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Meditation Balls

Chinese meditation balls are also known as Baoding balls, because they are thought to have originated in the province of Baoding during the Ming Dynasty.  There, they are referred to as iron balls, though they are no longer made of iron.  Meditation balls now come made of many types of material.  The most common is a hollow ball of chrome-plated steel, often containing a chime.  An assortment of sizes is available to fit the individual hand.  While these balls are commonly associated with hand exercise, they can also be used to improve coordination and to aid in contemplation.  It is also believed that, by interacting with acupuncture points in the hand, these balls can be used for many medical purposes.  Apocryphal legends claim that the old iron versions were used as weapons, but there is no evidence that this has ever been the case.  Meditation balls are used by rotating them in the hand.  More advanced users can rotate them without allowing the balls to touch together.  Often, each ball has a slightly different chime in it, one high and one low.  This is sometimes said to symbolize the Dragon and the Phoenix.

Meditation balls provide a rhythmic movement to guide meditations.  With these balls, it is possible to leave the stresses of daily life behind as we awaken to inner peace and tranquility.  When the meditation balls put pressure on the acupuncture points, they send a signal to your system that it is time to relax and let go of the frazzling world.  Deliberation on the gentle, rhythmic chimes helps to coax the mind into a meditative state.  Meditation balls can be used to help prevent numbness in the hands and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.  The use of meditation balls for rumination on a regular basis has also been said to strengthen the immune system, relieve stress, and reduce fatigue. 

When using meditation balls, it is recommended to try to keep the balls rotating clockwise and counterclockwise.  This allows the muscles of the hands and forearm to contract and relax in a harmonic fashion.  Practice allows this to be done with greater smoothness, so that the balls no longer clink together.  Practitioners of martial arts sometimes add a third ball to the rotation sequence, and even a fourth ball on top, forming a pyramid.  Meditation balls can be found very easily, and in a wide range of colors and styles.  These simple aids to contemplation and reflection are quite inexpensive, as well, making it easy to find a set of meditation balls that is right for your needs. 

By Louise Hughes

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