Most helpful positive review
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
I'm very pleased with this set of two baoding balls in the traditional box of silk embroidery covering a pasteboard box. They're a good size for me, and chime nicely with minimum clanking. Service was fast and packing was excellent. Reviews of some competitor baoding balls have claimed they were scratched; not here. I can recommend the vendor, Japan Bargain, highly.
**Here's a little (I hope) useful info for those not yet familiar with baoding balls (and if you are already familiar, feel free to skip): These little orbs have an ancient heritage, and along with Chinese domestic consumption are also a popular export product. A typical baoding ball has little gongs on the inside, and when these spheres are gently moved, they give off chiming sounds reminiscent of Japanese wind chimes. Baoding balls come in a wide variety of shell: along with the usual stainless-steel and chrome-plated ones, also available are iridescent models, models with typical Chinese motifs (panda, dragon, etc.), and philosophical models like yin/yang. All kinds of coloring, even cloissone -- including red white and blue USA-themed balls! When shopping, be aware that not all baoding balls make music, and some of them are too pretty to risk damaging by use for the traditional therapeutic benefit: rolling two or three around in one hand to limber up the fingers (a type of accupressure, actually) and improve nerve sensitivity. For the chiming models, one challenge is to move them around the hand without clanking each other, which will result in a dull "clunk" rather than the harmonic and long-lasting sound of chimes. Other names for baoding balls are worry balls, stress balls, and chiming balls, but NOT ben-wa balls, which instead are a kind of string of anal beads for exercise of a different sort(!).**
This particular pair of baoding balls measures about 1.5 inches in diameter, usually measured metrically as 38 millimeters (same as 3.8 cm). At 38 mm, these are about the smallest size recommended for adults and are a great way to start out using them to therapeutic effect. A full line of baoding balls for adults will also clock in at about 43, 45, 48 and 50 millimeters^, beyond which most sets are solid, to deliberately increase weight, but lack chimes. Sometimes the size of baoding balls reviewed here are called Number Four (#4), and as far as I can determine, the size numbers appear to proceed in inverse relation to the size of the balls themselves -- thus a no. five is smaller and a no. 3 is larger.
^These measurements are fairly stereotyped but they are not of ball-bearing precision, so it may be awkward to mix balls from different sources even if they are called the same size (on the other hand, some people enjoy the challenge of manipulating differently-sized balls). It's quite easy to search out on the Internet for videos of baoding balls in use.
Baoding balls in general remain a great bargain for an item that has not only heritage but a little artisty, and offers the promise of therapeutic benefit too. In my opinion this model is a great place to start, and you can work up to larger and more challenging sizes if these become too easy. Based on my and others' experiences, the chance of receiving a shabbily constructed box containing scratched or defective spheres is minimal from this vendor. A really great deal all around!