There’s no question that crystals can store and transmit energy—in fact, thanks to those very properties, crystals are essential components of many pieces of technology, from watches to cell phones to satellites. And for centuries, people have channeled the energetic properties of crystals into healing rituals. According to the book Gem and Stone: Jewels of Earth, Sea, and Sky, by Jennifer Altman, ancient Greek soldiers used hematite to ward off injuries when entering into battle, and Romans believed that amethyst promoted marital fidelity. Ayurvedic medicine has long appreciated crystal healing; for instance, the documented properties of cat’s eye—a kind of stone identifiable by the bright band of light running through the center—include stimulating digestion, improving circulation, enhancing spiritual perception, and boosting immunity.

In the late 70s and early 80s, the New Age movement in the United States brought increased attention to crystals. And in recent years, a whole new generation has sought out crystals. Collen McCann, a certified shamanic energy medicine practitioner, sees crystal healing as the point where science and mysticism intersect. “Crystals are millions of years old and were forged during the earliest part of the earth’s formation,” writes McCann in an article for Goop. She believes that these ancient stones retain information from the time of their creation on and transmit to those who come in contact with them. She also emphasizes the importance of crystal’s unique molecular structure, which causes them to emit specific vibratory frequencies in response to the energy inputs surrounding them.

3 Different Approaches to Healing with Crystals 

More people than ever before are now curious about healing crystals and their meanings. “These gems have thousands—sometimes millions—of years of the Earth’s history stored within them that you can harness to tap into your most magnificent self,” says Heather Askinosie, who has studied the scientific and spiritual aspects of energy, and the power of crystals in particular, for over 26 years. Askinosie seeks to translate the knowledge she’s accrued into simple tools that can be used in everyday life. “Like with any healing practice,” she notes, “a crystal routine that works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.”

Shamanic practitioner Julie Ann Travis also helps people find the best ways to incorporate healing stones into their lives. Travis, who follows an ancient Taoist interpretation of stone medicine, views crystal healing as a means of “discovering my true nature again and again, and supporting others to do the same.” One method for doing so: “I place the crystals on the acupuncture points—it’s the perfect modality for those who are not fans of needles,” she says.

Sirena Bernal, a Reiki master who has also studied tantra and energetic practices, likes to incorporate crystals into Reiki healing sessions. “I use crystals to help amplify the healing, and to identify where there are energy blocks or too much energy,” Bernal says. “By using a pendulum, which is a conical shaped crystal attached by a chain, I can detect any energy imbalances. Using this assessment, I can then tailor the session to help bring healing to that area.”

Try Crystal Healing for Yourself

One way to try crystal healing for yourself is to schedule a session with a professional healer like Askinosie, Travis, or Bernal. During a session, which can range in length from minutes to hours, the practitioner will place crystals on different energy points (or chakras) on your body. Another way to engage with crystal healing is to build your own collection of healing crystals. Depending on your intentions, you might want to carry the crystals with you, place them around your home, hold them in your hands while meditating, make crystal water, or some combination of those.

Each kind of crystal has specific properties. Krista Mitchell, author of the book Change Your Energy: Healing Crystals for Health, Wealth, Love & Luck, offers the following primer on six of her personal favorites:

  • Citrine: this rich, yellow-hued crystal helps increase your optimism, creativity, energy, and prosperity. It also boosts digestion and the immune system.
  • Rose quartz: these gorgeous pink crystals might be the most popular type! Rose quartz nurtures, soothes, and promotes self-love. It can help heal the heart and attract more love into your life.
  • Smoky quartz: this grey, translucent crystal helps absorb and dissolve stress. It has a strong grounding effect and can help you feel more centered and present as you move through your life.
  • Black tourmaline: this striking stone can ward off stress and negativity. It can also neutralize the adverse effects of the many kinds of technology embedded into our lives.
  • Amethyst: what Mitchell calls “an epic crystal multitasker,” amethyst heightens your intuition and mitigates feelings of anxiety, stress, and anger. This purple-hued crystal can protect against bullying and envious impulses, and help break bad habits and thought patterns. It is also believed to support sobriety.
  • Green aventurine: this crystal can help bring you back into balance. It’s especially good for counteracting feelings of unworthiness and increasing feelings of vitality and abundance.

When purchasing crystals, it’s essential to ensure that they were ethically sourced. Remember, the idea is to absorb the energy they contain! There’s currently no governing body or agency that tracks ethical practices for crystal sourcing, so you’ll have to do some research on your own. Look for stores and websites that sell hand-mined stones, a process that’s less damaging to the environment than mining with explosives. You’ll also want to make sure your crystals come from a conflict-free zone.

One last consideration: some experts feel strongly that you should select your crystals in person, so you can see which stones you’re drawn most strongly to.