Muscle tension/muscle stiffness

Muscle tension, especially in the neck and shoulder region, is a ‘disease’ of civilisation that affects practically everybody at one time or another. But when tension becomes chronic and leads to pain, the well-being of the affected individual is severely impaired and everyday performance is reduced.

With kybun you can actively do something about muscle tension and prevent the development of more severe pain, limited mobility and stiff joints.


Muscle tension refers to a painful state of the neck or shoulder musculature in which the muscle tone is permanently increased due to excessive strain or a one-sided posture. While muscle tension occurs in other parts of the body as well, this is much less common. To avoid muscle pain, people unconsciously assume a relieving posture. This can further increase the tension in some muscles, leading to a vicious circle.
Three muscles in particular respond to long-term stress by becoming shorter: the levator scapulae, the trapezius and the supraspinatus muscles.
Tension in the levator scapulae muscle can also irritate the nerves at the back of the head, leading to headaches. About 40 per cent of adults suffer from headaches at least on occasion.
Muscles that are tense for long periods of time because of stress or improper strain lose their normal elasticity and become stiff, causing muscle pain.


One common cause of tense neck or shoulders is sitting for long periods of time without moving, for example when working on the computer or playing on a games console for hours, or when writing or reading for a long time. Taking a five or ten-minute break every hour is generally recommended.

Sleeping in an awkward position can cause tense muscles as well, as can a one-sided or improper posture while working or playing sports.

Psychosomatic causes are common as well, especially long-term mental strain and too much stress. A study of more than 1200 people conducted by German insurers found a significant correlation between subjective health and activities that cause stress. Stress and tension in professional life increase with age and are at their highest among 44 to 50-year-olds.

Long-term consequences

  • Muscle tension can lead to chronic pain which can be persistent and difficult to eliminate.
  • Pain leads to relieving/incorrect postures, which have a negative effect on the entire body and can lead to subsequent pain in other joints.
  • Headaches are a common consequence of chronic neck tension and/or improper posture of the shoulder girdle/head.
  • In case of neck tension and pain, changing working conditions and lifestyle is essential. Otherwise, chronic pain develops, with patients forced to take pain medications frequently and to constantly seek treatment from their doctor.

Conventional therapy

While releasing muscle tension in the upper body can be achieved in various ways, it requires significant amounts of time once the pain has become chronic.

  • Massaging the affected body regions and surrounding areas
  • Regular exercises, especially for the shoulder and neck regions
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Kneipp therapy with warm or increasing-temperature showers and periods of rest
  • Heat treatment, e.g. with fango packs, a traditional heating pad or grain pillow
  • Targeted meditation or relaxation exercises, e.g. progressive muscle relaxation
  • Lifestyle changes, avoiding stress
  • More ergonomic chair, springy backrest or similar
  • Suitable mattress, better head cushion form
  • Oral analgesics
  • Analgesic injections (or cortisone injections) administered by an orthopaedist or family doctor are another possibility.

The kybun principle of operation – being proactive

The foot is able to roll over naturally on the soft, elastic material, and is thereby strengthened. The foot is the body’s foundation and it must be able to absorb impact from all directions while walking. A strong foundation (feet) also protects the higher joints (knee, hip, back) and automatically straightens the body. By walking upright in the kybun shoe/standing upright on the kybun mat, the body is vertical and the back and neck muscles do not have to work as hard against gravity. This allows tense muscles to relax and headaches usually become less severe or do not occur as often, especially tension headaches.

The kybun mat relaxes the shoulder and neck musculature and improves the body posture.
Most people automatically assume an unfavourable head and shoulder position while sitting in front of a computer even when using an ideal ergonomic chair.
If you work in an office, you can stand on the kybun mat to avoid an unfavourable sitting position. This prevents the neck musculature from getting tense during the day and/or the development of headaches. You also become mentally fatigued less quickly and are able to concentrate better while working. Thanks to ‘kybun training’ on the kybun mat, you feel fit and ready to enjoy your leisure time in the evening.
Try to stand on the soft, elastic springy mat as often as possible and sit as little as possible.

The soft, elastic kybun shoe sole dampens the impact of hard surfaces. This is very pleasant if you suffer from muscle tension. Active and upright walking in the kybun shoe promotes circulation and allows the pain substances produced from muscle tension to be transported away. Walking in the kybun shoe/standing on the kybun mat therefore alleviates tense neck muscles and relieves pain.

Initial reactions

Specific initial reactions with tense muscles

In the beginning, the body may fatigue quickly when standing on the kybun mat since you are used to the ‘old’ sitting position. The back and neck musculature that straightens the body needs to grow stronger over the first few weeks. Sometimes minor pain or other tension that has never been felt before may occur, and headaches are possible as well. This is a sign that your body is going through an adjustment process and that you are now challenging the body with the new, more upright posture on the kybun mat/in the kybun shoe.
Give your body enough time to adjust and read more under ‘Application tips’.


Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kybun mat and kybun shoe beginners: Initial reactions

kybun exercises

For information about the special kybun shoe exercises or the basic kybun mat exercises, please click here: kybun exercises

The following adaptations to the standard implementation of interval walking are important in case of muscle tension :

  1. Focus on fast exercises to loosen muscles (maintain an upright posture and pay attention to where you are looking)
  2. During fast exercises, let the arms dangle and loosen the shoulders (to relax the neck)
  3. stand still every now and again: Link the hands behind your back, stretch the arms and pull down (stretching the chest musculature)

Application tips

  • Stand upright on the kybun mat/the kybun shoe sole. Avoid lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint by actively correcting yourself. Read more under ‘Lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint’.
  • Make sure the shoulders are relaxed (do not draw them up). In between, keep moving the shoulders (describe circles, move up and down) and the head (look right-left, up-down) to prevent muscle tension.
  • Make sure that the neck is extended and the head is not pushed forward (happens frequently when working for hours on the computer).
  • Perform the kybun exercises regularly.
  • Everyday/leisure: Walk in the kybun mat as much as possible, or use the kybun mat. Rest if tired > perform the kybun exercises regularly and take a short kybun break if necessary.
  • Job: Sit as little as possible. Alternate sitting and standing in the beginning, and take along replacement shoes to change into
  • If you have a standing desk, try to stand on the kybun mat for as many hours as possible each day. Even without a standing desk, you can do a lot of office work while standing on the kybun mat (e.g. making telephone calls, reading something you printed, team meetings, planning things ... coffee break:))
  • If you feel unsteady/too unstable in the kybun shoe even after a trial session, we recommend kybun shoes with a lower rebound effect. These have a somewhat wider sole in the area of the midfoot, providing added stability. Seek advice from your local kybun expert.
  • If the kybun shoes with a lower rebound effect are also too unstable for you or if you work in an office, we recommend the kybun mat. You can choose from various thicknesses (the thicker, the more challenging) and hold on to a fixed object if necessary.
  • Do not make your steps too long.
  • Contact a kybun dealer you trust if you have further questions, feel unsafe or if there is no alleviation of pain in the kybun shoe/on the kybun mat even though you are following the tips.

Opinions/customer testimonials

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