Chinese Health Balls

These Chinese health balls, officially called Baoding balls are also referred to as Chinese Exercise Balls, Chinese Therapy Balls, or Chinese Stress Balls.  In other parts of the world they are called Shou-xing or Balls of Eternal Health.  These health balls are believed to have originated in Baoding, China – a small town in the Heibei province during the reign of the Ming Dynasty.

Baoding balls are usually used for exercise and meditation, but are also good when employed for medical reasons.  The movement will stimulate acupressure points in the hands.

To use them for exercise, place two Baoding balls within your palm and rotate them clockwise or counterclockwise.  Whatever feels comfortable.  Gravity will help you keep on controlling the balls.  There are many exercises possible.  The more advanced users try not to let the balls touch one another during manipulation.

The Emperor Kwan Long of the Ching Dynasty, who reigned from 1736-1796, was advised by his physician to exercise with the balls every day.  He lived to the ripe old age of eighty-nine.  His physician only lived to the age of eighty-four.

Three levels of healing:

Every so often my neck will give me a little trouble as my spine goes out of alignment and the nerves get pinched.  Usually, I would spin the Health Balls in my hand for only three or four minutes before I would get bored.  But, after the third day I really sat down to discover how deep these things could be used as a healing device.  I literally sat down for twenty minutes rotating the balls in my right hand in a clockwise fashion.  It was only then that I noticed three stages of deeper healing within my nervous system:

  1. The neck is always adjusted first and then the governor channel opens lower down your back
  2. The functional channel begins to open and then the navel itself activates
  3. Lastly, the crown begins to rotate in a small circle and then the eyes begin to vibrate

After this extended session as I walked away, there was a different feeling in my ankles.  This indicated that the channels did open up all the way down through the legs.  Interestingly, at the fifteen to twenty-minute mark the energy seemed to shift from the navel inwards toward the center of the body.  Just slightly, I have smelled a good fragrance emitting from my body.  I’m excited to continue practicing to discover more about these additional effects.

Decide which balls to purchase:

In the beginning, it has been said that walnuts were used for hand training.  I find that you could even do the movements without anything in your palm and notice an effect.  The balls that have bells in them are fine but could prove annoying if you prefer silence.  I suggest the ones made out of gemstone or solid boading balls are more suitable.

I chose the white stone.  A slightly smaller size is easier to manipulate.  The stones have a cooling effect which is real nice since your hand will generate warmth that these balls tend to absorb.

The heat and circulation that develops with this practice follow the right principles of obtaining good and proper health.  So I thought it would be good to share this therapy with others who might be suffering.

Get into a routine:

Set up a routine for yourself.  Decide to practice daily for 5, 10 or 20 minutes at a time.  Then work at it for a few months and see how your body changes.  I wouldn’t exceed more than two sessions a day.  Drink a glass of water after the session to cleanse your body.

If you have core issues that you are working on due to a specific traumatic incident then go lightly with this practice.  The nervous system is very delicate and it needs proper time to adjust to the new movements.  It would be an excellent idea to work seven days in a row and then take three to five days off.  Since the exercise is quite powerful it could make you too introverted and moody.

If too much pain and uncomfortable feelings surface – STOP practice.  Do NOT combine this practice with any other for some time so you can discern which is giving you health benefits or problems.

It is most important to pay attention to your body’s need to heal and adjust with a thorough rest period.  I found that after seven days of continuous practice, you need at least two or three days rest so that you can calm down and return to a natural state of mind.

Keep resting till your attention is off the body and you smile and extrovert.  After a session, close your eyes for a while until the eyes stop vibrating.  Continue the practice once a day for five or seven days.  Then take a break for a few days.  Repeat this routine as needed or desired.

Beyond twenty minutes:

The second session of the day I intended to go past the twenty minute mark.  After many months of use I never pushed myself this far.  As I rotated these balls in my palm, I kept feeling interesting changes occur within my body.  I decided to do up to thirty minutes total just to see what other benefits would come through this practice.

At the twenty-three minute mark a cool yin energy was felt emanating out of my navel and lasted for the remaining seven minutes of practice!

I rotated these boading balls clockwise (without them touching each other) and got this wonderful cooling effect.  I suspect if they are rotated counter-clockwise I would feel a warming effect.  After this session I felt light and had a certain “spring” to my step.  To top it off, I even had a nice rosy complexion.

Remember: this little exercise is a serious chi-kung practice and will work muscles and nerves you never used before so be mindful to give yourself enough rest in between sessions.  Don’t overdo it!

NOTE: sit low on the floor with a rug or on the couch in case you drop them.  They will break or scratch if you are not mindful of this.



Filed under Physical Health

4 responses to “Chinese Health Balls

  1. Jill

    Awesome, thanks for sharing your experience!


    • This will definitely help you strengthen your hands for your massage practice. I hope it also helps your friends and family and everyone. Pass it on to others because I found very little information in the West about this wonderful exercise.

      Most people just “play with it” for a few minutes and then put it down – not really knowing its positive benefits. It would be very useful to those with motor-skill problems and developmentally delayed children.


  2. David Sollars

    Great write up on Chinese Health Balls. I’ve used Tai Qi ruler, sword, ball and never gave much thought to working with the most practical and portable tools, the health balls. They all seem to have a common thread in that they exercise Qi channels throughout local and systemic regions. Thank you for sharing you knowledge.


    • I haven’t tried the ruler, sword or ball. It would seem there are many useful methods that the ancient Chinese masters have handed down in order to build up strength. Even modern day healers have come up with very simple finger-movements to build new neural patterns and heal the nervous system.


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