As our culture moves more and more toward health and wellness, ancient healing arts have come forward. What many societies have been doing for thousands of years is only now becoming accepted in the western world. Acupuncture, shiatsu, yoga, aromatherapy, reflexology, and herbology are now commonly practiced. Modern medicine cabinets include Echinacea and Aloe Vera, bookshelves hold yoga instructional videos and insurance companies discount acupuncture sessions. With the exception of a small discourse, gemstone therapy has somehow been underestimated and has not seen the same rise as other ancient therapies. There may be many reasons for this.
Can Gemstone Therapy Be Taken Seriously?Edit
The ritualistic uses and the therapeutic uses of gemstones have been often combined into a single stereotype. Those who wear crystals for protection or other philosophical and religious reasons are many times classified as superstitious and naïve and subsequently, those who use gemstones for healing are classified as the same. This stereotype may be the result of the New Age movement and its emphasis on the ethereal aspects of gemstones, which, for many, requires a leap of faith. Our scientific minds have a difficult time accepting that a rock can do anything at all to a body except bruise it when thrown. Others have put blind faith into gemstones, not deriving their true functions nor finding credible resources for why they “protect” or “ground”. People use Aloe Vera because it heals wounds and they use acupuncture because it releases energetic blockages, but they do not use gemstones because the definitions are faith-driven assumptions rather then “cause and effect”.
Cynics may avoid gemstone therapy because it is too closely attached to ritual and faith, and there is no clear evidence of their successful functionality. These same cynics, however, use rituals in gemstones whenever they are married, coin a birthstone for their children, pass on heirlooms, or even decorate their homes. Diamonds represent the bond of marriage and ritualistically bless a couple for their life journey. Gemstones have an affinity to astrology and seem to attract people of certain months. Heirlooms are treasured more than most other possessions, notwithstanding their monetary value. Geodes and other decorative stones add a sense of serenity to a home. Even the popular art of Feng Shui recommends the use of crystals to direct energy in a room.
Our civilization comes from a long line of gemstone usage. Native Americans revered gemstones for their protective and divination powers. Turquoise was used on horses to make them “sure footed”, a practice even American cowboys adopted in the 19th century. Jade was used by the ancient Meso-Americans as a divine representation of gods and was valued more than gold. The Spanish conquistadors used the very same Jade to cure kidney ailments. European ancestors used gemstones as a regular part of their practice. Bloodstone was ground up into an elixir to help staunch bleeding. Jasper was steeped in water to ease stomach pains. Clear Quartz was used for scrying. In ancient Egypt, they had medicines that included Malachite, Jasper, Hematite, and Chalcedony. Lapis Lazuli was used in their tombs for protection and to assist in their afterlife journey. The ancient Greeks used Hematite for headaches. In China, Hematite was used for blood disorders and Pyrite is still used today for bone fractures. Gemstone Therapy, despite its reputation, is not a result of the New Age movement, but rather a lengthy tradition stretching to nearly every culture in history.
Another reason gemstone therapy may not be accepted is because of the wide differences of explanations on their functionality. Some writers who have a focus on religion or philosophy will describe stones as providing “grounding, serenity, courage, love, happiness” etc. Other writers who have incorporated gemstones as complimentary to their traditional practice will only mention their color qualities as therapeutic. Most who study and write on gemstones, however, will list ailments the stones will cure and little attempt is made to understand “why” or “how.” Because a discourse like this often requires instinct and trust, evidence of their success is hard to find. One is forced to find all of the patterns the writers agree on and come up with a solitary conclusion.
As is true with many other holistic approaches to healing, the effectiveness of gemstones may vary by person and, in addition, their healing is much more subtle and progressive then modern medicine or even Traditional Chinese Medicine. The way that gemstones heal does not allow for a “cause and effect” action, and this may be another reason they are discarded as ineffective. The power of gemstones is underestimated for a variety of reasons, including social stereotypes, variance in therapeutic qualities, and their tendencies to be subtle with healing. Understanding how gemstones work, what other techniques they can compliment for health, and methods of using stones will provide a practice that will be effective for users. As with any holistic approach, gemstone therapy requires patience, trust, and incorporation of other healing techniques. Knowing the basics on how gemstones affect a person will avoid the need to spend a lifetime researching them. Gemstones can be put in a medicine cabinet right next to Echinacea and be just as effective.
Why Aren’t They Consistent?Edit
Not too long ago, I had serious anxiety. Mental stress from my job pushed me into illness. My symptoms included fatigue, extreme tension in my stomach, and migraines. Knowing what the cause was, I treated myself for anxiety. Part of this treatment including a “mental exhalation” exercise where I visualized by tensions leaving my body. Once the energy “left my body” I visualized it being absorbed by a large Black Tourmaline. This exercise nearly cleared all of my symptoms. The next day, my wife explained that when she came home, all of our cats (we have three) were howling with anger. One cat, specifically, never meows unless something is very wrong, and she was nearly screaming at my wife. She also noted that although she felt fine going home, the moment she stepped into the door she was extremely agitated and irritable.
I explained my meditation exercise and we both took a look at the Black Tourmaline, apparently the cause of the previous night’s festivities. After a closer look, I found the Black Tourmaline had flecks of Hematite in it, and that’s when I realized what happened. To be continued.
A colleague at work complained of stomach ailments as the result of anxiety (this particular problem is very common among Americans, and in the end, it is very easy to fix). After her diagnostic, we determined that her nightmares were probably the sole contender to her failing health. She had consecutive nightmares for over a year. I recommended she put a Sodalite under her pillow to help her sleep. She came to me the next day and said she slept more sound then she ever had in her life. After continual usage her nightmares had all but cleared up.
My wife, too, had nightmares, so we tried the Sodalite (since it seemed to be so successful). It didn’t work and in fact, her nightmares were worse. I then tried Amethyst and Lapis Lazuli, also known for their qualities to help nightmares. Her dreams turned serene and almost meditative. She slept like a baby. I wondered why the Sodalite worked for one person but not the other, then I found that the cause for the nightmares were different in both cases and so required different techniques.
During another period of stress, I carried an Amber and Tigerseye with me to work, to act as a stimulant for exhaustion. The stones kept me awake, but made me very irritable. I snapped at a few people (very much unlike me) and had an aggressive perspective throughout the day. The next day I tried Amber and Fluorite. This time I had energy, but instead of aggression, I felt witty and on the ball. Ever since, that combination has worked perfectly for public speaking or meeting new people.
Is it just trial and error or are there particular reasons for our behavior and reactions to certain stones? It is clear to me that the stones are affecting those using them, but it is unclear on how they work or why they vary from situation to person. It is also clear that to figure out this riddle, one must find the patterns in stones and see how they, generally, affect a person.
How Can Rocks Heal Someone?Edit
Herbs go into a person’s system like food and provide chemical reactions to assist the body in fixing a problem. Vitamins fulfill nutritional deficiencies and help the body run at optimum levels. Aromatherapy triggers physical reactions based on odor that will encourage the body to address an issue. Homeopathy duplicates the illness forcing the body to fix it on its own. Pharmaceuticals attack a symptom with a chemical compound that destroys the problem (an often times part of the body, creating their notorious side effects). Acupuncture, Acupressure, Shiatsu, and Reflexology remove energetic blockages by forcing chi through the chakra meridians. Gemstones, too, have their own way of healing.
Gemstones are energetic conduits. This gives them a unique healing quality. Dependent on a stone’s composition, color, origin, age, and cultural influence it will affect chakral energy. The energy is not moved in the same way as Acupuncture, although it is similar. The stone will manipulate one’s chakras in much the same way we manipulate energy in technology. Since they are conduits they are going to do one of a few things: amplify the energy, convert energy to be useful, resist the energy, store the energy, or move the energy from one place to another. Because of this, they can be compared to electronics in how they behave: Amplifiers, generators, resistors, capacitors, and transistors.
Why did my wife and cats get so upset after my meditation? Black Tourmaline is a transistor. I mistakenly thought it was a resistor and that it would absorb the energy I gave it. Instead it moved it, and since there was no other stone to receive the energy, it naturally moved back out into the air. To complicate the problem, Hematite was in this particular tourmaline. Hematite is an amplifier. The end result was angry, stressful energy compressed into a stone and amplified back out.
Why did Sodalite work for my colleague and not my wife? Sodalite is a resistor. My colleague’s stress was a result of too many things going on in her life at once. The activity in her mind that progressed into nightmares was easily absorbed and contained by the resisting Sodalite. My wife, however, was having insomnia of a different degree. Her nightmares were not a result of stress, but rather worry. Lapis Lazuli is a capacitor and Amethyst is an amplifier. Positive thoughts and reflections were stored into the Lapis and then amplified into her sleep by the Amethyst. The Sodalite did nothing, because it was absorbing her worries, only to be replaced by more. The combination effectively drove the worry out and replaced it with a meditative state giving her time to reflect on her worries. Had it been Amethyst alone, the worries would have, most likely, been amplified.
As for my bad mood. The Amber is a generator, meaning it will take energy around me and turn it into energy I can use. Amber alone does the same thing caffeine does but gives you no direction and can make you hyper. Tigerseye is an amplifier. This combination gave me twice the energy and since it was amplified the energy became aggressive. Replacing Tigerseye with Fluorite, a transistor, the raw energy of Amber was moved through the calming energy of Fluorite, essentially filtering it into a “nice buzz”.
Taking the energetic conduit application to stones give their functionality a pattern and reason. Although this is the very basics of how stones work, it will make a user understand why they do what they do and will further explain why Lapis Lazuli is good for one kind of headache and Amethyst another. Placing any kind of quartz on a migraine will amplify the pain, but placing quartz on a dehydration headache will soothe.
The most common gemstones have the following energetic qualities:
- Quartz (Crystal, Amethyst, Chalcedony, etc): Amplifier
- Feldspar (Amazonite, Moonstone, Labradorite, etc): Resistor
- Tourmaline (Black, Green, Watermelon, etc): Transistor
- Organic (Amber, Jet, Coral, Shell, etc): Generator
- Lapis Lazuli: Capacitor
What Stones Do What?Edit
The previous categories include many common gemstones. Others may be obscure, but one can tell their energetic quality with patience and time. How does the stone feel? How does it make you feel? The healing path of gemstones always alters the mental state first, in effort to change the physical. Part of manipulating your energy is what your mind is doing. Many common ailments can be cured in the mental parameters of a person alone. If a stone makes you feel calm, it may be a resistor. Good, vibrant dreams may be the result of an amplifier. Raw energy may be from a generator. Meditative states may be from a capacitor.
Once you have determined a stone’s energetic type, you can sort through their functions. Many writers are correct in what they claim a stone can do, but using judgment and what is known about how the stones effect energy more sense can be made of it. For example, Writer A suggests that Jasper is good for healing constipation. Writer B says Jasper heals headaches. Writer C says Jasper heals stomachaches. Which one is correct? All of them. Jasper is a transistor. It will help energy flow throw the digestive system, easing constipation and, in turn, soothes the stomachache and cures digestive-induced headaches. When you see a list of cures, step back and try to look at the whole picture to better determine how and why they work.
Just because a writer says Smoky Quartz is good for headaches, does not mean you should use it as aspirin. This is a good example. If you have a migraine and you put a Smoky Quartz on your head, you will feel immense pain and it may even spread down into your neck. How is it that Smoky Quartzes are credited to cure headaches? Smoky Quartz, an amplifier, actually eases electromagnetic tension. Staring in front of a computer for hours forces your mind to focus to the point where headaches occur. A Smoky Quartz on this kind of headache will amplify your natural perspective, throwing away the hard concentration that caused the headache.
When you walk into a store smelling strong of Jasmine incense and you come to a counter with a rack of gemstones, you will see them nicely labeled for you: “Obsidian – Grounding”, “Aquamarine – Serenity”, “Rose Quartz – Love”. You can now interpret them as “Obsidian – Resistor, absorbs distractions and excess energy”, “Aquamarine – Resistor, absorbs stress and anxiety”, “Rose Quartz – Amplifier, enhances emotions”.
Can Gemstones Help Other Therapies?Edit
Since gemstones are effective at changing states of mind and subtly altering your energetic components, they make invaluable compliments to other therapies. Placing a gemstone to steep in an herbal tea will help its affect. Arranging gemstones on and around your body while practicing yoga can enhance it. Holding gemstones on acupoints will provide comparable affects as acupuncture. Although, they work just as well in your pocket or slipped under your pillow. Gemstones are versatile, easy to use, and very beautiful. Incorporate them into all parts of your life, whether it is jewelry, home decorations (feng shui?), office decorations, or bedside decorations. Putting quartz in a garden not only improves its beauty but also actually helps the plants go stronger and faster.
Being cynical about gemstone therapy leaves you out of the ritual, beauty, history and health they can provide. They have been used for thousands of years and are still being used and loved by many. Defining a stone’s energetic type will help you interpret all of the messages that are thrown out by others and will increase their effectiveness. Maybe with this point of view, gemstones can be further incorporated into the rising field of alternative medicine and civilization can go back to their historical roots. With a little open-mindedness, patience, and exploration, you can enrich your life and ease many ailments without the need for chemical side affects. Don’t underestimate the power of a good, cold, rock.