Why I Don't Do Crystals

Photo: Dani Costelo

Photo: Dani Costelo

“I feel like a child on the shore. Picking up one pebble over the other just because it looks more interesting than the rest. Yet the ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.”
- Issac Newton

Some people know me to be quite the skeptic, especially when it comes to medical pseudoscience. There are tons of health and wellness trends out there. So many ways for us to become our best selves and find happiness. It’s exhausting. Full-disclosure, I’ve fallen victim to some of them because I wanted it to be true or I was too lazy to do the research. My problem is not with the people who buy into these trends. We are all after the same things; happiness, peace, and longevity. My problem is with the people who take advantage of this knowledge by making money off of our vulnerability by making false claims.

I’m taking it upon myself to provide you with as much information as I can on the topic of medical pseudoscience. If after receiving the information you still want to charge your crystals and sleep with them under your pillow then go for it! I’m not here to judge you. I’ve just seen too many people empty their bank accounts searching for something that they possessed all along. After reading this, you can decide for yourself if you still want to spend $70 on a rose quartz straw because it’s said to “radiate a heart-opening, calming vibes”.

First, we can all agree that the mind is indisputably powerful. It alone has the power to heal us. The placebo affect has been known for millenia to cure people of their pain and mental distress. This is an amazing phenomenon to me and so useful in demonstrating how the brain can both manifest pain and take it away. It also shows us that many things within the health and wellness arena, like crystals, have power because we give them power.

Neil Degrasse Tyson said it perfectly in one of his podcast episodes, “In the history of cultures is that civilizations tended to gather together and establish a higher curiosity factor for some things over others….over history what we’ve done is you pick up shiny things. We wear shiny things…Crystals are the worlds first solid transparent things. Take that fact and say can you do anything with it?”

He then goes on to talk about the birth of the crystalline sphere. During the time when humans believed the Sun revolved around the sun we needed an explanation of how the surrounding planets were held up. Something has to hold them there, something that surrounds the Earth completely but still enables you to see them. Thus the birth of the crystalline sphere.

“Crystal, not because it’s a special form of mineral but crystal because you can see through it.” says Neil.

Now, along with crystals not holding any real healing powers, the mining of them can also have a negative impact on our environment.

Opals, quartz, tourmaline, or amethyst are mined in conflict-struck countries with lax labor laws and environmental regulations, according to an article written by The Guardian. This industry is booming in Western Civilizations and endorsed by many celebrities. Crystals have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry and yet those that mine these “healing stones” are severely underpaid and work in dangerous conditions.

“Mining has an environmental impact, whether it’s for ‘healing crystals’, the copper in your phone, or the gold in your ring,” explains Payal Sampat of nonprofit organisation Earthworks. The quote marks are her own. “‘Healing crystals’ are mined in places like Myanmar (The New York Times did an article about the link between the mining of Jade and heroin in Myanmar in 2014) and the Democratic Republic of Congo where mineral extraction is linked to severe human-rights violations and environmental harm.” *cited from the Guardian