Welcome to The Now Age, our tribute to the fascinating and ever-evolving landscape of alternative wellness. From Reiki to plant medicine, we're taking a closer look at how holistic healing can factor into the modern woman's lifestyle—with curiosity and a healthy dose of skepticism.
From an outsider's POV, it's probably pretty easy to sum up my life in Los Angeles as a cliché: I brew my own kombucha, I hike on a near-daily basis, and since moving here, my crystal collection has grown exponentially in size. But while I might be the first person to make a joke at my own expense (I'm still a cynical, self-deprecating New Yorker at heart), that's not to say that I don't completely stand by this lifestyle. With every new, glimmering stone I place around my home, I understand just a little more what crystal healing is really all about. It has nothing to do with magic, mysticism, or even buying into a crunchy, New Age-y frame of mind—it's deeply personal and, in some ways, quite practical. It's about utilizing something to tune into your needs and sort through your personal issues to better achieve balance and your goals.
That word tune is key, even if we skeptics only embrace it in the abstract. "Everything in this universe is a vibration, including you," explains Azalea Lee, founder of Place 8 Healing in Los Angeles. "Each one of your organs, chakras, mind, and thoughts are vibrations as well. As a whole, you are an intricate symphony of resonances, with some vibrations out of whack. Crystals have a specific and clear vibration. By openly engaging with these vibrations, crystals can act as a tuning fork to help recalibrate your vibrations to a more 'in-tune' place, helping you to be more balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually."
Consider how I see my own collection, in laymen's terms: While I was drawn to each of my crystals for their unique beauty, after learning about the specific benefits of each, I now associate them with those energies. Citrine, for example, is used to manifest goals and inspire new beginnings, so whenever I hold or look at my citrine stone, it's a reminder to check in with myself and my intentions and address anything that might be standing in the way. Even if you're not totally married to the metaphysical jargon, just remember that in the end, it's all about inspiring balance and the highest awareness of yourself—and that includes looking at things a little differently.
Below, you'll find a primer on all things crystal-healing, from selecting the right ones to placing them in your home. Plus, keep scrolling to learn about the different benefits of some of the most common stones.
1. Let the crystal choose you.
While learning about the properties of different crystals beforehand can help guide you toward the varieties that will benefit you most, in the end, it's better to go with your gut first and research later. "Pick a stone you are attracted to," says Lee. "Even if you think you are choosing the stones for aesthetic reasons, intuitively you are attracted to the stone for its metaphysical benefits. People will choose the stones they need when using this method." In other words, let the crystal choose you.
2. Be wary of fakes, and prioritize quality over quantity.
That being said, there are some other factors to keep in mind while shopping around—quality chief among them. "Beware of popular 'metaphysical' crystals that have been artificially treated," says Lee. "I would say over 99% of the 'citrine' available is not true citrine but heat-treated amethyst. Crystals like Aqua Aura, Angel Aura, Titanium Aura, etc. are colored from a chemical process patented in 2006. Goldstone and opalstone are purported metaphysical stones outright made in factories." If you really want to make the most out of your purchase and its benefits, do your research and find a proprietor who checks out. You might have to make a bigger investment upfront, but it'll be worth it in the end.
"The idea is to work with them for the rest of your life," says Lee. "So like your favorite pair of jeans or a good pair of shoes, choose by quality rather than price. Better to get one wonderful stone, really work with it, and get to know it."
3. Get to know your crystal's "properties" and benefits.
Because each crystal contains its own set of energy and benefits, the idea is to apply it to and associate it with things you want (or are looking to clear away) in your own life. That being said, only you can truly know what that entails, especially as you learn more and more about their specific benefits. Consider this analogy from Lee: "Working with crystals is very much like making food," she says. "Making scrambled eggs or turning eggs into a delicate lemon soufflé depends on intent and technique, much like a chef would understand his ingredients to maximize their deliciousness. The best way to care for crystals and reap their benefits is to learn about the individual crystals and develop technique with them through the experience of working with them. As with everything, how much you put in is how much you get out of the crystals!"
If you're looking for deeper guidance, a healing session with an expert like Lee might be useful. "This is an inner journey initiated by the shift in vibration created when I place crystals on one's body. I work as a guide to help my clients navigate their visions and help them understand how these visions relate to their life. The result is often a deep clarity on and shift in energy for my clients. The sessions can be deep, intense, and cathartic, and my favorite way of working with the crystals because I love helping people feel happier and more fulfilled."
4. Place it in your home accordingly.
It all comes down to what you're using it for. "Once, a client asked if she should keep her citrine in her bedroom," says Lee. "As citrine is used for manifesting into the physical world, I asked her if she wanted to have another baby. She emphatically said, 'no!' So I told her to put the crystal in a place where she wanted to manifest things, like her office."
Lee says the best way to figure out placement is simply to read up: Once you've purchased your crystal, learn about its different benefits and go from there. "But one tip is to be careful of which crystals you put by electronics, like your computer, as many crystals will increase the electromagnetic smog coming from computers and make any work done at the computer feel more stressful," says Lee. "Ditto for crystals by the bed; choose crystals that are harmonious with sleep."
Get to know the most common healing crystals:
Every stone offers its own array of healing properties—and if you're looking to target specific areas of your life, it's helpful to have an idea which crystals can benefit you the most. Learn about the different energies of some of the most common crystals below—paired with beauty products that feature them as an ingredient.
"I always recommend rose quartz to help with learning the lesson of love (or lack of love) that is a part of every experience we live," says Lee. This goes for self-love and appreciation too, so this pink crystal is good to keep around if you've been feeling a little down on yourself.
"Black tourmaline helps recycle negative energy into positive energy," says Lee. "This stone is extremely useful when dealing with unhappy and grumpy people, or even when you are unhappy and grumpy yourself!" Keep this tourmaline-infused mist around to clear out any negativity in your home space.
The noise and chaos of the modern world can be deafening at times, which is where this gorgeous green stone comes in handy: Malachite protects against negative energy and mental pollution.
Whether you've already got big plans on the horizon or are only just starting to ponder how to manifest your goals, it might be wise to invest in this yellow variety of quartz, which is all about new beginnings and putting opportunities into action.
Amethyst is a therapeutic stone, offering relief from tension and overall detoxification of the body and mind. It's often used to target addictive behavior and mental chatter, eliminating all distractions that get in the way of healing and growth.
Looking for a reality check? "In the modern world we spend too much time in our heads," Lee says. (Hear, hear.) "Hematite helps to ground energies and get us more connected to our bodies and physical life here on Earth."
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.