used crystals for healing and other purposes thousands of years ago and
crystal pendants have been unearthed from Neolithic sites dating back
more than 80,000 years.
B.C, in his book, On Stones, Theophartus
mentions quartz more than any other mineral in that
ancient work indicating its popularity. The ancient Egyptian
Book of the Dead advocated heart shaped amulets made from
quartz to be laid in the chest cavities of mummies to
thwart heart snatchers. In medieval Europe, amethyst
was in great demand to prevent bacchanal excess.
claim that crystals have an energy field;possess an
elemental spirit; will improve a vehicle's fuel consumption
if attached to the carburettor; purify water; help plants
to grow; make dreams come true; amplify ESP powers; and
so on ad nauseum. Part of the evidence, purporting
to be scientific, evolves from the belief that a quartz
crystal can generate power.
principal use of quartz crystals is in the field of alternative
medicine where it is claimed that they can focus healing
powers. It is alleged that the crystal amplifies the energy and it
flows to the pain area. The theory is that as pain is
simply a signal from the brain telling you that something is wrong, and
that energy is being sent to the cells to
correct the problem, the technique of using the amplifying
ability of a crystal to give us extra energy to be
directed to a specific area speeds up the natural healing
and gemstones are worn in the form of jewellery such as
bracelets, pendants, rings and pendulums, or are laid on
various parts of the body, on chakras, and along acupuncture
meridians in particular. The latter form of healing is
claimed to regulate the flow of vital life energy within the
body by removing energy blocks. Some practitioners
"diagnose" using a crystal pendulum dangling
over a patient's chakras. Most work with crystals is done in
a self-help context.
cut into precise thicknesses and a potential applied, a quartz
crystal will vibrate at a specific frequency and can be used
in electromagnetic circuits. Another application
is in computer memory circuits, where thin slices of
quartz are used to store large amounts of data and
transmit information within the computer. Ironically, all the
claims attributing extraordinary powers to crystals are based
on an erroneous understanding of simple physics.
is simply oxidised silicon or silicon dioxide (SiO2). Its
chemical name is silica. The value of quartz lies in two
remarkable properties. It is highly resistant to temperature change,
and it changes shape (vibrates or oscillates)
when an electrical potential is applied. It is around the
latter phenomenon, known as the piezoelectricity
effect, that the misconceptions of the crystal fad have
well as the slight change in shape when a voltage is applied
to opposite faces of a quartz crystal, the converse
takes place if it is squeezed in a vise — a voltage appears
across the electrical contacts.
on the frequency specifications, crystals are precision
cut from high-purity quartz and used in electrical circuits to
regulate and stabilise frequency vibrations such as those in
radio transmitters, clocks and watches.
supposed power source, one need only remove the battery
from a quartz clock and ask oneself why it stopped
working. Further, while it is true that a voltage can be produced
by squeezing a quartz crystal in a vise, it is not
possible to exert the same pressure manually or as rapidly as
when an electrical potential is applied.
suggest that electromagnetism supposedly generated by crystals
can be used for healing purposes (when in fact they do
not, of their own accord, generate anything), is simply a
reiteration of a long discredited belief in the healing
powers of magnetism.
quartz crystal is an inanimate mineral which simply does not
have the mystical, magic or healing powers attributed
to it. Any perceived efficacy in respect of
can only be in the mind of the believer.
dangers in promoting this false concept as a healing therapy
should be apparent to any prepared to give it a few seconds thought,
for it is on a par with the cure-all elixirs
sold by the travelling snake oil merchants of old.
R. 1986. Cosmic Crystals,
R. 1988. "Crystal Clear", the Skeptic.
8 (3), p11-13 Australian Skeptics Inc.
P. 1991. Crystal Healing: The Next
Step, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota.
E.J. 1989. Crystal Power, The
Ultimate Placebo Effect. Prometheus Books. Buffalo, NY.
U. 1987. Fortune-Telling By Crystals. A Practical Guide to Their Use in
Divination, Meditation and Healing. The
Aquarian Press. UK.
163, 2015 July)
Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative,
Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Austalian