Neck deep in this hellscape of a year, I’ve found it more difficult than ever to deal with not only the isolation and the insurmountable, collective loss brought on by the pandemic, but also the general expectation to be productive and carry on with daily life as if everything is fine. And if we’re being honest, the weekend park walks and Zoom happy hours just don’t cut through the drudgery anymore. So in an attempt to find any new avenue for renewing my mental and physical wellbeing, I turned to an ancient practice that promised all of these things and more: crystal healing.

While I have shown a proclivity for certain pseudosciences (read: an unhealthy astrology obsession), I’m still a skeptic in most senses when it comes to anything outside of the empirical realm (very Virgo of me, I know). So I’d never given much serious thought to the stunning little stones said to possess healing abilities—let alone a proper session from a pro.

According to a 2016 study, however, my generation (we’re talking about millennials) is increasingly spurning conventional wellness options in favor of alternative therapies. In that spirit—and in search of any kind of respite from this past year—I tapped a local healer to help me see for myself whether there’s more power to these beautiful crystals than meets the eye.

Note: 5280 encourages you to do your own research and consider consulting with your doctor before engaging in alternative medicine practices.

How Does Crystal Healing Work?

Crystal healing involves placing precious stones on and around a person to clear all of the negative energy that’s worked its way into one’s bodies—that’s right, we have more than just our physical body. Crystal healing works on our mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies, as well. And as Natalie Franks, certified healer and owner of Colorado-based Crystalline Collective, describes it, the goal is to restore balance and harmony throughout these bodies. Franks, who would eventually conduct a healing session on me for this story, works from her shop in Englewood and also travels around the Front Range performing this practice.

“Crystals have a scientifically measurable vibrational frequency that we use in many applications in our world today,” Franks says. Take quartz, for example, which Franks notes is used in high-end watches to ensure precise timekeeping and in microchips for its unmatched storage capabilities. These unique, innate properties of various crystal formations are harnessed for healing, too. When a healer places their hands on those stones, this activates the crystals and transmits the necessary energy, or electricity, from that crystal into a client’s energy body—the field of energy that surrounds each of us, which is composed of our seven chakras and invisible to most of our non-clairvoyant eyes.

Think of the process like you would tuning an instrument—or how a masseuse works their magic for massage therapy.

Natalie Franks of Crystalline Collective. Photo courtesy of Natalie Franks

“When we massage the physical body, we’re releasing toxins and fluids from the muscles and connective tissues,” Franks says, pointing out that massage therapy is aimed at alleviating tension and discomfort in the physical body. “Same is true of the energy body. We walk around and we accumulate [blockages] in our energy body. And crystal healing can bring the relaxed state and the clarity to the energy body to move forward in a clearer mind and a clearer energetic state, [to help us] in how we navigate our lives.”

There is little scientific evidence on the efficacy of crystal healing, though some scientists have suggested the soothing sensations experienced from using crystals are largely the result of a placebo effect. Whether or not the crystal healing truly boils down to the power of science or suggestion, awareness itself does seems to be a major factor that this healing modality hinges upon. As Franks is quick to note for any skeptics: “A person can only benefit from energy healing to the degree that they’re open to receive it.”

Is Crystal Healing Right for Me?

First, we want to make it crystal clear (sorry, I just had to do it!) that you should consult a licensed health care provider if you are experiencing a medical, mental, or emotional condition. But if you’re open and able to try something new, Franks suggests crystal healing for myriad troubles—whether you’re seeking relief from physical pains and chronic inflammation, or mental and emotional ailments like insomnia, anxiety, depression, or simply an overactive mind. She likens crystal healing to any other form of preventative care in that clients don’t just have to come in when something has gone awry.

Franks notes, however, that her mission is not one of intuitive dependence. “My outlook is a holistic one in that I want to assist you on your healing journey,” she says. “My goal is to teach people the tools in these sessions to be able to heal themselves.”

What is Crystal Healing Like?

Franks was very considerate from the beginning of my session with her, asking for explicit consent around certain aspects of the session when I arrived, and going over any physical, mental, or emotional issues beforehand that I wanted to have her address. I noted a few areas of physical distress and told Franks that I’ve also been feeling exhausted, withdrawn, and depressed for some time now—some of these feelings lingering from before the pandemic, but all exacerbated in the last year.

With that information in hand, Franks got right to it. Lying on the table, my session began with some deep-breathing exercises, while she opened my chakras—the main energy centers that correspond with certain nerve bundles or major organs in our body—and became attuned to my energy. My only job was to continue focusing on my deep breathing, essentially entering a meditative state, which naturally made the entire session a pretty relaxing process. She then started laying the basic stones on the areas of my seven chakras: the crown, the third eye, the throat, the heart, the solar plexus, the sacral, and the root chakra.

A client in a crystal healing session with Crystalline Collective. Photo courtesy of Natalie Franks

From here, Franks familiarized herself with my energy body around each of these different chakras, sharing observations with me aloud, including, among many other findings, that I have a very big heart (can I get this in writing?), that I’m very methodical and arguably over analytical in the way I navigate life (can confirm), and that I’m bottling in negative emotions to an extreme extent (getting eerily accurate here).

While Franks was busy pinpointing exactly what made me tick, I fell further into a state of relaxation, and she placed more stones around these areas of my energy body that needed work—in other words, where blockages were occurring, and the flow needed to be restored. (Think throat chakra, for more speaking up and less bottling in, or the flow between my crown and my heart chakra, so as to help me find balance in the way I lead my life with logic and emotion.) The hope is that in restoring the proper flow of my energy body, I can feel less withdrawn and reenergized, and get back to living my life in a clear state of mind, with the good energy flowing in and the negative flowing out.

As Franks spoke, she offered plenty of practical advice for some of these snags in my system. But I must admit, whatever shifts she was initiating in my energy body felt largely undetectable at the time to my untrained mind. The only noticeable phenomenon came toward the end of our session when she dangled a crystal point over certain chakras, which created an immediate warm vibrating sensation through the stones on my body—almost as if someone was just beginning to fry a little egg on my chest.

Franks made some final adjustments to the blocks in my energy body, and as we eased our way out of the session, I sat up feeling like my body had just emerged from a year-long slumber.

Was It Worth It?

Whether or not this session immediately realigned my mental and physical woes, Franks did note that it can take time for the changes to fully integrate. If anything, however, I feel like the experience has made me more self-aware, and brought a sense of clarity to the way I’m handling the stressors in my day-to-day life. Plus, I did get an unusually deep night of sleep after our session, which Franks says is very common.

While it’s tough to say after just one session if crystal healing is worth it, it’s still quite powerful to feel seen and heard by someone without having to say a single word—and I can certainly see how, if you remain open to the process, continuing a journey with the practice would set you forward on a path to create your own peace and wellbeing.

If you try it: 3597 S Pearl St, Suite 101, Englewood; sessions starting at $150; For an initial consultation or to find more information on Crystalline Collectives’ traveling services, custom pendants, and more, visit

Madi Skahill
Madi Skahill
Madi Skahill is 5280’s former associate digital editor.