“So what can a power gem do for me?”

Ok, so you like gemstones, but you are feeling a little cynical about their purported effects. How can a crystal really do all the things that people say they do? There are a few ways that we can look at this question.
Firstly, the medical ef cacy of gemstones, when used by physicians from Classical Greeks, Hindus, and Arabs through to Europeans in the 17th century, could be what we now know as the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is not some ‘all-in-your-head’ psychosomatic fantasy but a well-documented fact even in modern medicine. Placebos work at least 30% of the time and sometimes have up to 80% effectiveness. In modern medical trials placebos are actually used as the standard against which a drug’s effectiveness is measured. If a drug cannot prove to be more effective than a placebo then it doesn’t pass muster.
In addition there are many cases of spontaneous remission from very serious diseases, documented as much in the modern world as in ancient times. We just do not hear about these from mainstream news sources, or even from our doctors because they are all considered a bit strange and inexplicable.
However, our bodies are not inef cient machines inclined to breakdown, which has been a prevailing view in the medical world. Together the body and the mind form an intricate system with an extraordinary (non- logical) intelligence capable of remarkable self-healing. The research of Dr Lissa Rankin shows the placebo effect may depend as much on the patient’s impression of the doctor’s attitude.
People placed as much trust and authority in their physicians in ancient times, as we do today. Therefore we can expect that the patient’s faith in the stone’s reported powers, as well as their faith in the physician’s abilities (and previous successes) increased the likelihood of all kinds of miraculous recoveries.
One thing we should credit the ancients with is an awareness of the connection dis-ease has to body, mind and spirit, something we actually lost track of in the modern world until quite recently. We are barely scrapping the surface when it comes to scienti c knowledge of the extraordinary healing that our bodies are capable of, when supported by the right attitudes in our selves and our environments.
Our gemstones are part of that environment, both in terms of how they are created and in the way that when we wear them they become intimately connected to our bodies.
Secondly, crystals themselves possess some pretty impressive natural properties – so impressive in fact that they commonly used in many scienti c and industrial processes that would have been impossible without them.
Piezoelectricy is one of the best known and most utilized properties of crystals. The stone can generate electricity, under pressure, by converting mechanical vibrations to electromagnetic oscillations. Because of the highly ordered atomic structure of crystals they are able to vibrate at very precise frequencies, making them useful for not only watches and gauges, but also for the development of microphones, loudspeakers, radios and other audio and video equipment. Precise crystal shapes vibrate at precise rates, transforming electricity into waves that can be broadcast as radio or television signals. They also transform solar energy into electricity in photovoltaic cells. In a microcircuit a small amount of crystal, for example quartz or sapphire, stores the energy that is the computers memory. Crystals, such as rubies, also focus the energy in lasers.
We are learning more and more about how our own bodies generate subtle electromagnetic elds, the disruption of which affects our health and wellbeing.
We have magnetite crystals in our brains, and the mineral apatite along with collagen makes our bones into an LED – when stimulated with external energy in the form of light our bones emit infrared
light. Our brain’s theta waves resonate at the same frequency as the earth’s ionosphere (7.8hz – called Schumann Resonance). The electromagnetic eld of our heart is 1000 times stronger than our brain, and has a measurable impact on other people’s elds, as well as being affected by our own thoughts and emotions. I know of more than a few people who send electronic devices (like computers, cash registers, photocopiers) into a spin – particularly when they are in bad moods!
Light, sound, magnetism and thought energies have all been used to heal people, and to affect other things, not only in ancient times but also in the modern age. You may already be aware of light therapy, colour therapy (and colour is a result of light), magnetic therapies and the power of prayer and intention for healing.
When we consider the electro-magnetic forces in our own body, and the particular electro properties of crystals, it is not so dif cult to see how we can use the ability of crystals. We can work with them to amplify subtle energies, to focus thoughts, store energy as information, and transfer energy over a distance (as in telepathy) or to communicate with other forms of consciousness in the same energy eld (minerals, plants, animals, non-tangible beings etc). These qualities t with many of the ways that gemstones have been used through the ages. And they make gemstones and crystals appropriate accessories for realising our intentions.
Even if you nd all of this unconvincing, I invite you to consider that, if the powers of gemstones operate on a purely metaphorical level, don’t think that the symbolic is entirely disconnected from the physical world, or that your body and wellbeing is not in anyway in uenced by something intangible like metaphor and symbol.
It is actually not so simple to separate the physical world and the mind, as we in the West have been encouraged to believe for the last four hundred years. I talk more about this in the next chapter on philosophy.