Essential oils and healing crystals are a hot topic. Blogs, spas, bath shops—it’s impossible to escape the claim that essential oils are, well, essential. But are the lavender oil and hematite crystals really helping you?
Essential oils (also called volatile oils) are scented liquids that are extracted from certain plants with pressure or steam. They contain natural chemicals that give plants their flavor and odor. These oils are used in everyday items, such as food flavorings or perfumes.
They’re also used in aromatherapy—a type of therapy that uses oils to enhance physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. While essential oils and aromatherapy have been used for centuries, they have recently resurfaced as a popular form of complementary medicine.
Similarly, there has been a resurgence in the use of healing crystals. Healers place crystals or stones purported to offer different benefits (e.g., mental clarity, intestinal health) on parts of the body that energy flows through (chakras).
Health Benefits of Essential Oils and Crystals
Thinking about delving into this area of alternative medicine? Here is what you should know about the health benefits of essential oils and crystals.
Many Different Uses
Over the years, essential oils and healing crystals have been used to treat:
- Nausea (especially after surgery)
- Cancer-related symptoms (e.g. pain, depression)
- Anxiety during labor
- Dementia symptoms (e.g., pain, depression, poor sleep)
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Poor sleep
Oils Have a Role In The Hospital
Hospitals and medical clinics are using aromatherapy to replace the harsh smells of disinfectants—which can conjure up fear in patients—with more comforting smells. Health care facilities use lavender, sage, neroli, chamomile, and clary to help patients relax, de-stress, and stay calm.
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
Be wary when someone says that oils and crystals can cure chronic medical conditions. Since those claims have not been proven, oils and crystals should be used as complementary medicine—used in addition to, rather than instead of, regular treatment.
The Placebo Effect May Be at Play
Technically, the verdict hasn’t come in on essential oils and crystals. For example, few studies have proven definite links between aromatherapy and healing. There are even fewer studies about the healing effects of crystals.
Yet, anecdotal evidence points to promising results. Many patients swear by these treatments, saying they provide a higher quality of life.
It’s possible that this is due to a placebo effect: patients expect aromatherapy and crystals to help, so they perceive them as helpful, even if they technically have no impact on the body.
However, the placebo effect isn’t necessarily bad news. If you are using an oil or crystal safely and it seems to help you, why not use them?
For information on how to safely incorporate these practices into your health care routine, speak with your primary care provider.