EDITION: June - August 2017

The Power of Crystals

Jinny Throup
It’s often a hotly debated topic: do crystals contain special healing powers, or is all the “evidence” of such merely pseudoscience and nothing more than examples of the good old-fashioned placebo effect? IbiCASA decided to investigate… and we discovered some pretty fascinating stuff.

What exactly are crystals?
So, first things first. What exactly are crystals? The first image the mind conjures is likely to be sparkling amethyst or rose quartz displayed in an incense-scented new age shop. But, in fact, a crystal is the scientific name for any solid with a regular, repeating arrangement of atoms and molecules which, whilst fixed in place, can vibrate slightly. So what separates a lump of iron from a crystal? Here is where it gets interesting. In most naturally occurring minerals (like iron) the individual cells are symmetrical, but in what we commonly call crystals (like quartz), they are not. This unique characteristic of crystals is all down to something called piezoelectricity.

Crystals and Piezoelectricity
Piezoelectricity is, simply put, the existence of voltage – an electrical potential – in a crystal when it is subjected to mechanical stress by being squeezed. This was discovered in 1880 by the brothers Pierre and Paul-Jacques Curie. They were able to demonstrate that if certain crystals (such as quartz, tourmaline, topaz, and Rochelle salt) were squeezed, then a current of electricity would flow through them. In effect, each crystal becomes like a tiny battery, with a positive charge on one face and a negative charge on the opposite. Under pressure the two faces connect together to make a circuit, and electric current flows between them.

The Curie brothers also found that crystals have an additional compatible quality – if you pass electricity from an outside source through a crystal it vibrates back and forth. They do this because when you send voltage across a piezoelectric crystal the atoms inside it move to re-balance themselves and the crystal changes shape slightly. The consequences of these discoveries were nothingshort of monumental, and it is staggering to realise how important crystals are to the way we live today. Their development began with the use of quartz in watches and clocks, as it helps to stabilise and regulate the flow of energy, thus enabling regular time to be kept. Discovery of the utility of crystals continued with the invention of the radio which was originally called the ‘crystal radio’. But it is in the last 20 years that crystals have really become ubiquitous.

Crystals and modern technology
It is no exaggeration to say that crystals are essential for the functioning of all modern technology. Piezoelectric silicon crystals are the microchips that are the key components in an incredible array of products ranging from those we use in our day-to-day lives, right through to extremely specialized devices. Let’s take a look at some examples - I’m betting at least a few will come as a surprise to you. Silicon chip crystals are at the heart of every computer and smart phone and, their LCD screens are comprised of liquid crystals (LCD = Liquid Crystal Display). Dot matrix and inkjet printers also use piezoelectric actuators. That’s just the beginning of the thousands of devices that use silicon crystal computer technology. These microprocessors are installed in everything from automatic teller machines and airport check-in kiosks to pacemakers and ocean monitoring sensors. Anything that requires energy being converted into sound uses piezoelectric crystals. Examples range from acoustic-electric stringed instruments (guitars, cellos etc) and microphones, to sound-producing toys and even musical greetings cards.

Many of the things we take for granted in our cars such as air bag sensors, alarms, knock sensors and seatbelt buzzers, are making use of piezoelectricity. Moving on to more specialised applications, piezoelectricity is important in the medical industry and is used in ultrasonic procedures, ultrasound imaging and foetal heart monitors. The Military and Defence Industry also use piezoelectric crystals in depth sounders, hydrophones, micro robotics, and bullets that can change course. This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are countless more examples, but it is clear to see how far-reaching and diverse are the uses of crystals in modern day living.

Crystals and healing
So, if crystals are powerful enough to impact our lives so greatly, then is it such a stretch to consider that perhaps their powers could extend to healing? Crystals clearly have a unique ability to conduct energy, and physicists tell us that everything in our universe is a form of energy – including our bodies. Certainly our ancient ancestors thought that crystals had healing power, with the use of crystals, minerals and gemstones dating back over 30,000 years to the time of the Neolithic Man. Throughout history many ancient cultures from all over the world used them for healing and divination, in burial rituals and for adornment. These included the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, the Mayans, Aztecs and Incans, and the indigenous tribes of North America and Australia to name just a few.

The reason crystals are essential in modern technology is because their structures are incredibly orderly and balanced, and the energy they emit is completely consistent. These characteristics make it possible for crystals to store enormous amounts of information. In addition, they respond to the energies around them – reacting to the vibrations that are in their environment. Let’s put this together with the fact that the cells in our bodies vibrate at different frequencies that reflect the state of our health and well-being. So when we come into contact with a crystal, it picks up the vibration of our cells. If there is any discordant energy the crystal’s powerful, consistent energy has the potential to transform that energy back into coherent harmony.

This, in a nutshell, is the basis of crystal healing. But the purpose of this article is not to try to convince you one way or the other as to whether crystals have the power to heal. There is little doubt that the debate will continue for many years to come. In closing it is however worth noting that without these incredible minerals, forged millions of years ago during the earliest times of the earth’s formation, our life in the 21st century would be unrecognisable.

And that, for sure, is power. •