Seeking Solace: Do healing crystals actually work? Experts weigh in

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have found different ways to lessen their stress and anxiety. For some, it may have meant taking on new hobbies, new recipes. Perhaps, even finding solace in collecting healing stones and crystals.

ABC7 News connected with Donna Yarcia. She owns Catch Deez Vibes, which is an online Instagram shop for the ever-popular healing stones and crystals.

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Based in the Bay Area, Yarcia said business has been booming during the pandemic, with people looking to maintain positive protective energy.

"I think that because each crystal has a specific type of property, that really helps people either find direction and a path of what they maybe even want to do, or where to start," she explained.

Since launching in October and serving customers as far as New York, Yarcia has found a growing crystal community on social media. Specifically, groups of people all working to find a sense of healing during COVID-19.

Yarcia said her family is very involved in the business, and that's one reason she started the venture. Her sisters assist with her live sales. Her brother's girlfriend also makes bracelets for the store.

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"So, it has become more like something that we kind of do together as a family," she explained. Just another element of positive protective energy she's able to share with others.

When asked why she believes healing crystals are making a return to popularity during the pandemic, Yarcia said most people are drawn to their healing properties.

"Each one has a specific healing property. They do tend to cross, in terms of what they do. But for example, I had a loss at the end of last year during COVID," she shared. "And I know that I turned a lot to like my rose quartz to be able to really get through it. But also like utilizing things like maybe a black tourmaline to help protect my house or protect the energy that I put out there."

Yarcia said she was initially drawn to the beauty of the healing crystals. As her collection started to grow, she became more interested and began researching which stones would benefit her most.

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ABC7 News asked Yarcia whether she experienced any early skepticism. She explained she found a link between religion and spirituality within the crystals, and has only experienced positive things from starting her journey and launching her business.

Santa Clara University psychology professor, Dr. Thomas Plante weighed in on this type of intervention.

"We don't work with crystals or anything like that, because there's no scientific evidence for the psychological efficacy of them," Dr. Plante shared, as a licensed psychologist. "But on the other hand, placebos work."

He continued, "We have to follow what the research tells us, in terms of interventions and so forth."

Dr. Plante called healing crystals a placebo, but he doesn't dismiss what they may do for some people.

"When people believe in something, regardless of what it is, it could be a sugar pill, it could be crystals, it could be special foods, special music, a special activity or exercise, that it makes people feel better, and then they do feel better," he shared. "So, you're balancing the positive elements of the placebo effect, versus evidence-based scientific intervention."

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He isn't surprised healing crystals have made a return to popularity. Especially during what he calls a "mental health tsunami." Dr. Plante referring to several current events including the pandemic, racism, political conflict and more.

"People are anxious and they are looking for solace," he said. "And they're going to look towards things that may make them feel comfortable. And crystals are one of those things."

When dealing with anxiety, panic and depression, Dr. Plante instead suggests seeking professional help.

"For the typical things that people deal with- anxiety, depression, stuff like that, we've got really good tools in our psychological toolbox to help people with those kinds of problems," he told ABC7 News.

However, Yarcia said she wouldn't classify her crystals as placebos, describing tangible healing properties she's experienced herself.

"I feel like it affects people very differently. I feel like my particular experience with crystals isn't the same with everybody," she said. "When I first started, I could feel vibrations. Now when I meditate, I can see colors sometimes. So I feel like it really, it differs with experience."

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