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Video CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain? (Video) 144

Timothy ran into these NSD people at CES. If we were giving out a "best huckster" award, NSD booth dude Doug Lo would surely be a finalist for it. He's one heck of a talker. The exercise balls he's pushing? A number of companies have been making and selling similar products for many years. They seem to have some medical benefit as physical therapy aids for people with wrist or carpal tunnel problems, and may also be useful exercise devices for people who want to strengthen their hands and fingers. Have you used a gyroscope exercise ball? If so, did it help cure a wrist problem or help strengthen your hands and fingers? And which of these brands (if any) did you try?


Timothy Lord: You know that CES is a good place to come to find out about things like new computers, new monitors, home theater equipment, but what you might not have known is it is also a great place to find out about all the latest advances in hand-held gyroscope balls. I can’t vouch for any of the medical claims made by this next company, but I can tell you holding one in your hand is a really weird sensation.

Doug Lo:
Hi. My name is Doug Lo. I am here at the Consumer Electronics Show. What we are introducing today is called the NSD Spinner. Basically, what it does is help you get rid of your carpal tunnel, and also tennis elbow. If you give it a minute, it will give you a very strong arm. What it does basically is, like I told you earlier, it is for the carpal tunnel, the tennis elbow. And if you give it a minute, it helps circulate your blood and also it helps your wrist. It has been around in Asia for the last 10 years. We have shipped over 10 million pieces worldwide. You can buy it at, and

Timothy Lord: Doug, could you tell us how does this work? Could you show us from the start how do you start it?

Doug Lo: You just start it, and there is no battery. It has got a gyroscope in it. And it is not by battery. You just start it, and just keeping going. And we have a lifetime warranty on parts.

Timothy Lord: How do you get it started though? How do you get the internal part going?

Doug Lo: You start it by – you wind it up, and then you just let it go, just keep going, here you go.

Timothy Lord: So do you now have incredible wrists and tendons?

Doug Lo: It actually works. It has been – we have people that just keep coming and just telling all the family members, it is a great product, and we have a great review on it and it is great for the wrist. It is all about good health and a good you.

Timothy Lord: Could you show me one more thing, the color changing, how does that work?

Doug Lo: Basically we have different models. We have some with different lighting, we have some with – we do it with stainless steel. We start retail from $25 all the way up to $100 retail.

Timothy Lord: But the LED lights in this, they change color, what is that based on?

Doug Lo: It’s just on different styles it has different lighting. Okay?

Timothy Lord: Okay.

Doug Lo: We make it fun.

Timothy Lord: Good. All right. Thanks, Doug. Thanks, appreciate it. Thanks a lot.

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CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain? (Video)

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:26PM (#42595969) Journal

    CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain?

    First off, let me say that I have no formal training or any sort of degree in anything even remotely related to this. I'm not medically qualified to give you professional advice on this sort of stuff. But from using using these things, I would wager that very few kinds pain will actually be cured from this. I don't know how carpal tunnel syndrome responds to this but I thought that was a condition of the nerves and I fail to see how this could help that (I'm totally sold on muscles though and, through that, maybe extremity blood flow). I would be wary of someone selling this to me heralding it as a panacea for all things past your elbow.

    Have you used a gyroscope exercise ball?


    If so, did it help cure a wrist problem or help strengthen your hands and fingers? And which of these brands (if any) did you try?

    I had no wrist problems to begin with but a roommate at the time called them "climber balls" and said climbers use them. So, being a software developer with terrible posture by trade and enjoying video games, bass guitar playing, piano playing, more programming, book writing, etc on the side, I felt it was in my interest to try as best as possible to preserve my wrists. So I asked for one for Christmas and received the orange PowerBall pictured here with digital back []. I used it for a while and tried to do 10 minutes a day with it, alternating hands as the digital readout would let me see how fast I could get it (I think I got it up regularly to 9,000 RPM and 13,000 RPM once while incredibly intoxicated). Basically I'd burn up right off the bat with each arm and then try to get into a sustaining groove. Definitely more exerting than it looks. I would also alternate between grips. The two most comfortable ones seemed to be palming it from the back and wrapping my thumb and index finger around the grip while supporting with the other fingers. And I noticed a serious burn (a good, like exercise burn) at first in my hand and forearm but then only in my forearm. From my experience, I suspect that once your hand's grip hits a certain point it's good to go whereas the muscles pumping energy into the gyroscope are actually located in the wrist/forearm. So I believe it was working. I was, however, also doing exercises like wrist curls, inverse wrist curls, wrist extensions with a 45 lb. bar at the gym from time to time. And I was also doing other exercises that probably inadvertently helped strengthen these same areas.

    So anyway, one day my friend stayed over and brought his dog. He slept on the couch, his dog whimpered in his kennel so he took him out and fell asleep with him. Dog got a hold of the PowerBall and that was that. Recently these NSDs went on sale for $25 for Black Friday [] (as shown here []) and so I purchased two with the intent of having one at my desk in cubeland and one at home. While I'm happily using one, I left the other packaged and might gift it up because no matter how nice these balls are, they do make a good deal of noise (and the ones with revolution powered LEDs look dance-rave in the dark). The digital options on the NSDs aren't as nice or intuitive as the PowerBall LCD functions but I haven't given that a lot of time so that could just be RTFA ignorance on my part. I just use them as a straight up exercise device now with no intent of breaking records on youtube [] so I've stopped fussing with the electronics part of them. These NSDs are so far seemingly higher construction than the PowerBalls and are much easier to start but also seem more expensive. I suppose I would have to use this for a year before I start reporting on wear and tear. Watch for a sale on an NSD, when you

  • Nope, didn't help (Score:5, Informative)

    by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @04:42PM (#42596163) Journal
    I had to switch to an ergo mouse. Nothing else fixed my wrist pain - not exercise balls, not a wrist brace, not an ergo keyboard. I've been using the Vertical Mouse 4 [] but I think any ergo mouse can offer improvement. Just find one that's comfortable and works.
  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:07PM (#42596393)

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is down to inflammation of the tendons ; the carpal tunnel is the sleeve bearing that the finger tendons pass through in your wrist. The other things that passes through there is the median nerve.

    If you get tendonitis of these tendons, the inflammation can compress the median nerve, which is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome. It makes some sort of sense that strengthening this overall group of muscles can improve matters - if you predominantly use one or two fingers for your grip, spreading the load will lead to less strain on these tendons and less inflammation.

    The muscles involved in grip strength are predominantly in your forearm, and connect to these tendons. Muscles in the fingers and hand are mostly limited to fine posture - like the ability to flex the finger at the most proximal joint while the other joints remain extended (like an L shape), and the ability to splay your fingers.

    Through bad posture or excessive exercise (like a two week rowing course) I sometimes inflame the tendons on my little fingers and get a kind of bi-state "clunk" when the swollen part passes through the sheathe, and that finger will only hold postures either side of the lump - straight, or claw. And I sometimes get a generalized soreness of my fingers if I drive a lot (I tend to lean on the wheel badly). I have a Powerball of the type you describe, but not the discipline to use it regularly.

    My main problem is that if you drop one, the metal axis of the 'scope nicks the inner plastic bearing it runs on, making the thing useless (it goes *tick tick tick* and you can't speed it up as much). I thought about buying the all-metal version but as I said, I don't use it enough to justify it.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom ( 2244874 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:08PM (#42596403)
    They definitely strengthen your arms and wrists. At first I couldn't do one for more than a minute. Then eventually I could do one for 8 hours straight on a road trip from Pittsburgh to Virginia Beach to meet my girlfriend back in the day.
  • Yes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jmc23 ( 2353706 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:13PM (#42596475) Journal
    The movement required to keep the motion going is rhythmic and needs to be controlled. You are constantly using tons of tiny stabilizing movements.

    Now the problem is when you have wrist problems it's not always easy to get a fluid motion going, or you're too used to extreme flexions which is what constricts nerve passages in the wrist in the first place. You can however use your shoulder to hold the rotation, or even your elbow if your isolations are good. Once the thing is spinning you can then experiment with wrist movement that doesn't hinder the spinning. Visualization is a good technique to use with this as well. Liken it to a game of Operation, except that you are trying to keep an open channel in your wrist. Pretty much anytime your skin get's wrinkled that's touching the side, and the gyro will pull or push you hard.

    What's frightening is the amount of misinformation of how to use your wrists is out there. I was talking to some woman off on physio for rsi and she proceeded to show me how she knew the 'correct' way to type as she showed me a broken wrist. This is what OT are teaching?? Wrist rests? Yes, let's just discourage proper posture and restrict with pressure.

    My JRA had gotten so bad that I had to stop working, couldn't type or use my right hand for weeks. Gyro balls were one of the tools I used to learn proper motion. Just did a 30s handstand no problem over the weekend.

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:31PM (#42596685)

    Your description of carpal tunnel is correct, but slightly incomplete. Tendonitis is not necessary, certain kinds of overuse (like typing and mouse use) combined with never using full range of motion and no stretching can cause shortening of the muscles and tendons such that the "fatter" part of the tendon gets "pulled" into the carpal tunnel and compresses the nerves. Fortunately, that flavor of CTS, with which I am intimately familiar, is very easy to relieve ;-)

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