Most people never leave home without the essentials, like their phone, keys and wallet. For roommates Leah Roach and Mandy Jacobs, this includes healing crystals.
“I have a little mesh pouch that I have smaller crystals in,” said Roach, a junior screenwriting major. “I swear it saves my day. If I’m having a really bad day at work and I tuck it into my apron, it actually makes me feel better.”
The history of using gemstones, crystals and other minerals for homeopathic healing and spiritual rituals traces back to ancient civilizations, according to Energy Muse. Associated with the New Age spiritual movement in the 1970s, healing crystals have become mainstream, according to the LA Times.
Some Chapman students collect crystals for healing purposes or simply as decor. Crystals are among the most stable matter in the universe because they have a fixed molecular structure and repeating geometric pattern. Crystals vibrate at a specific frequency and, because they’re so stable, they can maintain this frequency and transmit energy, according to Energy Muse.
Himalayan salt rocks are a popular option among students not only for aesthetic purposes, but because they absorb negative energy and toxins, allergens and irritants in the air when paired with a heat source, according to Energy Muse.
“I have Himalayan salt crystals in my room, and I think it really fits with the vibe of the room, and it makes everything very peaceful. I like everything being calm in there and neutral colors,” said Alexis Rodriguez, a junior news and documentary major.
Crystals and stones claiming to have various healing properties are sold in retailers like Free People and Urban Outfitters, department stores and e-commerce websites like Etsy and Amazon and local metaphysical stores.
Jacobs, a junior film production major, said she became interested in healing crystals last semester when her mom bought her a selenite crystal after hearing it had protective properties.
“I was into astrology, and then I was like, ‘What’s another weird area of interest I can devote my time to?’ and then crystals came up,” Jacobs said.
Roach said she relies on the citrine crystal-which helps bring positivity in all situations, according to metaphysical store Energy Muse-while she works on class assignments.
“It’s supposed to be for studying and concentration,” Roach said. “I always think of it as my homework crystal, so I put it next to my computer while I’m working.”
Crystal healing, which some medical doctors and scientists have referred to as a pseudoscience, according to Live Science, is considered an alternative medicine technique because there isn’t scientific evidence that crystals treat physical or mental ailments. Still, crystals remain popular at spas and as home decor to promote relaxation.
“(Crystals) have healing properties if you think they do, because it’s just like meditating,” Jacobs said. “If you are like, ‘This crystal makes me feel calm,’ then you know it does technically have a healing property because you assigned it that meaning.”
Other ways to use healing crystals are to wear gemstones or carry them around. They can also be placed under pillows and on windowsills to help shed negative energy and ward off illnesses. People can undergo a treatment session, during which a healer, places various stones or crystals on the body aligned with chakra points.
The chakra system originated in spiritual and yogic traditions in India between 1,500 and 500 B.C. The seven major chakras are different energy centers in the body stretching from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, each with a different color associated.
“I always find that I have a really underactive root chakra (found at the base of the spine), which means that I’m constantly nervous, I don’t feel at home in most places unless I’ve nested there for a long time, and I have trouble communicating what I’m thinking,” said Roach, who always carries a smoky quartz crystal with her. “Because smoky quartz is associated with your root chakra, it just helps open up my root chakra a little more.”
Like Roach, Jacobs uses crystals to balance her chakras. She often relies on rose quartz, one of her favorite crystals.
“Rose quartz is all about love, universal love, self-love, love for the earth, love for others, kindness, forgiveness – it’s just like a sweet one,” Jacobs said. “I have a really underactive heart chakra, and I know this because I’m very mean and bitter. So having rose quartz just reminds me, ‘Oh yeah, love.’”
While there is no scientific evidence to support that carrying a rose quartz may help someone fall in love or wearing turquoise stones will help strengthen a friendship, there is some validity to their potential healing powers.
When picking out a crystal, some consider appearance, healing properties or how it physically feels in one’s hand.
Jacobs said she doesn’t feel as attached to the tiger’s eye stones she bought online as the ones she picked out herself. She keeps a tiger’s eye in her bags because it helps bring new opportunities, prosperity and wealth, she said.
“I didn’t pick this one (selenite) out, but my mom gave it to me, so I still do feel drawn to it somehow, but the tiger’s eye, I’m like, ‘This is a rock,’” Jacobs said.
Jacobs cleanses her crystals under the full moon each month to refresh their positive energy. Sometimes, she uses sage smoke if she feels her crystals have a bad energy to them, which can happen if she’s used them too long without cleansing them, she said.
Roach cleanses her crystals by smudging them with sage smoke whenever she cleans her room to remove negative energy from her living space.
“I always have the window open so all the bad energy clears out,” Roach said.
Regardless of whether crystal healing will become scientifically proven or just have a placebo effect on its believers, Jacobs thinks its appeal comes from a potential homeopathic solution to physical and mental ailments.
“It seems like a very feminine approach to self-healing, like nurturing yourself,” Jacobs said.