This guide has everything you need to know about Baoding meditation balls.
If you’re new to using meditation balls, these balls are also commonly referred to as Chinese exercise balls, health balls, and zen balls.
If you want to understand the history of Baoding meditation balls, understand how to use them and determine which meditation balls you should purchase, you’ll love this guide.
Meditation balls have been used for centuries to ease the flow of chi by activating various acupuncture points.
Equally, they can be used to build the muscular strength and dexterity of your hands. They’re great as (slightly unusual) gifts and a real pleasure to use because of their wonderfully tactile quality.
History of Meditation Balls
Baoding meditation balls take their name from the town in which they are believed to have been first made, Baoding in north-west China. Many of these meditation balls are still manufactured in that area.
They were originally made of iron but manufacturing methods today favor stone, jade stainless steel, and chrome (amongst others). Their relationship with acupuncture is a strong one.
It is believed that using the balls gently adds pressure to certain “acupressure” points, resulting in the cleansing of chi energy pathways. This helps facilitate healing of the whole body.
Short Reviews of Our Picks
These large green jade balls are larger 2-inch balls (around 50mm). They’re my top choice, especially for men with larger hands, because I like their larger design and the simple green jade, from an area in north-east China called Xiuyan.
They weigh in (together) at between 11 and 15 ounces.
These solid stainless steel meditation balls are much smaller than the large green jade balls listed above. They’re a good choice for people with smaller hands, often kids and females at only 1.25-inches wide, approximately 30mm.
They’re very well made and of good weight. Although, since they’re smaller they may be unsuitable for larger hands unless you plan to use multiple balls at once.
These balls are approximately 38mm (1.5-inches wide) and come in a beautiful brown box. They’re also very well-priced for what you’re getting.
The zen balls themselves are on the smaller end of the spectrum and have a soft chime in the middle, which results in a very pleasant sound whilst you’re using them.
They’re 1.5-inches wide (38mm), so they’re not too large for people with small hands. Also, the sound of the balls can be very soothing.
The Quick Guide to Using Baoding Balls
I recommend that you start with only two meditation balls. Newbies should start with smaller balls and later move to larger balls as your skill level increases.
Next, do what feels natural.
Circulate the balls in the direction that feels natural to you. After mastering circulate the Baoding balls in one direction, learn to circulate the balls in the opposite direction.
You should learn to circulate the balls in either direction after practicing. Once you’re more experienced, see if you can rotate the balls without them touching at all.
Here is the step-by-step tutorial:
- If you’re beginning, it can be best to choose a smaller set of balls (below 40mm diameter is a good reference point). If you have larger hands, then anything above 40mm will be suitable. You may have a preference, as I do, for larger balls and that’s absolutely fine too.
- Hold one ball with your pinky finger and ring finger, and hold the other ball with your remaining three fingers.
- At the same time, push the ball held by three fingers with your thumb and the ball held by your other two fingers towards your middle and index fingers, so that they swap places. It should be a flowing, rhythmic movement of your fingers. Practice rotating the balls so that they swap places.
- Keep practicing until there is little to no clinking of the balls.
Are There Different Baoding Ball Sizes?
Yes, Baoding balls are available in different sizes to accommodate different hand sizes. Children usually use Baoding balls that measure 35 millimeters (mm), and adults can purchase balls measuring up to 55 millimeters (mm).
For women, 35mm to 40mm balls are recommended, and 40mm to 50mm Baoding balls are suggested for men. If you plan to use more than 2 balls per hand, then I recommend purchasing smaller balls unless you are an expert.
If you’re buying Baoding balls for the first time and are struggling for a reference point in terms of diameter, bear in mind that a golf ball is 1.7 inches (43mm) wide. Remember, you can buy both solid balls and hollow ones that will gently chime.
The Benefits of Baoding Balls
The Chinese people aren’t the only ones using relaxation balls these days, but they’ve been doing it longer than anyone else.
Keep reading to learn the many reasons why, as there are many benefits of using Baoding balls:
Fatigue and Exhaustion: Chinese healers and doctors often suggest Baoding balls to anyone that lacks energy, meaning they feel tired. The thinking is that these handballs trigger various pressure points in the palms of the patient’s hands. As a result, Qi begins flowing freely again.
Stress and Anxiety Relief: Extended use of Chinese medicine balls provides users multiple benefits for the nervous system. These include heightened intelligence and enhance memory with corresponding decreases in stress and anxiety. This all helps physical joints and muscles relax more.
Physical Therapy: These balls are useful for physical therapy patients in many cases. They can use them to work out the tissues in the hands, wrists, and arms.
Better Sleep: Users who have trouble falling asleep or aren’t getting good sleep can expect both to improve.
Intentional Ball Designs
Commonly known as Chinese medicine balls, Baoding balls, or meditation balls, although these balls may also be marketed as zen meditation balls.
Some of them come with tiny bumps on the surfaces rather than being completely smooth. A number of those in the meditation community say that the “bumps” create pressure during skin contact which promotes better blood circulation.
Some balls are still made by hand, featuring elaborate artwork highlighting symbols and characters regarded as conveying feelings of good health, prosperity, and positive energy.
Also, these balls have shown up in pop culture as ‘worry’ balls, as seen in many films and television shows. Chinese audiences might remember them from Fearless, whereas American and British audiences might recognize them in Labyrinth, The Pacific, Orphan Black, and the films of the X-Men movie franchise.
What’s Inside Chinese Baoding Balls?
Now, it’s your turn.
Do you use Baoding balls? How long was your learning curve?
Leave a comment to let us know your experience using mediation balls.