Baoding balls, also commonly known as Chinese Exercise Balls, Chinese Therapy Balls, Chinese Stress Balls, and Chinese Health Balls are believed to have originated in Baoding, China, a small town in the Heibei province, during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. In Baoding, the balls were once dubbed Chinese Iron Balls, since at first the Baoding balls were made from iron.
Nowadays, Baoding balls are made from many kinds of materials yet remain light to carry. They are usually hollow and made from chrome-plated steel, with most containing a chime within as well. People sometimes call these chime balls or harmony balls. You will find that Baoding Balls can come with many designs crafted onto them. These 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.
Certain Baoding balls were made with small bumps; such balls are dubbed health balls. The small bumps are known to boost the circulation of the blood while acting to relax joints and muscles. Disorders such as hypertension, arthritis of the fingers and wrists, as well as numbness and trembling of the hands can be prevented and improved through the use of chinese health balls.
Most merchants of Baoding balls will inform you that 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.
One advocate of Baoding balls noted that one week of usage of the balls is not enough time to check out the effectivity of this health tool so far as preventive health care is concerned. In addition, the balls are not meant to be used as a first-aid treatment for most users. However, when the Baoding balls are used as a complement of preventive health care systems (like traditional Chinese medicine), then the health benefits are maximized.
So you may find it awkward at first believing that 2 to 3 balls being rotated in your palm may be beneficial (especially for those with a western medicine background). However, Chinese traditional medicine has been around for centuries so why not give it a try? Your health might even improve because of it.