Crystal healing is somewhat controversial. In the same category as other complementary and alternative medicines such as reiki, acupuncture, and chiropracty, a conversation about crystal healing inevitably comes with a healthy dose of skepticism (crystal healing has been referred to as pseudo-medicine and even a medical conspiracy theory), but in much the same vein as Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s oft repeated quote: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, maybe health, or at least a portion of it, is in the mind of the believer.
In much the same way as placebos are a generally accepted way of treating psychosomatic conditions, that is to say those physical illnesses that are caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress, perhaps crystal healing should be judged not by the lack of scientific evidence to back up claims, but results in the end user.
Based on the idea that everything in the universe vibrates at a given frequency and a crystal’s internal molecular structure corresponds to that vibratory pattern, it is said that the minerals inside each crystal vibrate at varying frequencies and this gives each crystal its unique healing properties.
Crystals are, of course, nothing new to wellness. They have been used for centuries by cultures across the globe including the Hopi Native Americans, the Egyptians, and the Chinese, who to this day still use jade in everyday life.
Today, crystals of all kinds can be found embedded in water bottles, under pillows, and even in cellphone cases thanks to their ability to ‘reduce radiation’ but recently crystal-based treatments have been appearing on spa menus across the world.
Tara Cruz, spa director at the Four Seasons NY Downtown, explains their recent addition to their spa offerings. She says, “The Resident Healers programme provides a platform for unique healers who are reinventing the spa industry by exposing guests to a ‘new’ take on wellness that goes beyond traditional spa treatments.”
Launched in March this year, the programme’s three resident healers offer insight in one-on-one appointments at the spa. Rashia Bell is a crystal healer and meditation master, and one of three resident healers. She is also the co-founder of the Cristalline, a lifestyle service that offers both interior design and crystal healing as a way to “create balance within all areas of life”.
“The resurgence of crystals is really a product of the world that we live in,” says Bell. “In this constant fast-paced technological environment, for all its amazing improvements, the one thing it doesn’t address is the physical and energetic toll taken on our minds and bodies. People are choosing to be conscious of the ways they can be in the driver’s seat, of choosing mindful practices, and are making an effort to incorporate these into their life in as many ways as possible.”
Bell is confident that crystals are here for the long haul, too. “I think interest in crystals is going to continue to grow,” she says. “Crystals are nature, and as the world continues to speed up around us, we are going to continually seek a connection to nature so that we can feel grounded.”
As for what Four Seasons Hotel New York guests can expect, that depends on the individual, but Bell is developing a guide to help people discover aspects of themselves which can be a catalyst for moving through past trauma, making changes and maximising growth. And for newcomers to crystals, or even skeptics, Bell says that you don’t need a deep understanding to get started. “I believe the appreciation starts on the simplistic level, be it historical or aesthetic, and naturally has a trickle-down effect into how can these be incorporated in everyday life.”
Elsewhere, Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona has a more thematic approach to crystals thanks to a range of Native American–inspired therapies and a traditional Puebloan structure based on a kiva, a room used for ceremonies and rituals. The hole carved in the roof casts sunlight on a hunk of quartz that sits on a petrified tree stump.
Dr Carolyn Ford is part of the Mindfulness Team there and offers her thoughts on crystals and their resurgence. “A key factor is that crystals blend extremely well with people’s existing faiths,” she says. “Many seekers are looking for metaphysical components that fold effortlessly into their belief system, creating their own individualised spiritual practices.” Visitors to Mii Amo can expect a range of other complementary treatments such as a cranial sacral treatment, astrological interpretations and even past-life regression.
And the appeal of crystals isn’t limited to the land. Last year, Hong Kong-based cruise line Dream Cruises introduced Crystal Journeys, a selection of speciality treatments that includes “the first Himalayan salt stone massage treatment at sea”. Some treatments available on board as part of Crystal Journeys and the exclusive six-day/five-night Natural Renewal Program aboard include the Quartz Bed Massage, the Himalayan Salt Stone Massage, the Tropical Saltmousse Glow Scrub and the Mineral Hot Stone Massage.