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COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

CRYSTAL HEALING and GEM THERAPY Using energy vibrations to heal and harmonise
Ilse Truter, Department of Pharmacy, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

rystals and gemstones have been used for thousands of years for healing, protection, decoration, physical adornment, magic and in religious ceremonies. They are said to be the most organised and stable examples of physical matter in the natural world and as such they represent the lowest state of entropy (disorder) possible.1 Examples of crystals are agate, alexandrite, amber, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, cats eye, chrysolite, citrine, coral, diamond, emerald, garnet, jade, malachite, onyx, opal, pearl, rhodonite, rose quartz, ruby, sapphire, sugilite, tigers eye, topaz, tourmaline and turquoise. Countless magical and medicinal properties have been attributed to crystals and gemstones over the centuries. For example, diamonds gave immunity to poison and revealed infidelity, amethysts protected against drunkenness, and sapphires enabled the wearer to escape from prison. 2 Crystal balls from highquality rock crystal found in the Alps were once very popular. In Europe, crystal gazing was used not only as an aid to foreseeing the future, but also as a stimulus to the mind. Musicians, authors and even politicians benefited from self-hypnosis induced by crystal gazing. For many centuries, because the origin of disease was unknown, its treatment was linked with magic and superstition.

on tuning in to the natural vibrations of a mineral from the earth, which has infused it with its energies.4 Crystals and gems are said to be an inexhaustible source of energy, as they can be used to heal, invigorate, balance or tranquillise in an all-together natural way.

Historical development
Humans have always searched for ways to beautify themselves. Carrying crystals as protective amulets or wearing them as jewellery were the simplest ways to utilise their natural potential. Evidence has been found for the use of gemstones as jewellery as early as the Palaeolithic Age.1 The first written accounts of crystal healing came from the ancient Egyptians who gave detailed recipes for using gemstones such as malachite for healing and protection.1 Religious and cultural connections Gemstones have had a place in religion for thousands of years. The Bible refers to the twelve stones set in the breastplate of the High Priest, symbolising the twelve tribes of Israel.2 In the book of Revelations twelve stones are also mentioned as the foundation stones of the wall of New Jerusalem. Though the symbolism of each stone is open to speculation, most of these stones have been used in churches in one form or another since the inception of Christianity. Precious stones adorn the tiara and mitre of the Pope and bishops as well as the shrines and icons found in Christian churches. While many of the beliefs surrounding

Definition
Crystal therapy, crystal healing or gem therapy is defined as the use of crystals, individually selected for their wavelengths, to influence the bodys energy field.3 Crystal healing is based

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gemstones are regarded in the scientifically influenced Western (and mainly Christian) thinking as perhaps primarily of historic interest, the Eastern religions have a far greater reverence for gemstones. The Chinese believed that all natural things have an animate spirit of their own. 2 Jade is, for example, the symbol of the virtues of mercy, modesty, courage, justice and wisdom. The Greeks made ornaments of plain gold until around 400 BC when a variety of gems and cameos (precious and semi-precious gemstones carved in relief on one layer with another contrasting layer as background) were used. 2 Gemstones were also widely used in the production of seals, carved dies or stamps to mark documents or objects with a sign of official origin or ownership. Magical and healing properties Although the healing properties of certain gemstones were first recorded in the early Egyptian days, it was not until Roman times that scholars such as Pliny wrote of gemstones as a form of medicine. 2 It was the ecclesiastical writers who compiled the first major treatises on healing with gems.2 The use of gemstones for healing was carried out in different ways. At times, the mere presence of the stone was thought to be sufficient to effect a cure. At other times the gem was placed on the affected body part and sometimes the stone was powdered and eaten. Successes achieved by the various applications of gemstones may not have been due to the gems directly, but to the effect of suggestion on the sufferer. Failures were then often excused by the explanation that the stone was not genuine. Crystal healing today The majority of crystals used today for healing are minerals.1 The rocks where these crystals are found are aggregates of minerals and are described as igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic, depending on how they were formed. For a mineral to qualify as a crystal, the atoms that make it up must normally be arranged in a systematic, orderly and repeating three-dimensional structure. These arrangements determine the crystals properties, including its hardness, colour and type of symmetry. Various types of crystals are used, namely natural, raw or tumbled crystals, terminations, wands or fashioned crystals (as in jewellery). Clear quartz is known as the master healer or cure all because it contains the full spectrum of visible white light a broad spectrum healing energy which clears disease from all levels. Clear quartz crystals are said to stabilise, focus and amplify the vital life-force, which heightens natural healing power and healing potential as well as stimulating personal growth and spiritual development. Imitation or synthetic crystals are not suitable for healing. Some people choose crystals intuitively, while others select crystals on the basis of therapeutic qualities. Crystals are usually purified before and after use to ensure that any residual disharmonies are removed and that the crystals are filled with positive energy. Different cleansing techniques exist depending on the specific crystal, for example some crystals can be cleaned with water, some with salt, others with smudging, sound or specialist cleaning products. When a crystal is not in use it should be wrapped in a soft cloth.

Types of treatment
Crystals are used in various ways for treatment. Many people also use crystals in combination with other healing methods. Wearing of jewellery Crystals or gems can be set in jewellery and kept close to the body. A particularly popular jewellery item for many years was, for example, the signet ring. Feng shui Feng shui, the ancient Oriental art, has nine cures, all designed to repel, dispel or dissipate stagnant or harmful energy (or chi) of these, crystals are probably the most popular. 1 Large amethyst geodes or quartz clusters are said to be effective room cleansers, while quartz obelisks are said to be potent energy enhancers that magnetise or pull positive chi towards them. Crystals are therefore often used in homes and offices to improve the quality of everyday life, and to absorb any bad vibrations that are caused by common pollutants and machinery (including computers). Electrocrystal therapy In electrocrystal therapy, the body is initially scanned with a specially adapted video camera that relays a coloured picture of the auric field onto a computer screen. 5 The therapist marks those areas where the colour of the aura is inappropriate, indicating stress or dysfunction. Electrocrystal therapy uses quartz crystals in saline solution that are enclosed in a sealed, glass electrode connected to a battery.5 Up

Conditions frequently treated


A wide range of mental and physical conditions are claimed to benefit from crystal or gem therapy.3 Table 1 gives a list of some of the healing properties that have been attributed to various gemstones over the years.

Table 1: Healing properties attributed to gemstones over the years2 Condition Circulation problems Epilepsy Headache Infertility Insomnia Muscle spasms Nervousness Pain Rheumatism Wounds Gemstones Coral, rhodochrisite Jasper Sugilite Coral Amethyst, haematite, lapis lazuli, sapphire, topaz Amazonite Sapphire, topaz, tourmaline Rock crystal, ruby, sardonyx Amber, carnelian, malachite, turquoise, magnetite Carnelian

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to five electrodes are placed against the affected area or over a chakra point. The crystals are electrically stimulated, which amplifies their natural healing vibrations until they vibrate and resonate at a desired frequency. This treatment is thought to bring the endogenous fields back to a harmonious state. Crystal cards Crystal cards, created to be worn on the body, were developed as a result of the NASA space programme. 5 Astronauts travel into space with a number of pyramid-shaped quartz crystals, electronically charged to vibrate at the frequency of the earths geomagnetic field, to combat the negative effects of spending time outside the earths magnetic field. Electronic gem therapy Electronic gem therapy blends modern technology with traditional Ayurvedic medicine by combining gemstones or crystals, coloured light and electronic amplification. 5 Depending on the condition, patients either require cooling gems such as emerald, topaz or carnelian, or warming gems such as ruby, chrysoberyl or citrine. 5 During treatment the gemstone is electronically vibrated at a frequency set for a specific condition. The energy from the gemstone is focused via special coloured lamps called gem transducers onto the part of the body requiring treatment. It is believed the treatment provides additional energy needed to bring about self-healing. The seven chakras are assigned different gemstones corresponding to their vibratory rates. Gem essences Gem essences are bottled essences of gemstones that are made by immersing the stones in pure water and leaving them in natural sunlight. 1 The suns energy percolates through the stones into the water taking the gems vibrations with it (transferring their vibratory signature into the water). It is believed that they are more effective when taken in a relaxed state and at least half an hour before or after eating. Normally seven drops are taken three times a day under the tongue, but it can also be dissolved and sipped slowly, placed on a meridian, added to bathwater or massage oil, or sprayed around the body. Meditating with a crystal Crystals of the quartz family, such as clear quartz, amethyst and rose quartz, are the crystals used most frequently in healing. Amethyst is the stone of meditation, creating a state of enhanced spirituality and contentment. Clear quartz represents the clarity of mind that people hope to achieve through meditation. Maintaining a focus on a crystal helps quiet thoughts during meditation. The crystal is held or placed in front of the person on the floor or on a small table. Some people use three similar crystals and position them in an equilateral triangle, forming a charged energy field in which to sit. Chakra cleansing and revitalisation In crystal bodywork, people place crystals on the chakras as they meditate. Illnesses are treated with certain gems and crystals by laying them on or around the body or even on the meridian points of the body. In a previous article on colour therapy, the seven main chakras were identified. 6 It is said that the chakras control the organs and glands of the body and each of the seven main chakras relate to a specific area of the body. The flow of energy between the chakras can affect physical health as well as emotional feelings of wellbeing. When the chakras are clear and vitalised, each resembling a whirling centre of energy, the body is at its healthiest. However, when one of the chakras is not in harmony or a blockage occurs, this will hinder the flow of energy. It is thought that the positive vibration of gemstones can harmonise the chakras and allow the energy to flow freely. Different stones are thought to be more effective with each chakra, usually associated with the colour of the stones (see Table 2). Some stones, such as rock crystal, diamonds and sugilite, are considered to be helpful in clearing blockages in all the chakras. The method that is used to clean or revitalise the chakras is to lie down and place a suitable stone on each chakra and relax in this way for about 10 minutes. It is best to treat all seven chakras at the same time, but if a crystal is used start with the root chakra and move the crystal up the body, allowing about three minutes on each chakra. When placed on each chakra the point of the crystal should be upwards, pointing towards the crown chakra.

Precautions and adverse effects


There are no known safety concerns.3

Gemstone Links
Other related applications of crystal or gem therapy are summarised below. Signs of the Zodiac Astrology is based on the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects. It is believed that there is a relationship between each planet and each sign of the zodiac and every person and every object (including gemstones) on the earth. It is thus thought by many that the influence of the planets over human fortunes is enhanced by wearing the gem appropriate to the planet or zodiac sign concerned. For example2: Taurus (20 April to 20 May): Sapphire If on your hand this stone you bind, you in Taurus born will find twill cure diseases of the mind the sapphire. Birthstones Certain gemstones are associated with particular months of the year and considered lucky to people born in those months. Some people attribute the origin of the tradition of birthstones to

The Seven Chakras


Crown Chakra Brow Chakra Throat Chakra Heart Chakra Solar Plexus Chakra Sacral Chakra Base Chakra

Adapted from http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/therapy/ Colour_Therapy

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the 12-jewelled breastplate of Aaron, the brother of Moses. 2 The first record of wearing stones of the month was in Poland in the 18 th century when they were worn to keep illness away. 2 The varied interpretations of the identity of the original 12 stones and substitutions by different cultures and races over the centuries have resulted in a number of versions of the stones assigned to each month. As an example2: Month: May Ancient: Agate Modern: Emerald (love, success) Days-of-the-week gems For example, the gem for Sunday is sunstone, for Tuesday is the star sapphire, and for Friday is alexandrite.2 Wedding anniversary gems The traditional articles for wedding anniversaries go back many years, and it is considered proper to present the married couple with gifts made of these or related products on these anniversaries, for example2: 12th anniversary Agate 15th anniversary Rock Crystal 40th anniversary Ruby 45th anniversary Alexandrite, Sapphire 55th anniversary Emerald 60th anniversary Diamond (yellow)

Table 2: Crystals, gemstones and chakras2,4 Nr Chakra Colour Red Orange Yellow Green and pink Light blue Dark blue Stones used Garnets, rubies, agate, bloodstone, tigers eye, hematite Carnelian, moonstone, tigers eye, citrine Citrine, yellow topaz, amber, rose quartz, aventurine quartz, malachite Emeralds, green and pink tourmaline, rhodochrosite, jade, aventurine quartz, rose quartz Chalcedony, blue topaz, aquamarine, lapis lazuli, turquoise, celestite Lapis lazuli, amethyst, fluorite, sodalite

1 Root 2 Sacral 3 Solar plexus 4 Heart 5 Throat 6 Forehead or brow (third eye) 7 Crown

Violet, white Amethyst, celestite, jade, rock crystal (clear quartz) and gold

A gemstone: Sapphire2,7
A transparent, rich blue form of corundum, the blue colour caused by the presence of ferric iron or titanium. It is a jewel of truth, beauty, clarity and wisdom.7

today that in many cases the mind does play a vital role in the ability of the body to recover from illness the healing power of positive thought is accepted by both traditional and alternative medical practitioners. The belief in the powers of a certain therapy, therefore, could indeed contribute to the cure of the illness. If the virtues attributed to each crystal or gemstone are considered, it may be concluded that any stone can cure any disease. It appears, however, that in many cases of duplicate healing powers, either the colour or the constitution of the stone has indicated its appropriateness for a particular disease and that most of this has evolved over many centuries. The fact that crystal therapy has survived over so many centuries, is practised in so many countries, and that there is a renewed interest in it, makes one wonder whether it only has a placebo effect.
REFERENCES 1. Raven H. 2005. Heal Yourself with Crystals: Crystal Medicine for Body, Emotions and Spirit . London: Godsfield Press. 2. The Magic of Crystals and Gemstones . 1996. 2nd Edition. Simons Town: Topstones (Pty) Ltd. 3. The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach. 2001. Edited by Ernst E, Pittler MH, Stevinson C & White A. London: Mosby. 4. Fontaine KL & Kaszubski B. 2004. Absolute Beginners Guide to Alternative Medicine . Indianapolis: Que Publishing. 5. Mattheus E. 2004. The Informed Choice: The AZ Guide to the Natural Treatment of Body, Mind & Spirit. Rondebosch: Kima Global Publishers. 6. Truter I. 2006. Colour Therapy Using the energy of light in controlled doses to affect healing. South African Pharmaceutical Journal incorporating Pharmacy Management, 73 (4): 5658. 7. Holbeche S. 1989. The Power of Gems and Crystals. London: Piatkus.

Gems of countries The diamond is the gem linked to South Africa (also to Holland), the rock crystal is linked to Switzerland, and the sapphire to the United States.2 Dreams Gemstones are also frequently mentioned in the interpretation of dreams. The following are some examples of interpretations that are given to gemstones that appear in dreams2: Agate a journey Aquamarine new friends Coral recovery from illness Diamond victory over enemies Emerald much to look forward to Moonstone impending danger Onyx a happy marriage Pearl faithful friends Sapphire escape from danger Turquoise prosperity

In antiquity, the robes of important Indian priests were adorned with sapphires. It is also said to have been the stone of kings, worn to protect them against harm, and to have been one of the stones used in the breastplate of the ancient high priest. Sapphire is said to be helpful in freeing a person of unpleasant or unwanted thoughts and in bringing joy and peace of mind by making one more receptive to beauty and intuition. It has been used in the treatment of disorders of the blood, combating excessive bleeding and strengthening the walls of veins, has relieved insomnia and nervousness and has also been helpful in treating boils. Sapphire is the birthstone for September, symbolising clear thinking, and is the zodiac gem for Taurus (20 April to 20 May), as well as Tuesdays gemstone (star sapphire).

In conclusion
Today, increasing numbers of people are pursuing various non-traditional methods of illness diagnosis and therapy. There seems to be little doubt

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