How to Use Baoding Balls

Baoding balls are a Chinese invention designed 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. Starting with simple techniques lets you build up to more advanced moves.

A baoding ball on a wooden table. (Image: Ramonespelt/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

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 large, 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.

Step 2

Hold both Baoding balls in one hand. Place one between your pinkie and ring finger and hold the other with your remaining three fingers.

Step 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.

Step 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 the middle and index finger. Continue this rotation, trying not to drop either Baoding ball. The balls should clink together while you're learning the rotation technique.

Step 5

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. 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.

Step 6

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.

Tip

Practice with both hands to build dexterity and strength equally.

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