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Dr. Susan Mathison, Published May 03 2014

Positively Beautiful: Do gems, crystals really have healing powers?

I walked through the Edge Life Expo last weekend, had a nice energy massage treatment, and then got attracted to all of the bright and shiny objects: crystals.

This goes way beyond “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” There were beautiful crystals in all colors and sizes. Some were rough cut and others polished. Many had a small “prescription” attached, such as, “This crystal helps you feel grounded.” Or, “Use this stone to help you find clarity,” and “This gem improves your love life.”

At the show, you could have a crystal reading to find out which stones would be most beneficial for you to purchase.

It’s not just a New Age phenomenon. For many centuries, gems and crystals have been attributed mystical, energetic, protective and healing properties. They’ve been worn by royalty and regular folks since the beginning of recorded history.

Many of us are aware of our birthstone, a gem or crystal assigned to each month. Some stones are associated with astrological signs. Some cultures followed the chakra system, with different colors representative of different body systems and assigned crystals and gems that correlate based on color.

Here’s look at a few types of stones and their meaning:

• Ruby: The fiery red look of rubies is said to infuse vital life force and passion. They were believed to help lessen exhaustion and detoxify the entire body. Legends say those who wear them have no need to fear misfortune.

The ruby is associated with the Root Chakra (beginning of awareness) at the base of the spine, which is concerned with success, stability, courage and patience. Garnet and smoky quartz are also associated with this area.

• Sapphire: During the Middle Ages, the calming blue of sapphires was believed to put negative thoughts at bay and help cure a wide variety of ailments. They were used to treat nosebleeds by mixing vinegar with the powder of the stone, and also helped draw out fevers. (I have not tried either of these methods in my office!)

Good health, joy, peace and beauty were bestowed on the wearers.

Sapphires help balance digestion and emotions in the Solar Plexus Chakra (transformation of being) as well as the Third-Eye Chakra (knowledge of being) located between the eyebrows, where they balance vision and strengthen the central nervous system.

• Diamond: Because of its high monetary value, I didn’t see any diamonds floating around the show.

According to ThatCrystalSite.com, diamonds are said to reflect your will and powerful aspects of the divine, and it’s a powerful healer when used by someone whose vibrations are resonating at its intensity.

Diamond is a catalyst for alignment with your higher self, and it strengthens your will power and control over your physical desires. It breaks up blockages in your Crown Chakra and enhances abundance, trust, faithfulness, innocence and purity.

When diamond is set with other stones, it heightens the healing capacity of those stones.

Sadly, despite its beautiful properties, the expensive diamond is commonly steeped in controversy related to mining, sales and theft. The site suggests you cleanse and clear your stone thoroughly and ask for all karma associated with the stone to be released before using it in any way.

• Amethyst: This is my birthstone, so I’ve always been drawn to it. In ancient times, it was believed a sober mind came to those who wore the purple amethyst. It guarded against violence, brought forth bravery and pure aspirations of the human race. It helped fight contagious diseases, battle wounds and has been worn by most of the world’s religions and royalty across the ages.

Amethysts give the Crown Chakra (endless possibilities) at the top of the head wisdom and understanding and open up the consciousness beyond the body by energizing the upper part of the brain.

• Rose quartz: This is a very popular stone signifying unconditional love. It is said to work with the Heart and Crown Chakras to all forms of love: self-love, family love, platonic love and romantic love.

Its qualities are gentleness, forgiveness, tolerance, beauty, creativity and gratitude. Rose quartz is attributed a protective benefit in pregnancy and childbirth.

So, are they really helpful? One study on crystals carried out by psychologist Christopher French of Goldsmith’s College in London had half a group of 80 volunteers meditate while holding a genuine crystal while the other half handled a fake they were told was the same thing.

Both groups were also provided a booklet that listed 10 sensations they might feel, such as tingling, hand warming, more energy and a better sense of well-being.

The majority of participants noticed an increase in hand temperature as well as in their ability to focus and concentrate, but there were no differences in the sensations each group reported.

Additionally, it was found that participants who were avid believers in the power of the crystals were far more suggestible than those who were skeptics. It seems the expectation of effect – not the crystals themselves – were the source of any reported benefit.

Regardless of science, it’s likely that we will remain fascinated by beautiful stones. Museums are filled with jewelry that defined civilizations and religions around the world. And maybe you have a special crystal, ring or necklace that is your lucky talisman. Expecting a benefit works to your advantage!


Dr. Susan Mathison founded Catalyst Medical Center in Fargo and created PositivelyBeautiful.com. Email her at info@catalystmedicalcenter.com.