Chinese Stress Balls and Your Health
What are Chinese stress balls or Baoding balls good for? There are countless options for people to reduce and relieve their stress.
As many sources of stress as there are in people’s lives, there are just as many, if not more, sources of stress relief.
From meditation to medication, nearly everyone you talk to will probably have different ideas.
One option for stress relief is the use of Chinese meditation balls.
They are also called Baoding balls or Chinese medicine balls.
Chinese meditation balls are thought to have been created during the Ming Dynasty in Baoding, China. They consist of two or more balls rotated in one hand to improve dexterity and strength. They were traditionally made of iron, so in Baoding, they are called Iron Balls.
Baoding balls are made as a pair of hollow spheres, one inside the other with a chime between them that rings when the inner ball hits it. This chime makes the balls seem to sing when being rotated in your hand.
The hollow spheres are best when used for recovery because they’re lighter, but for exercising, solid iron, steel, or tungsten balls are best because of the added weight.
There are other Baoding balls that are decorated with brass wire and Cloisonné, but these are used for purely decorative purposes since they are prone to chipping.
How to Practice
The basic exercise with Chinese meditation balls is rotating two of them in the palm of your hand, making sure to keep even and constant contact between them. This exercise can and should be performed in both directions—clockwise and counter-clockwise—to improve dexterity and strength.
This exercise can start by rotating the balls slowly, and as strength improves, the speed can be increased until the balls separate in your hand. Eventually, you’ll be able to rotate them without the balls touching at all in your hand.
Once you’re proficient with using two Baoding balls, you can add another or even two or more to further challenge yourself.
The average person should do well in starting with balls that are about 50mm in circumference. There are larger balls available, and as you increase in ability, you can try exercises with larger balls to increase strength even more. Some balls are even 100mm in circumference, making it nearly impossible to rotate them without the balls touching.
Baoding balls can also be used in alternative medicine because the exercises cause them to interact with acupuncture points on the hand. These particular acupuncture points help reduce fatigue and worry, prevent and reduce high blood pressure, help with arthritis in the hands, and reduce hand tremors, among other things.
In addition to the physical benefits of Chinese stress balls, they can also be used for meditation. The repetitive motion of rotating them in your hand, in addition to the chime used in the hollow spheres, can be relaxing, and help you clear your mind of clutter and stresses.
For some, the physical motion of using the Chinese stress balls helps release mental and emotional stress in the same way that journaling releases frustration for others.
Some may use visualization techniques to relieve stress when using Chinese stress balls. They visualize the stress being transferred from their hands into the Chinese stress balls as they rotate them.
As they become more proficient in the exercises with the Baoding balls, they also become more proficient with their visualization techniques, making the stress relief technique more effective the more it’s used.
Others may simply sit quietly and listen to the relaxing sound of the Chinese stress balls chiming together, and letting their mind be clear from stressful thoughts and worries.
Though Chinese stress balls are a specific way to reduce and relieve stress, there are many ways they can be used to do that, and each person who rotates the balls in their hand can determine the best way for them to use the stress balls to their advantage.
Stress often affects every other aspect of your life, and since there are so many options for reducing and eliminating stress, there’s no reason to simply live with it. If you are at a loss for what to try, pick up a set of Baoding balls and start rotating them in your hand. You may find it to be the best exercise you have ever done!
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