Chinese Balls

Meditation balls, also called "Chinese Medicine Balls", "Baoding Balls", or "Qi Gong Balls", are two small balls that can be held in one hand. When you roll them in the palm of your hand, the position of the two balls changes constantly. Initially, they remain in contact even when they are rotated. With practice, your hands eventually learn to handle these balls without touching each other. The meditation balls are supposed to improve brain function while exercising the muscles of the hand. According to some literature, they help reduce stress, so they can be called "stress balls".

These balls are often referred to as "meditation balls," but their use is more focused on stress reduction, relaxation, and strength and dexterity training. Nevertheless, they can be used as a complement to sitting meditation, and help focus during the practice of breathing cycles.


The history of Qi Gong balls

Chinese balls, or Baoding balls, date back to the Ming Dynasty. It is said that they originate from the small town of Baoding, in a plain of Northern China, and that they constitute one of the "treasures of Baoding". Their followers came from various classes of society, including emperors and the poor. Before these balls appeared, people used nuts, for example, which they rolled in their hands. This continued until they began to make them. They were made of iron and could also be used as weapons.

Nowadays, several materials are used to make Chinese balls, including marble, stone, jade, and agate. Most are made of steel and are usually hollow inside; when handled, they produce a pleasant chime sound. Balls vary in weight and texture.

Artisans often choose to work with metal, as metal Baoding balls can be engraved with different patterns. The beautiful handmade designs that decorate the balls represent characters and symbols associated with health, harmony, well-being and a multitude of positive energies. The stone balls are strong and much heavier; most people use them to exercise the muscles of their hands. Since they tend to chip when dropped, they should be handled with care.

In popular culture, these Chinese balls can be found in a number of movies around the world, including the Chinese movie Fearless (with Jet Li), Labyrinth, the X-Men movie franchise, the series The Pacific and Orphan Black.

Thus, Baoding's balls are much more than just ordinary stress balls. It is an invention that relates to the oriental history of Qi, having merged with the practice of traditional Chinese medicine. Older than the Great Wall of China, their popularity continues to grow worldwide due to the many benefits they provide for the mind, body and environment.


Benefits of Chinese balls

It is not for nothing that the Chinese have been using relaxation balls for centuries. It is common that Chinese doctors sometimes use Baoding balls to patients who suffer from fatigue, it is believed that these balls seem to activate different acupressure points located in the palm of the hand. This improves the patient's internal energy flow.

Patients using stress balls reported significant benefits, including :

• Relaxation of joints and muscles
• Stress and anxiety relief
• A better memory
• Improving the quality of sleep

The surfaces of some meditation balls have tiny bumps. When these bumps come into contact with the skin, the pressure is supposed to improve blood circulation. Baoding balls are also used in some forms of physical therapy, such as improving dexterity and exercising the muscles around the wrists, hands and arms. Some people claim that prolonged use of these balls even improves memory and sharpens intelligence!




The effects of Chinese balls

Qi Gong balls have various effects on the body and our daily environment. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

For the mind : When your mind is stressed, you have difficulty concentrating and relaxing. Stress can cause you to age faster and the effects on your health are very negative. Baoding balls are unique, and the way you use them is very rhythmic and relaxing. The movement of the balls is particularly soothing and releases beneficial energy by stimulating the acupressure points. The Chinese balls can also have musical chimes. When they are spun, they produce a soft melody that helps you to concentrate for your meditation in order to reach a state of fullness and harmony.

For a healthy body: In our modern world, Baoding balls are probably more relevant today than they were in the past. Our daily life imposes repetitive and tiring movements on our body. Joints and muscles are at risk of injury from overexertion, working at the office, outdoors, or during other activities. This leads to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve damage, etc. Baoding balls stretch tendons and muscles, and make the muscles work synergistically so that none of them are overused. Movement during exercise increases circulation and reduces inflammation of the nerves. They also incorporate the healing effects of Chinese medicine by targeting the meridians of your hand.

For a stronger body: Just as there are Baoding balls ideal for stress management, Qi Gong balls are also designed for hand strength and coordination. In ancient times, stone or iron balls were used to strengthen hands and arms. They were often used with martial arts. Today, we still find stone balls, the iron ones having been replaced by steel, which is much more popular with the general public. People interested in improving strength and dexterity would start working with two balls and increase the speed or number of balls they could practice with. There are methods and techniques for working with more than 5 balls in one hand.

For a long life: China's oldest emperor, Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, attributed his long life to his daily practice of Baoding balls. They were prescribed by his personal physician, and the results were one of the main reasons for the spread of this practice in China, and later the world. A healthier mind and body are beneficial to improve your longevity, and less stress will make you feel younger.

For decoration: Baoding balls can be real works of art, often given as gifts to the elderly. These balls are meticulously hand-crafted by craftsmen, with beautiful patterns and hand painting. Another technique is to hand engrave elegant patterns on metal balls. They are then functional and beautiful to look at. Similarly, Baoding balls made from gemstones such as jade can be particularly stunning and eye-catching pieces when placed in your home. They will also bring the positive metaphysical energy of the gemstone. Thus, like feng shui, beauty triggers positive feelings and positive changes.




How to use the Zen Meditation Balls?

If you want to use Qi Gong balls on a daily basis, roll them in your palm - this will send positive signals to your brain and make it easier to get rid of thoughts that make you anxious or worried. Experienced ball handlers are able to spin 3 or 4 balls at the same time. Dexterity and concentration are enhanced as the degree of difficulty increases, and people's hands become noticeably stronger.

Thus, the basic exercise consists of holding a pair of Baoding balls in the palm of one hand, rotating them (by inverting the relative position of the two balls) while maintaining constant contact between them.

Once this technique is mastered, the speed of rotation can be gradually increased until the balls separate in the hand. Finally, one hand can learn to rotate them completely without the balls coming into contact with each other.

An average user should be able to start with 45 mm balls and then move up to 60 mm as their muscles become accustomed to the exercise. Larger Baoding balls, between 70 mm and 100 mm, can be used. Keeping the large balls separate while spinning requires advanced skills.

The area of the hand being exercised can be altered, by changing the part of the hand on which they rotate, or by changing the direction of the balls so that more force is applied to one or more particular fingers.




Conclusion on Chinese balls

Qi Gong balls are great ways to reduce your stress and daily tensions. You can use them every day, and they will also help reduce your muscle, joint and tendon pain. Thanks to them you will control your concentration and will be able to face, in a positive way, many hazards of life.