Whether you’re a Tai Chi fanatic or just like a bit of meditation, you might have heard of Baoding balls.
Also referred to as Chinese Medicine Balls, these handheld heroes are the perfect tool for calming yourself down and preparing to access inner peace.
Not only that, but they are also great at helping you recover after a muscle injury, as well as improve your natural dexterity and fine motor skills, much like we would use a stress ball in the Western world.
This is another Asian fascination which I discovered in my trips through Asia years ago but something which is not commonly used in the West.
But how do you know which ones to get?
Don’t worry - I’ve got you covered, with five of my favorite sets right here.
Covering a variety of different styles and materials, with some chiming pairs and others that are silent, hopefully, you’ll find one that takes your fancy.
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Top 3 Best Choice Boading Balls
OUR TOP PICK
Constructed using only premium stainless steel that has been additionally hardened for extreme durability, these Baoding balls from Top Chi are, well, top notch!
Never succumbing to rust, corrosion or chipping, they’ll stay in perfect condition forever.
Their 1.5 inch size means that whether you’re a Baoding beginner or a Tai Chi master, you should be able to figure out how to rotate them easily.
Great for amateurs and professionals alike, you can start out slow and speed up as you go!
Weighing just over a pound in weight, they aren’t especially heavy, but not so light that you won’t feel the benefits of using them right away.
Plus, given they come in a convenient travel bag, you can take them with you anywhere.
Unlike traditional Baoding sets, these balls are in fact solid, not hollow.
They still work just as well, but don’t make the little chiming noise, as there’s nothing rolling around inside of them.
This can be good for those who prefer meditative silence!
Those with hands on the larger side might prefer a bigger set, but you could always buy multiple pairs and try to incorporate three, even four balls, into your rotation.
Now that’s dedication to your training!
- Perfectly sized to work for any user, beginner or otherwise
- Good weight that compromises being light enough to travel with and heavy enough to rotate well
- Made using hardened stainless steel - won’t corrode, rust or chip, ever
- Silent, with no chime, so great if you prefer quiet when meditating
- Those who have experience with Baoding balls might prefer a bigger set
- They are quite light so if you are strong you'll need a heavier weight to get any benefit.
Very much reminiscent of traditional Baoding balls, this pair from JapanBargain might not come directly from the Ming dynasty, but they certainly look like they could!
Lightweight yet sturdy, they make a great pair for beginners to the practice.
Much like the original meditation sets, these have internal chimes that ring whilst you rotate, providing a soothing sound to focus your thoughts on.
This is especially useful for those who find it difficult to concentrate when trying to clear their mind.
Not only do you get two large, light balls to meditate with, but a gorgeous little storage box to display them in, too!
When you’re not using them to calm down, they can be a striking piece of decoration in any room, sure to start conversations.
Though they are made of base metal - a kind of steel commonly found in jewelry making - these Baoding balls have a shiny, almost chrome-like exterior that’s beautiful to look at.
It should stay as such forever, too, since metal doesn’t chip!
Whatever your plans for them: soothing arthritic hands, trying to get rid of carpal tunnel side effects, strengthening your muscles, or just some good old fashioned meditation, they make a fantastic addition to your routine.
- Arrives in a gorgeous Oriental style storage box
- Beautifully shiny and unlikely to scratch or tarnish
- Chimes inside that ring as you rotate for a soothing effect
- Base metal construction designed with durability in mind
- Box color varies and cannot be chosen
- Made from base metals which is not traditional so if you're looking for tradition first and foremost these may not be the best fit.
Beautifully made using absolutely gorgeous blue corundum marble, this is a unique pair of Baoding balls from THY Collectibles that you would expect to cost triple the price.
Lucky for you, they’re stunning AND affordable - what’s not to like!
Approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, it’s an excellent starter size if you’ve never used meditation balls before, but you’re also sure to find them enjoyable if you’re an expert, too!
Versatile and convenient, anyone can pick them up and have a try.
Composed solidly, they aren’t hollow in the middle like many balls are, so you don’t get the inclusion of a chime.
If you’d rather have that, then look elsewhere, but these are just as successful for meditating even though they work in silence.
As well as being just lovely to look at on their own, they also arrive in a well made, sturdy storage box that’s equally as pretty.
Not using them right now?
Display on your mantelpiece or in another prominent position as tasteful decor!
Ideal for those with smaller hands, but still carrying plenty of weight for a good muscle workout, they offer the best of both worlds.
And in spite of that smaller price tag, they feel dense and expensive, as though they were from an antique store.
- Stunning solid marble craftsmanship you won’t be able to take your eyes off
- Gorgeous storage box with every purchase, at no extra cost
- Perfectly sized for smaller than average hands
- Solid and sturdy, without an internal chime
- These balls rotate silently, so be sure to get a different set if you want the ringing noise!
- More aimed at beginners due to their size than experts.
Handcrafted using stunning rosewood, this pair of Baoding balls from BCQLI is one of the prettiest on our list.
Naturally textured and made using solid wood, every single pair is one of a kind with its own unique texture and color pattern.
Weighing only 0.2 lbs, they’re lightweight enough to roll around your hands easily, but don’t feel so light they’ll run off, like some competing pairs.
At two inches in diameter, they are a universal size that should fit in the palm of any hand.
Being solid, you don’t get the ringing noise that comes from an internal chime.
Some people prefer a silent meditation, so if you’d prefer not to hear those sounds when using your Baoding balls, these are the ones for you.
Equally as gorgeous as the balls themselves is the storage box they arrive in.
It might be made of plastic, but unless you’re holding it in your hands, it looks like a one of a kind, ornate wooden chest.
Great to display in rooms with Oriental decor!
If you’ve purchased meditation balls in the past but struggled to find a pair big enough for you, these might be what you’re looking for.
However, reviews indicate that people with smaller hands could prefer a different pair to start off with at first.
- Arrive in a lovely storage box, equally as attractive
- Solid rosewood construction, no chimes
- On the larger side, working well for folks with bigger hands
- Naturally textured, so every pair is different and unique to the owner
- Wood is not as durable as metal, so these may well chip over time and with continuous use
Last but most certainly not least are these decorative Baoding balls from fengshuisale, each one being royal blue in color and adorned with a beautiful phoenix and dragon design in vibrant pillar box red.
Choose between three different diameters depending on the size of your hands: for Baoding beginners and those with smaller palms, the 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) pair is recommended before moving on to larger sets in the future.
Thanks to strong and stable metal construction, these balls are designed to last for years to come.
Lightweight enough for successful rotation, whilst being heavy enough that holding them is soothing, they’re a great first pair for newbies.
Given their price point, you might expect these Baoding balls to feel cheap and flimsy, but as customers have pointed out, they are actually of surprisingly good quality.
You could probably pass these off as a much more expensive gift!
Each pair comes with a storage box, though reviews seem to indicate that this is flimsy and not especially useful.
That said, it looks attractive in the pictures and would make an elegant display piece if you want to put them on show.
- Choose the size that’s right for you from three options
- Decently constructed with metal and soothing internal chimes
- Beautiful appearance, red oriental design printed over bold blue
- Arrive in a decorative box for safekeeping
- The storage box is on the flimsy side so if you plan to use it for decorative purposes you might want to choose another set.
Best Baoding Balls Buying Guide
Baoding Balls - What Are They, Why Use Them?
Traditionally made from iron and found to exist as early as the Ming dynasty, Baoding balls are round metal spheres, hollow on the inside and empty save for an internal marble or similarly small, round, and solid ball.
As the whole thing moves, this mini marble collides with the sides of the external sphere, creating what you’d recognize as a ‘chiming’ sound when the balls are rolling around in your hand - there isn’t actually a tiny bell inside, ringing!
You’ll also find they come in a variety of sizes and materials - fancier pairs are crafted using solid jade, marble, agate or other precious stones.
There are also lighter versions made from wood, which are better used in muscle therapy sessions.
Essentially, you take your pair of Baoding balls and hold their weight in the palm of your hand; then, it’s all about rotation, spinning the two balls around each other in an orbit-like movement, whilst ensuring they never stop touching.
It sounds tricky, but you can go as slowly as you like until you master this initial technique, then speed things up once you get better.
Once speed is thrown into the mix, you can learn to rotate the two balls around each other without them touching!
Which area of your hand you are focusing on is up to you - just decide where you’re rotating the balls around and which fingers take the brunt of their force as you rotate them.
They can be extremely beneficial when recovering from a hand or arm injury!
You’ll eventually figure out how to rotate both balls in one hand, keeping them separate effortlessly - you can even add more balls into the mix if you want to make things trickier or build up more strength in those hand muscles.
It’s recommended that you begin with a 1.8 inch (45mm) set of balls and then upgrade to a 2.4 inch pair (60mm) once your hands are used to those first ones.
You can get larger balls between 2.8 and 3.9 inches, but these are reserved for experts!
Tips For Mastering Baoding Rotation
Pick the right size and weight for you: whilst most balls are of a similar size and heaviness, they can vary across different sellers.
Depending on how many you’d like to use at once, you should aim for a size that fits well in your hand and doesn’t feel as light as say, a ping pong ball, but isn’t so heavy that rotation proves difficult.
Find a material you like: everyone has their own preferences, and whilst traditionally Baoding balls were hollow metal spheres, nowadays they can be found in a variety of materials, from marble and jade to hand carved wood!
You might have a preference for a certain material just based on how it feels, but some are slippier than others for instance, and can be easier to slide across your palm.
It’s all about try and error!
Keep practicing and stay calm: even though some people might pick up the skill straight away, it’s not that easy for everybody, especially if you’re recovering from an injury or suffering with carpal tunnel.
Don’t give up and you’ll eventually master rotation… then you can work on doing it even faster!
Plus, you’re supposed to be meditating here, so getting angry that you can’t do it just defeats the purpose entirely.
Best Baoding Balls - FAQ's
Are Baoding Balls Supposed To Touch?
The whole point of this dexterous exercise is to keep them apart, rotating around each other seamlessly without a collision.
However, absolute beginners may not be able to do this at first and will have to start with contact rotation initially.
Once you’ve mastered rotating them around whilst they’re still touching, try speeding up your rotation technique.
This should naturally move the balls apart as they spin, and then you need to figure out how to keep them that way!
Don’t worry if you’re struggling at first - it takes years of practice for some people to master this skill, and those with smaller hands are already at a disadvantage, with less space to balance on.
Keep going and you’ll get there eventually!
Do Baoding Balls Help With Carpal Tunnel?
Whilst you might prefer to go with whatever your doctor recommends when suffering with carpal tunnel, you could certainly try Baoding balls for rebuilding strength in the arm or hand that you’re experiencing pain.
Remember: you want to pick a pair that fits naturally and comfortably in the palm of your hand; it shouldn’t be too large, and you don’t want to exacerbate your pain by choosing balls that are too heavy in the first place.
It’s important that you figure out how to rotate the balls in your hand seamlessly, in either direction.
The intention here is to train your muscles to work differently, reducing the unwanted pressure on nerves in your wrists by no longer applying it.
Depending on how painful your symptoms are, you may only be able to manage a minute or two of rotation.
Eventually, the flexibility of your fingers is going to improve, and you’ll be able to last longer and longer, as well as upgrade to heavier balls
The most important thing about using a Baoding ball is that it requires constant, continuous practice.
Just like learning to drive, you’re dependent on your body’s natural muscle memory to figure it out, so eventually, it can take over and you can perform the actions without thinking about them.
What Does Baoding Mean?
Baoding is a city in China that received its name many years ago under the Yuan dynasty.
It’s roughly translated as meaning “protect the capital,” a nod to Baoding’s closeness to Beijing, China’s capital city.
Baoding balls are so named because they are believed to have originated there!
It doesn’t mean anything related to meditation, hands or the practice of Tai Chi… it just so happens that people think the balls were born there.
Last update on 2021-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API