I have only had the item for two days, and after a couple dismal attempts of getting hula-hooping with it (due to the utter and complete lack of any instructions, which is why I've only given 4 stars) I have figured it out. When you start the exercise with the 'hoop' around your waist, pull it away from in front of you as far as you can and throw it in the direction you want it to move in.
You have to get the rhythm pretty much spot on from the start as this thing is harder to keep up than a regular hoop but it can be done! It being harder to keep it going is a good thing in my opinion as I have used at 1.5kg foam padded hoop for the last 9 months or so and was thinking of stepping up the exercise, which would mean going at it for longer than my usual 10-15 minutes each way.
A few words on comfort now: Just this morning I did 10 minutes one way with it, and despite my jumper riding up during the exercise and the 'hoop' touching bare skin, I did not experience any pain from pinching, and overall, I find the massage action as pleasant - albeit a little different - as the one I get from the nobs on the regular hoop. Just be warned: if you are a hooping beginner, be prepared for a few bruises even when wearing a sweat shirt but as your muscles strengthen, this will stop.
The big bonus is that the radius of this 'hoop' in action is smaller than the equivalent weighted solid hoops, so it can be used in more confined spaces without knocking things over, and, of course, it can travel in a suitcase! :-)
All in all, I am happy with this purchase and will get a lot of use out of this (hoping that it is robust enough), especially at times when I am not at home.