Stress balls – those little palm sized balls made from high density foam, soft rubber, or squeezable polyurethane – can be found on many a manager’s desk. But do they really have any benefit?
Although few studies have been carried out on the efficacy of these popular office stress-busters, it is a fact that repeated muscle contraction and relaxation can relieve muscular tension. This principle is used in relaxation classes, when participants are instructed to first of all tense up their muscles and then let go and relax.
Stress balls are used by physiotherapists as powerful tool in the rehabilitation of injuries. They can effectively strengthen the muscles of the hand and forearm, and it is thought that the rhythmical action of squeezing the hand can calm down breathing, which also promotes relaxation.
The Chinese used metal and wooden versions of the modern stress ball many centuries ago as they were thought to stimulate the flow of Chi (life force) within the body. So there is quite a history to these popular office toys.