People (and by people, I mean new-age hippies first, celebs next, and now everyone at Starbucks) are very into crystals.
Crystals are nice and shiny. You can wear them as jewelry, use them as Pinterest-worthy decorations in your home, get them placed on you in a spa treatment, and stick them up your yoni—you know, whatever your thing is.
Some even believe they have mystical qualities—an “extraordinary ability to store, transmit, and transform energy” (quote from Goop, duh)—that can relieve stress, improve mental health, even cure illness.
Why? Well, mostly because they’re old (fun fact: the “oldest piece of earth” is a 4.4 billion-year-old crystal) and they vibrate (quartz, for example, is used in watches, radios, and other technology to generate a charge or help tune things).
In theory, the vibration of an ancient crystal could cure or improve something with its energy. So black obsidian may help you “decompress” and “ground yourself at the end of the day,” rose quartz “activates the heart… and promotes positive energy,” and amethyst “rids negative energy” and “treats addiction.”
In practice, there’s no evidence crystals have special powers. In fact, science has evidence against it. In one example, even ardent believers couldn’t tell the difference between real quartz crystals and glass fakes.
But don’t trade in your wand and give up on crystals yet, because science has a good sense of humor about things like this.
The placebo effect says the belief in the crystal (rather than the crystal itself) is enough for it to work. In medicine, the placebo is usually a sugar pill with no active ingredients, a sugar pill that cures patients nearly 30 percent of the time!
More and more, science shows the placebo effect can hold strong, even if you’re told a placebo is what you’re getting in the first place! In other words, if you want rose quartz to “activate the heart,” even if you’re sure it’s a piece of shiny rock, it very well could.
So stop judging all those people with crystals—or get more if you’re already on board.
I love all of this. It’s a part of science we’re starting to learn more about, but it’s clear the placebo effect has an actual, measurable change on the brain. To me, this really emphasizes the power and potential of intention. There’s a growing amount of evidence that setting your mind to something (visualizing a successful home run in sportsball, for example) can will that something into existence. If you can dream it, you can do it.
Though don’t depend on crystals instead of medicine—that’s dangerous.
Think about what you’ve told yourself and others, what you “believe” is holding you back. Then maybe buy a crystal (or literally anything) to help you start thinking differently.
Here’s my puppy of the week: