Crystals are natural minerals that can be found all over the planet, whether you discover a mineral hiding in the sand on the beach or unearth a stone hiking near your favorite river. They’re thought to ground and calm, helping you to stay present and appreciate what you have and what you love, says Deborah Hanekamp, the founder of Mama Medicine in New York City. And they’ve become increasingly trendy lately, in part because many celebrities swear by them.
Both Bella Hadid and Kylier Jenner have shared snaps of their crystal collections on Instagram. Kate Hudson and Victoria Beckham keep them in their homes. Katy Perry once credited her inability to stay single to crystals (“I carry a lot of rose quartz, which attracts the male,” she told Cosmopolitan. “Maybe I need to calm it down.”). Self-proclaimed crystal lover Jenna Dewan created a video guide to walk fans through her collection. Miranda Kerr is such a proponent of their “healing powers” that she infuses crystals into every product in her Kora Organics line. Even Adele is a believer: the singer blames the “most disastrous performance” of her life on misplaced crystals.
Then there’s Spencer Pratt, who lives crystals. If you follow the former The Hills star on Instagram, you probably already know that he once climbed inside a large crystal to recharge and had a birthday cake made to look like giant minerals were baked into it. Pratt even has his own online shop where clients can purchase quartz, agate, and amethyst stone necklaces.
So many Hollywood stars are passionate about crystals, but do they actually work? Experts aren’t convinced. Health‘s contributing medical editor Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, has stressed in the past that there’s no scientific evidence to back up this practice. “Placing a crystal on someone’s body to produce an internal change (e.g., erase a headache) does not make physiological sense,” she says.
Still, there is some research that suggests crystals may have a significant placebo effect for those who believe in their powers, which may make them feel better, or at least more relaxed. “If you’re into this sort of alternative medicine, there’s little harm in giving it a go—as long as it’s not a substitute for real medical treatment when you need it,” says Dr. Raj.
David L. Katz, MD, director of Yale University Prevention Research Center agrees that crystals probably deliver little more than a placebo effect. “However, I am always reluctant to rule out the possibility of some effect by means we don’t understand,” he says, acknowledging that there’s some plausible interactions between crystals and the electromagnetic field the human body generates—but adds that it’s probably a stretch. “The marketing of such products is currently predicated on no meaningful science, and is mostly about magical and wishful thinking.”
If healing crystals have piqued your interest—and you understand that they’re no substitute for real medical care—there’s no harm in using them. Just stick to topical use (when you place them on various points of the body) or intentional use (when you use it as a meditative aid) rather than internal use, says Sadie Kadlec, an intuitive healer and mentor at Maha Rose in New York City.
Each crystal has unique properties, says Kadlec. Her picks: blue lace agate, rose quartz, amethyst, lepidolite, hiddenite, and onyx. And if you’re feeling inspired, you’re in luck, as it’s easier than ever to shop for crystals at retailers like etsy.com, urbanoutfitters.com, and even amazon.com.