People often ask me, “How did you get interested in Feldenkrais®?” Like many people, I stumbled upon it when I was looking for a way out of pain. In my previous career as a web designer I developed tendonitis in my elbows and wrists.

Tools to Reduce Pain and Tension Trump Quick Fixes

Hands on computer
Excess tension in your hands can lead to neck & shoulder problems.

While Feldenkrais wasn’t a quick fix, it was an enduring one that gave me the tools I needed to help myself.

For example, conventional approaches told me to ice, wear a wrist brace and try a different computer mouse. In contrast, Feldenkrais taught me how to develop my awareness and improve the way I sat, stood and moved.

These essential skills helped me recover far more than wearing a brace ever could.

A Simple Way to Release Your Neck and Shoulders

Using more effort in your hands and arms than is needed is often a contributing factor in neck and shoulder pain. Here’s an incredibly simple yet effective way you can use this connection to your benefit:

Hands tenderly holding a chick
Ask yourself: Can I soften in my hands and arms?
When you feel discomfort in your neck or shoulders…

Instead of worrying about or ignoring it, simply ask yourself: Can I soften anywhere in my hands and arms?

Maybe you don’t need to grip the pen, mouse or steering wheel as tightly as you are. Or perhaps you’re working harder in your arms than is necessary to wash the dishes, chop vegetables or pull weeds in your garden? How would you handle these if they were a baby chick or a puppy?

How this helps

Letting go of unnecessary muscular effort in your hands and arms automatically decreases corresponding tension in your neck and shoulders. It also increases blood flow to these areas, helping to reduce inflammation and nourish and repair sore tissues.

Finally, using your hands and arms with greater ease and lightness interrupts the bracing that often happens when you’re stressed or in pain, allowing you to move away from what you don’t want (discomfort, tension, etc.) toward what you do want (more ease and enjoyment).

Woman painting a room with ease
© IFF, Robert Golden
For more tips and tools

Join this month’s movement series, How to Use Your Hands to Turn the Tables on Your Neck and Shoulder Pain. I’ll be sharing insights I’ve gathered over the past 20 years that will help you reduce strain and tension in your neck and shoulders, as well as pain and stiffness in your hands and arms.


The following are service marks or certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America: Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Functional Integration®, Awareness Through Movement®, ATM®, FI®, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®, and Guild Certified Feldenkrais PractitionerCM.