The Skeptic's Guide to Crystal-Healing

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.

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Next up: A crystal healer gives us a fascinating look insider her daily gig.