Crystals and stones are amazing healing tools if you are looking to do some gentle, yet very effective, work on any of your bodies. You can use them to compliment and regulate your chakras, to ease pain and aching, to help you build or improve upon your personal traits; the list of possibilities is endless. All you need is one or more crystals or stones of your choice, a quiet place to sit or lay down, and a few minutes of time. You can hold your healing sessions in your living room, outdoors, or even in your bath! I strongly recommend that you avoid practicing in your bedroom, or, even more importantly, in your bed. Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, and your body, mind and soul should associate that space as peaceful, restful, and a place to sleep; holding sessions may introduce energies into that environment that could interrupt your sleep and resting schedule. That being said, there are some crystals who love to help you sleep, and are a huge benefit to you when placed under your pillow at night. I will discuss those later on in this article series.To begin with, you need to choose your crystals. You can borrow a book from the library, search online, or visit a store near you to view some crystals and see how they feel to you. It is best if you are able to locate a store with knowledgeable staff who will be able to answer your questions, and who aren’t interested in pushing their opinion of what would “work” for you; at most, they should guide you to a few stones who contain energies that would compliment your needs, still allowing you to choose the crystals that you are attracted to. Your body will intuitively know which crystals would serve the highest benefits, so listen carefully to the signals it give you. In some cases, only a single stone will do wonders, but if you are looking to begin an ongoing “program”, you may want to consider purchasing several stones; for example, a set of 8 crystals for a basic chakra balancing.Regardless of how you choose to browse the incredible selection of crystals available to you, try not to hold expectations about what you should be looking for; in many cases, a person will choose a stone that had absolutely nothing to do with healing the specific ailment they had in mind, yet that same crystal did them a world of good by assisting with an underlying problem that they hadn’t even identified. It is also imperative that you don’t choose your stones based on how “pretty” you think they are, but that you make your choice by following your inner guidance. You may feel drawn to a certain type of stone, or you may get a tingly or warm sensation in your hands or fingers when you pick it up. Trust your inner wisdom, because your Spirit knows exactly what it needs.After you have chosen your stones, be sure that the person from whom you are buying them cleanses them for you. After they have been cleansed, it is best that you are the only one to handle them, as it helps them to become accustomed to your unique energy, and also avoids the stones from picking up random energies and negativity from other people. Once you are home, I suggest doing a second cleansing and programming of your stones, using whichever technique feels right to you; some people place their crystals in a box or bag, and bury them in their garden for a week or so. Others leave them outside overnight under a full moon, and still others will place a bowl of clean water in a clear glass bowl under the sun for 3 to 6 hours, after which time they soak the crystals in the water. Please note that some stones are water-soluble, and should not be submersed in water; if you choose to use this method with water-soluble stones, place them in a smaller clear glass container, and place the container into the bowl of water.Programming your stones is just as simple as cleansing them – it is simply the process of holding onto or focusing on a particular crystal, and making an affirmation to identify the intent and purpose for that particular one. The affirmation does not need to be perfect, eloquent or mystical; just say what comes to your mind at the time. If you are stuck for ideas, here is an example of one that I’ve used recently to program a Hematite:“I thank the Universe for bringing this Hematite to me. I ask that he draw out and absorb negativity and fear from each of my bodies, and to protect me from any outside negative energies. I also ask that this Hematite help me to ground my energies. I intend to use this Hematite to heal and to raise the quality of life for myself and for others in my orbit.”Now that you have cleansed and programmed your crystals, you are ready to begin to use them; this is the time to decide how you would like to work with your crystals. Are you interested a healing bath? A chakra balancing? A meditation? The choice is yours!