The History of the Stress Ball (and Why They’re So Popular)
Stress is universal. Life brings stress, no matter who you are or where you are, but luckily there’s relief. Stress balls are one type of tension reliever you may have seen on desks (or in hands), and that’s what I’d like to discuss today.
Welcome to Stress Ball 101! As most people are aware, there are many stress balls in the world and they are must-have at homes, in the office, and pretty much anywhere else. You may not have thought about it before, but most common objects have a history and stress balls are no different.
History of Stress Balls:
Chinese Baoding Balls
The first concept of a stress ball originated in Heibei, China during the Ming Dynasty in 1368 A.D. See, people knew even then that there had to be some way of managing stress through the use of hands! Back then they were known as Baoding Balls (or Chinese Health Balls), and they’re still called that to this day. These types of balls were made out of solid metal once upon a time, but today they are made of chrome with tiny chimes inside.
The use and origin of this design were meant to flow and rotate and create a weighted pressure in the palm of the hand relieving tension by weighing on the pressure points in the hand. They also exercised the muscles and perfected coordination. The theories behind using Chinese stress balls were to increase circulation throughout the body. All ten fingers are connected to the cranial nerves and other nerves throughout the human body. Pretty neat-o, huh?
Today the structure and use of the stress ball are a little different, but still very practical and beneficial. If you look in any random office or cubicle I guarantee you will find stress balls. It is one of the most popular gifts and giveaways in modern day around the world.
Stress balls are so useful that they are favored in therapy sessions and recommended for people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritic hands, and stress injuries. If you use a computer all day or just your use your hands all day, it is extremely beneficial to keep the forearm and hand muscles challenged, and all of this can be done with stress balls!
Stress Balls in the Modern Age:
Modern stress balls come in all shapes, sizes, and colors!
The modern stress ball is typically made out of closed-cell polyurethane foam rubber. Foam stress balls are made by injecting the liquid components of the foam into a mold. The resulting chemical reaction creates carbon dioxide bubbles as a byproduct, which in turn creates the foam. The foam is then molded into many shapes and sizes, all varied in style (like these cute shapes, for example).
Some stress balls are often filled with liquid or gel substances for a softer, soothing texture. Many customers not only find stress relievers useful but also use them as practical gifts, often putting logos or sayings on them. Stress balls have proven themselves as a powerful marketing strategy.
Homemade stress balls are also popular for tension relief. Did you ever fill rubber or thick latex balloons with cornstarch, flour, or sand while you were in kindergarten? That’s an example of a do-it-yourself stress reliever. It’s tough to get a logo on those for promotional purposes, though, if that’s your primary goal with stress balls.
Who knew that stress balls had so many subtle differences, huh? There are even differences between the types we sell on our website, such as varied flexibility and varied density. You may want to do a bit of additional research on stress ball density or ask your QLP rep if you’re not sure which one to go with.
So, as you can see, these nifty must-have promo items are fun, practical, and beneficial to everyday life. If you don’t have any stress balls, then GET SOME! They’re great outlets for stress, anger and negativity, and they’re small enough to take anywhere. Always remember, it isn’t just a silly desk decoration: It’s stress management sensibility.
Do you own a stress ball? What’s your favorite shape or color? Do you use them to relieve tension at work?
Image credit to Jeezny.