Litho therapy, as the practice is also known, is the art of using natural stones and crystal stones to harness natural energies to promote healing and good health. The word comes from ‘litho’ meaning stone and ‘therapy’, which is easily understandable. While many people denigrate natural remedies such as litho therapy as being nonsense, the practice has been around since ancient times, when the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, amongst many others, used stones to treat ailments, infuse soldiers with courage and turn aside curses or bad energies. Therapy can take the form of hour-long treatments, sometimes accompanied by massage or oil treatments, as at a spa day, or it can take the form of wearing natural stone jewellery all the time to ensure that one consistently receives the benefit of the stones.
Beliefs in the healing power of the natural world was widespread and commonly accepted until the Enlightenment (beginning in the late 1600s) when understanding of proper scientific methods came along. Instead of blind faith in nature as divine healer, scientists and medics of the day began to insist on having answers to questions hitherto unasked.
This meant that certain discoveries were made and accepted: such as willow bark containing something that eased pain, the substance is salicylic acid, better known today as aspirin, but a wealth of other common, if unscientific household treatments were brushed aside as being old folk tales rooted in superstition and deserving of no scientific credence at all.
Practises such as bleeding were done away with, in a stroke saving the lives of those that would have been further weakened by blood loss, and in the main, the Enlightenment was a force for good.
However, recent studies have seen researchers returning to ancient scientific treatises, making allowances for the lack of the correct terminology and working to understand what those long-ago writers actually meant. For example, mentions of comets as omens of evil can be dismissed from the portent point of view. But as far as the observation of the comet itself goes, those writings can be taken as being accurate as far as timings, what was visible and at what time of day, giving modern day scientists an accurate and minutely observed breakdown of said comet.
In much the same way, prayers and invocations to various household gods can be largely disregarded, while mentions of symptoms, their relief and descriptions of stones used to effect the cure should not be!
There are two very good reasons for giving treatments with a natural stone a fair trial: scientific merit being one, and the placebo effect being the other.
Scientific Merit: Pierre Curie discovered an unusual effect when certain crystals were put under pressure. They produced a small but significant electrical current. This is known as piezoelectricity and it is used in small radio transistors, crystal watches, if your watch says ‘quartz’ or ‘crystal’ anywhere on it, it is using this phenomenon to keep you on time for all your appointments.
Now, this is just one force released by natural stones when placed into a certain conformation. Who is to say that there are not many more forces held within minerals that could be released with the right treatment which could be anything from being heated to the right temperature, used in conjunction with certain herbs or oils, or even just by simply being left in contact with the body?
Who is to say that scientists of the future might not marvel that early savants of the twenty-first century were experimenting with litho therapy, using elements and energies that they could not yet fully understand, and yet doing so with remarkable success? And there have been successes, which may bring us neatly to the second point.
Placebo Effect: The placebo effect is essentially a case of mind over matter, in which a patient is given a treatment, for example, a course of tablets. The doctor, or prescribing authority, who must be someone that the patient holds in absolute trust, assures the patient that this treatment will do the trick: stop the pain, eases the blockage, cause the depression to lift, whatever is needed. The patient toddles home, takes the treatment, which could be flavoured water or sugar pills, and begins to feel better. They feel better, so they assume that the treatment is, as promised, an effective one, and they continue the course of treatment until they are cured.
It is perfectly possible that people who use natural stone jewellery and lithotherapy are experiencing a placebo effect and getting no benefit at all from the minerals and stones that are being used in the treatment.
But, there is a case to be made here: if the treatment works for any reason at all, surely the method of its working does not matter. If chronic pain is eased, if insomniacs are snoring happily into their pillows, if anxieties are soothed and depression lifted without resorting to harsh chemical treatments, invasive surgeries or long term prescriptions with associated side effect, surely this is a good thing? Yes, it may well mean that the patient is essentially curing themselves, while the lithotherapist takes credit for it: but the end result is that the patient does feel better, and it is a fact that the natural stone therapy has helped them to get there.
Amethyst: This beautiful purple crystal can be very valuable, and it has long been associated with helping with addictive behaviours, as well as reducing anxieties and inducing a sense of calm. They are also reputed to help open the third eye and enable the sense of quietude needed for spiritual meditation. Finally, they are recommended as a kind of filter against bad energies and disruptive forces.
Obsidian: A kind of black glass formed by fiery geological events like volcanoes and lightning strikes, obsidian can be made into wickedly sharp blades. But the mineral is also held to be an effective barrier against negative stresses and tension. Obsidian can be used in the form of beads, mounted in a ring, or used as an uncut stone.
Turquoise: Long valued by ancient peoples, this stone was not only appreciated for its beautiful greeny-blue colour. It has long been associated with heaven, in its various forms in different religions, and many religious buildings and palaces in Iran featured domes made of turquoise to reflect this. It is also widely found in ancient Egyptian burials, especially those of royals, indicating its high value within the society. It is widely thought to bring good luck, and has also been worn as a talisman against evil or misfortune.
Moonstone: A beautiful white-grey stone that glows as though under moonlight, and the stone itself does a lot of work! It soothes and stabilizes the emotions, inspires creativity and intuition, and brings good luck and fortune in both love and business. It is also thought to aid with digestive issues and is particularly good for women’s issues, from troublesome periods to childbirth issues to breastfeeding.
Tigers Eye: Banded stripes of amber, gold and brown make this stone particularly attractive. Its masculine colour scheme has seen it used in many sets of cuff-links, rings, tie-clips and more, but it is also often used in more feminine jewellery too. But this stone has more than aesthetic value, being prized for awakening dormant psi powers in those who have a latent gift. It also inspires creativity in those who wear or carry it with them, and enhances self-confidence, infuses courage and boosts strength of will, giving the carrier or wearer the determination to go through with a difficult decision.
Quartz: This simple stone is found commonly throughout the world, but it is also one of the best stones to invest in when first starting out with natural healing and lithotherapy. Known as the master healer, quartz is a crystalline stone growing large, regularly shaped stones that can be polished and used as stand-alone healing stones, or they can be cut and shaped into beads, pendants, and insets for jewellery. The beauty of quartz stones is that they tend to be both attractive and relatively cheap, so you can invest in as many as you like without breaking the bank. Most quartz is white or translucent, but it is also available in different colours, with rose quartz being particularly valued for its properties of restoring and reinforcing love matches as well as its own uniquely pink beauty.
If you are interested in getting into lithotherapy, you can find good quality natural stones and get started without delay, there are many tutorials and blogs online that will guide you through your first steps into the world of natural healing and good health.