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Baoding balls are also known as Chinese therapy balls or harmony balls.
Image Credit: Vladyslav Danilin/iStock/GettyImages

The purpose of Baoding balls is to help relieve stress while building finger dexterity and wrist and forearm strength. Known also as Chinese therapy balls or harmony balls, these relaxation tools are portable and relatively easy to use. Start with simple techniques, then build up to more advanced moves.


Shopping for Baoding Balls

Choose a set of Baoding balls that fits your hand and experience level. For most people, smaller sets work best when first starting out, but if your hand is larger, you might feel more comfortable with a set designed for more advanced users.

Buy a set of Baoding balls that measure 35 to 40 millimeters if you have an average to small hand, or 40 to 50 millimeters if you have a larger hand. Baoding balls use millimeters for measurement, but a 40-millimeter ball is equivalent to just over 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

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Getting Started With Baoding Balls

  1. Hold both Baoding balls in one hand.
  2. Place one between your pinkie and ring finger and hold the other with your remaining three fingers.
  3. Push the balls simultaneously. Move the ball from your pinkie and ring finger up toward your middle and index fingers, and push the ball from your thumb area toward your pinkie. Gravity assists in this movement; most people naturally hold their hand at a slight angle with the pinkie side tilted down. When you push a ball down with your thumb, it automatically rolls to the low end of your palm, allowing your pinkie to grab it.
  4. Move the top ball from your index finger to your thumb, pushing it down toward your pinkie as you rotate the second ball up from your pinkie and ring finger to your middle and index finger.
  5. Continue this rotation, trying not to drop either Baoding ball. The balls will clink together and make noise while you're learning the rotation technique.
  6. Practice rotating the balls until they no longer clink together; the proper form requires there to be space between the two balls you're rotating without making noise.
  7. When you've perfected the form in the first direction, increase the difficulty by rotating them in the opposite direction. They might clink together again at first, but as your dexterity increases, you learn to space them out so they don't touch.

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Practice with both hands to build dexterity and forearm strength equally.

Add intensity to your time with the Baoding balls by using larger, heavier balls or adding another ball. With a third ball, you can rotate it along with the original two or hold it in the middle, rotating the other balls around it without allowing it to fall.

The History of Baoding Balls

Baoding balls are thought to have originated from the small town of Baoding in the North China Plain, according to the meditation platform Mindworks. It's thought people used walnuts to train their hands instead of the balls as we know them today, according to

Today, some relaxation balls are made out of gemstones that are thought to have certain healing properties or feature intricate carvings or symbols to bring prosperity, peace and longevity.


There's no one-size-fits-all answer to how long you should use Baoding balls. You can continue the exercise until you feel less stressed. Some proponents say using them for 10 to 15 minutes is plenty to start to feel the wrist and arm workout.




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