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Chinese Stress Balls

Everyone experiences some form of stress from time to time. When the level of stress is high enough or frequent enough, it can have the following harmful effects on the body:

•    Higher blood pressure
•    Faster heart rate
•    Anxiety
•    Trouble sleeping
•    Trouble concentrating
•    Trouble remembering things
•    Anger
•    Mood swings
•    Loss of appetite

Many people find that their hands are restless when they are stressed and feel the need to do something with their hands. They become more stressed if they’re not doing something to distract their minds. Stress balls are one of the most popular ways in alternative medicine to relieve stress, tension, and frustration because they are easy to find, easy to use, can last a long time, and do not cost a lot. They are not meant to be used as an end all solution for those who have a serious or advanced stage of stress. They also provide other health benefits such as improved motor skills, arthritis and rheumatism relief and prevention, and better blood circulation. Physical therapists sometimes use these balls with their patients.

One type of stress balls that many people have turned to for stress relief is Chinese stress balls. These types of balls are sold in pairs, hard, and not squeezable. They come in different sizes usually ranging from 30mm-55 mm and are made of different hard materials. The pair of balls is meant to be rolled around in the hand. What this does is cause the user to focus on the rotation of the ball, thus taking the user’s focus away from the stressor. Some types of Chinese stress balls produce a chiming sound, which soothes some people’s minds.

For beginners, it is recommended that the balls are used over thick carpeting or a rug to avoid damaging the balls and nearby objects if they are dropped. It is best to be in a sitting position to minimize injury to oneself or others in case the balls are dropped. Once users get used to the balls, they can advance to higher levels. This includes being able to roll larger balls and/or multiple sets of balls. The most skilled can roll multiple sets of balls simultaneously in both hands.

Chinese stress balls can provide the following benefits:
•    Better blood circulation resulting in more nutrients and the elimination of toxins
•    Muscle and joint relaxation
•    Improved motor skills
•    Stimulation of nerves for prevention or relief of arthritis, rheumatism, and carpal tunnel syndrome
•    Diversion from stressor and relaxation of the mind
•    Stimulation of the brain resulting in the production of endorphins for natural pain relief and better sleep

Chinese stress balls are used by some as a form of meditation. They concentrate on the feel and rotation of the balls in their hand and think of the balls absorbing away their stress. This allows them to feel as if a burden has lifted and their minds are now free from thinking about the stressor.

Those who are in the office all day can also benefit from Chinese stress balls. However, in this case, it may not be a good idea to bring a chiming set of balls to work since the sound may distract coworkers. Those who are constantly typing on the keyboard use the balls to exercise their hands to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Others who are under a good bit of stress and tension from work use the balls when they need some relief.

Although the focus is on the hands, Chinese stress balls may be used with feet as well. Of course, when using the balls with the feet, one should be sitting. They can be placed under the arch of the foot and rolled backwards and forwards to exercise the ankle and calf. This movement also relieves stress and tension.

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