A mala, (sanskrit word meaning rosary/garland/necklace) is a set of beads, traditionally used to count and focus during recitation of mantras and meditation. A mala can be made up of a variety of materials including wood, seeds, rudraksha beads, gems, parad, crystal, sandalwood, lotus seeds, tulsi (Holy basil), semi-precious stones, such as carnelian or amethyst etc. Malas made up of different beads are used to appease different deities and to aid in healing malefic effects of specific planets. A typical mala is made up of 108+1 beads including a single Sumeru or guru bead.
Japa is based on the theory of one bead - one mantra. Mantras are often recited hundreds or thousands of times in one sitting with rhythmic sacred sounds and do generate a lot of spiritual power around the worshipper.
Mala is used as a tool to count the number of repetitions a mantra is recited. Regular use of mala prayer beads can enhance knowledge, intuition, prosperity, patience, health, energy and communication skills. It also helps reduce stress.
You can wear a mala around the neck or wrap it on the wrist. It is believed that using or wearing a mala during mediation empowers the wearer with restful, centered awareness. Wearing the mala throughout the day carries the energy of meditation.