I’m a sucker for alternative medicine and anytime I come across a practice that claims to heal or deliver, I sign up for it without a second thought. So, finding an innocuous little orange box that had ‘Chinese Chi Balls’ written on it sent my heart into a frenzy. I bought the box, went home, and eagerly read the pamphlet inside that accompanied the balls.
Properly termed ‘Baoding Balls”, the “medicinal” objects are small metal balls that can fit into your hands. The first thing I noticed when I held them was that they were quite heavy; heavier than you’d expect. They also felt strange, like they were magnets with a weak yet noticeable pull – but I wasn’t sure what they were attracted to, as it wasn’t one another.
Traditionally meant to be used as an equivalent to stress balls, Baoding balls are supposed to improve brain function and dexterity and reduce stress. But the particular box I had bought went the extra step by claiming to help “revitalise your energy”. So, as the book and the internet suggested, I rotated them within my palm and used them in circular and lateral motions on the points I felt carried the most tension – my neck, shoulders and feet.
They actually worked. Be it a placebo or real ancient medicine, after a few minutes of using them I felt infinitely more relaxed yet strangely more energised. It was like the tension in my body had evaporated and the space it left had been filled up with new reserves of energy. It really was like magic.
But for a little under £10 I knew that I hadn’t found the mystical cure for fatigue and those days when you stay up till the early hours binge watching a show on Netflix. So, I enjoyed my newfound energy but vowed to come back to the metal medicines in a few days and see if they gave the same effect.
Surprise, surprise…they didn’t. No sudden burst of energy, no adrenaline rush, none of that. But I did feel more relaxed, just like I had the first time. But it took me all of two seconds to realise that it wasn’t the two metal objects in my hand that were doing it exactly, but rather the ritual of running them over my tension points in a make-shift massage action. It had a calming, soothing effect, but you could replicate this ceremony with a lot of different objects.
So, the answer to the question is this: no. Chinese chi balls, in my experience, don’t actually give you energy. But they are great for relaxing you and soothing any tension you may have…just like a stress ball. If you want to purchase the exact ones I bought, you can find them here. Happy destressing!