Chinese Therapy Balls – Hollow Silver with Chimes
Uses: Flexibility, Limberness, Stress Relief
Chinese Therapy Balls, also commonly known as Baoding Balls, Chinese Exercise Balls, Chinese Therapy Balls, Chinese Stress Balls, and Chinese Health Balls originated in Baoding, China. a small town in the Heibei province, during the Ming Dynasty. They are great for musicians, computer users, athletes, magicians, gamers, surgeons and anybody else who uses their hands extensively. The Chinese Thearapy Balls are designed to help relieve stress while building finger dexterity and wrist and forearm strength.
Baoding balls are usually hollow and made from chrome-plated steel, with most containing a chime. People sometimes call these chime balls or harmony balls. You will find that Baoding Balls can come with many designs crafted onto them. The cloisonne balls usually have hand made designs which depict symbols or characters related to harmony, health, and other positive forces.
Baoding balls are usually used for exercise and meditation, but are also good when employed for medical reasons. To use them for exercise, place two Baoding balls within your palm then rotate them clockwise and counterclockwise. Gravity will help you keep on controlling the balls. There are many exercises possible. One is trying to not to let the balls touch one another during manipulation, as advanced users do. Such users of Baoding balls can frequently use more than two balls at one time. Manipulating the balls in your hand not only exercises hand muscles, but forearm and shoulder muscles as well.
Alternative Medicine advocates believe that the balls are beneficial for medical reasons when they touch pressure points or acupuncture points found all over the hand. A practitioner of western medicine would find it hard to believe that such balls have health benefits, but it helps to realize that practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that all bodily systems are linked to one another. Chinese medicine advocates believe one should not just treat symptoms but rather should examine the root cause of the symptoms. In connection, Baoding balls could be prescribed by a Chinese doctor with a patient whose internal energy or Qi has stagnated and thus, caused the problems for the patient.
The balls follow certain principles involving touching the meridians (just like in acupuncture or shiatsu massage). The meridians (known as Jingluo in Chinese traditional medical theory) act as channels or pathways via which Qi (vital energy within each person) moves throughout the body. These Jingluo meridians also feature the acupuncture points. Hence, touching each meridian will produce health benefits. Your ten fingers are interconnected with the human cranial nerve, as well as important human organs such as the intestines, stomach, gallbladder, kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver and heart. Thus, when the meridians are stimulated, there is improved circulation of vital energy and blood in our bodies.
Chinese practitioners claim that muscles remain nimble, bones are strengthened and the mind kept sober through prolonged usage of the health balls. Other benefits are blood circulates more freely, and different chronic diseases such as hypertension are kept from developing. In time (in terms of many years of practicing Baoding balls use) the brain becomes healthier and you will notice that your intelligence and memory improves. Furthermore, fatigue goes away, your worries disappear, stress is reduced, and in the end your life is extended.
Choosing a size: start with the size that’s most comfortable for you.
- XS (1.25″ / 35mm) is comfortable for young children
- S (1.5″ / 40mm) for older children, women, and men with small hands
- M (1.75″ / 45mm) for most men and women with large hands
- L (2″ / 50mm) for men with large hands
- XL (2.25″ / 55mm) for men with very large hands and for some advanced exercises.
Increase the size to increase flexibility and range of motion in your hands. Decrease the size to increase coordination.Therapist’s note: If using to improve range of motion after an injury, use various sizes to accomplish improvement. To improve extension, use larger balls. To improve flexion, use smaller balls. Solid balls can facilitate a more natural movement pattern for those with limited flexion. They also add weight, which can build strength.
History: Chinese iron balls have long been famed as one of the “three treasures” of Baoding, China . First produced during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), iron balls have often been improved through the ages by skilled Chinese handicraftsmen. Originally, these balls were simple, solid cylindrical objects. Later, handicraftsmen began designing hollow balls and inserting sounding plates that produce high and low tones when used. These lighter balls are easier to handle and the musical tones contribute to the relaxation process that results from exercising with them.
Directions: The balls are placed in one’s hand and rotated in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. This exercise will keep all of the points in one’s hands in constant motion. With the muscles in one’s fingers and forearms contracting and relaxing harmoniously. Beginners should select balls of a smaller size and then, over time, increase ball size as one’s proficiency improves. Ultimately, one can exercise both hands alternately or simultaneously and may even choose to use three or four balls in one hand.
Maintenance: The balls are made of metal and, hence, should be kept dry and clean. Although the balls are strong and durable, owners should avoid violently knocking them against each other and against other solid objects and surfaces. If one plans not to use them for a long period of time, it is advisable to coat the balls with wax or grease for maintenance and preservation.
Many people look for Chinese therapy balls as a product to help with their arthritis symptoms. People have claimed that it helps warm up the hands before they start their hand intensive activities.