Crystal therapy lights
When I step into reiki practitioner Georgiana Monckton's in-home studio, I'm struck by its warmth: it feels entirely separate from the rest of the world. There are candles flickering, book-lined walls, snug blankets on-hand and a purple amethyst stone the size of a small stool (she says it's healing the whole of Fulham!) But among the cosiness is something that looks rather more medical. Fixed to the floor is a white table with a metal bar over the top on which sharp, clear crystals hang neatly in a line.
Monckton added the Crystal Light Therapy Bed to her practice at the end of last year. These sessions begin with 20 minutes of reiki focusing on the head ("to get you into a receptive zone") followed by 30 minutes under the crystals lights. First used by Brazil's Joao de Deus healing community (a centre founded by trance medium Joao Teixeira de Faria in the Seventies), they've become popular in American wellness centres, like New York's Modrn Sanctuary, where you can slip from a self-love workshop into a light-therapy session and then head back to work.
The bed consists of seven Vogel quartz crystals - a method of cutting stones designed by scientist and crystal enthusiast Marcel Vogel in the Seventies - that hang 12 inches above the client. Each crystal, Monckton tells me, is cut to a specific frequency (crystal devotees believe the stones vibrate at different frequencies, according to colour, cut and density). The coloured lights that shine through them match the colours of the seven chakras of the body, the same spectrum that we see in rainbows. "If our chakras are out of balance then we become ill," Monckton explains. 'The crystals clean and realign your energy. I tell my clients to come with specific things to ask for help with. This can be a bad knee or a relationship that you want healed."
When it comes to trying the bed, I am ready to squeeze in a nap under some soft, dancing lights, but the energy overload that follows takes me by surprise. The reiki sends me into a trance as I feel heat pour from Monckton's hands and float around my head. For a first-time reiki-goer this is spooky enough, but when Monckton places a mask over my eyes, flicks the crystal lights on and leaves the room (she says her presence would interfere), things get weirder.
My body begins to feel heavy, weighted to the bed, as I become hyper aware of the coloured lights pulsating above me. At one point I swear I am floating in mid-air. There are moments I can feel intense pressure shooting into my chest, a sensation that persists even after Monckton returns and the lights are switched off. Peeling my eyes open, I climb shakily off the bed overcome with emotion. "Where is the bathroom, please?" I croak over the lump forming in my throat Monckton nods, as we talk about my experience. "It's so powerful. Some clients feel the energy swooping through their bodies, others feel tingling, some feel heat," she says pointing out my cheeks had turned rosy. She invites me to touch the crystals, which are icily cold. "The more open you are, the more you don’t overthink it, the more you will feel," she adds. I float home on a cloud of calm and spend the evening listening to meditation music, keen to stay connected to the peace I'd found.