TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) is a simple technique developed by David Berceli that uses exercises to release stress or tension from the body that accumulate from everyday circumstances of life, from difficult situations, immediate or prolonged stressful situations, or traumatic life experiences (i.e., childhood surgeries, car accidents, divorce, bereavement, natural disasters, social or domestic violence).
TRE is a set of six exercises that help to release deep tension from the body by evoking a self-controlled muscular shaking process in the body called neurogenic muscle tremors. The uniqueness of this technique is that this shaking originates deep in the core of the body of the psoas muscles. These gentle tremors reverberate outwards along the spine releasing tension from the sacrum to the cranium. The exercises are a simple form of stretching and are used to gently trigger these voluntary muscle tremors.
Once the technique is learned and mastered after several sessions, the warm-up exercises can be accelerated or replaced with your normal exercise activity like walking or yoga, and the technique then becomes a quick and effective method for consistent relaxation. Eventually, these tremors will evoke themselves naturally in a rest position to reduce any stress or tension that was accumulated over the course of the day.
TRE is being used by thousands of people around the world as an effective tool for releasing chronic traumatic stress, physical tension and emotional trauma. It is also quickly becoming a popular way to release the everyday stress, tension, and anxiety that evolves comes from the daily pressures of life.
When we are threatened the body releases huge amounts of stress hormones to help us overcome the danger. That is the flight-fight response kicking in and we literally shake with fear.
This shaking is known as neurogenic tremors. These tremors help to reduce over-activity in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. The body’s complex neuroendocrine system that regulates our stress response, our emotions, energy storage, and release.
Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky wrote a book called, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. The reason being that zebras and other animals know how to dissipate stress. They simply shake it off and get back to living in the moment.
Sadly, human beings, gradually lose this skills of re-calibrating their nervous systems. From a young age, we are admonished to stop acting like cry-babies. Or we are threatened with dire consequences if we don’t stop our tantrums and shut up. As a result, we learn to suppress our feelings. This repression of our emotional trauma causes it to be stored in our skeletal muscles. Our bodies and minds are intricately connected.
TRE can definitely help people, especially people that are dealing with severe stress or issues in their life, but it can also help with back pain and it can improve the quality of sleep. Stress is a natural part of our life, but it’s how we deal with it that makes the difference. You may not realise it but stress could be affecting you without you even knowing it. It can also help people that want to improve the way they move, or help to get over an old injury.
Since 2013 I have been a qualified TRE practitioner and have successfully worked with, first one on one clients, and also worked with groups extensively, I also combine the TRE with other practices like breathwork and sound, and it’s part of my Vitality Program too.
Recently Dr David Berceli was interviewed by Russel Brand, In this episode, they discuss the idea of post-traumatic growth: Do we grow and learn from our trauma, and does it ultimately makes us stronger? Where and why do we store trauma in our bodies and what are subsequent consequences? You can listen to the conversation on Luminary available on Apple Podcasts at http://apple.co/russell
The recent situation with Covid has really impacted people’s stress levels. TRE 4 week introduction course is a great way to learn how alleviate the stress and tensions on the body and can be a great tool for self regulation.
Written by Mieke Kreeftenberg - yoga therapist and TRE practitioner