definitely one!”

How does crystal healing work?

Advocates of crystal healing believe that holding gemstones and rocks or placing them on the body in strategic ways can prompt positive, healing energy to flow into the body, while negative energy flows out. Different stones and their different energies encourage different types of healing. “Crystals are very beneficial to the body and soul,” says Sutliff. “Each crystal has a vibrational energy that can benefit different parts of the psyche, the body, and the spirit. As humans, we have a biomagnetic energy field similar to that of earth, with positive and negative charges.”

These charges, Sutliff says, can be affected by holding a crystal. “For example, just by holding a quartz crystal in your hand, your aura or electromagnetic energy field is doubled in size,” she says. “When you add the power of intention with that vibrational energy, amazing healing can happen.”

What treatments are best for someone who is new to crystal healing?

In a word? Everyone. “Every living creature is a good candidate for crystal healing,” says Sutliff. “All living beings have an electromagnetic field, from plants to animals to humans. It is great for all types of ailments, from fibromyalgia to cancer.” 

Concentration is key to maximizing the crystals’ healing power, according to Sutliff. “To start with, I would suggest a simple meditation while holding different stones to feel the energies of them,” she says. “Next, I would suggest more of a crystal energy session that incorporates breathing techniques and the use of different crystals over different parts of the body; possibly the chakras in conjunction with intention focus.” 

What are some of the most popular crystals for healing?

“I use a variety of healing crystals that correspond with each chakra [energy point],” says Sutliff. But while the number of gemstones and crystals used for healing seems almost endless, here are five of her favorites.

Sodalite. This deep blue ornamental gemstone has been called the “stone of truth.”  “Sodalite is great for the throat chakra, which is all about communication and speaking your truth,” says Sutliff.

Crystal quartz. “Clear quartz crystal is a great amplifying stone, so I use that in conjunction with another crystal to amplify the energy of the other crystal.”

Amethyst. This purple crystal is great for stress relief and emotional healing, says Sutliff.

Apache tear. Sutliff says this rock, a kind of obsidian, is what arrowheads are made of. “It’s good for grief, or healing deep sadness,” she says.

Labradorite. This black stone with opalescent fire brings mental clarity. “Labradorite is an all-chakra-opening, deep healing stone that awakens one’s own inner spirit and intuition,” says Sutliff. “It’s great for unlocking understanding and accepting past occurrences or memories.”

Are there other treatments that pair well with crystal healing?

Crystals pair well with other treatments and practices that rely on focus and inner calm, like meditation and yoga. “I use crystals in conjunction with Reiki and massage, but it is also great with fire cupping, meditation, and yoga!” says Sutliff.

Written by Aleigh Acerni
Based in Charlotte, NC, Aleigh Acerni is a writer and editor who has covered everything from green living and beauty to food and travel for Breathe, The Charlotte Observer, and Zagat, to name a few. When she's not meeting deadlines or chasing around her toddler daughter, she writes about natural and organic beauty on her blog, Indigo + Canary.