A few months ago, one of my co-workers shared a YouTube video of a method called TRE or Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. I was intrigued as the man in the video shared his account of a deer that was struck by a vehicle. Following the trauma of being hit by a motorist, the deer got up and shook uncontrollably for several minutes and ran away unscathed and unphased about what had just occurred.
What he witnessed was extraordinary and prompted me to further explore what is TRE therapy and how it works. Here is what I learned on this intriguing form of therapy.
What Exactly is TRE?
TRE, or Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, is a simple yet powerful tool that can help to release chronic stress and give muscle tension relief to the body. Developed by Dr. David Berceli, TRE therapy is based on the principle that our bodies are designed to self-regulate and heal.
However, when we experience trauma or prolonged stress this natural ability becomes disrupted. As a result, we may start to experience physical and emotional symptoms such as muscle tension caused by our somatic nervous system, anxiety, and sleep problems. In fact, a study had shown that TRE alleviated many symptoms of patients with multiple sclerosis and is a promising therapy for the future.
Chronic (long-term) physical and mental stresses often leading to long-lasting muscle tension and pain. TRE helps with tension release by activating our body’s natural trembling response. TRE is a safe and easy technique that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. And best of all, it requires no special equipment or training. So, if you’re looking for a way to in induce muscle tension relief and decrease stress, why not give Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises a try?
How to Start TRE
Getting started with TRE can be a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! A few tips help you get started on your journey to better emotional health.
Before you start any kind of physical work, it’s important to ensure you’re in the right headspace. If you’re feeling particularly vulnerable or triggered, it might not be the best time to start working on your emotions. Ensure you’re in a safe place emotionally and mentally before you begin.
In addition, it is helpful to find a therapist experienced in Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and help you through any difficult emotions that come up. It’s important to go at your own pace when doing any sort of emotional work. If something feels too overwhelming or triggering, take a step back and give yourself some time to process. There’s no rush, so take your time and only do what feels comfortable for you.
Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises can be an extremely powerful tool for managing emotions and part of self-care strategies for stress. Still, it’s important to remember that they are not a quick fix. Furthermore, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how often TRE should be done.
Some people find that they benefit from doing the exercises on a daily basis, while others may only need to do them once or twice a week. Ultimately, the best way to determine how often to do TRE is to listen to your body and see what works for you. Be patient with yourself and go at your own pace.
How Does TRE Work?
The Tension and trauma-Releasing Exercises trigger a naturalistic shaking or vibrating process that begins to release deep chronic muscular patterns of tension. When we experience stress or trauma, our somatic nervous system becomes over-activated, which can lead to various physical and emotional symptoms.
Our bodies then tighten up as a natural defense mechanism. In fact, in a 2021 study, when people who were suffering from chronic muscular pain such as fibromyalgia experienced cognitive stress, their pain intensity increased.
TRE is performed by contracting certain muscles of your body. Once contracted, you have to sustain that muscular contraction until your body starts shaking or a tremor is felt. This tremulousness or shaking of the muscles stimulates the brain to release relaxing and soothing neurotransmitters.
The TRE exercises stimulate tension release in a safe and controlled environment. Essentially, the exercises “trick” the body into thinking it is under threat, which causes the muscles to tense up. As the muscles tense, they begin to shake or vibrate. This vibration helps to release chronic tension patterns, relieving stress and anxiety.
In addition, the shaking process also helps to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting properties. As a result, TRE can provide a holistic approach to stress management with both physical and psychological benefits.
Benefits of TRE
Tension and trauma-Releasing Exercises are a simple yet effective way to identify and release patterns of stress and tension that lead to pain, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and other problems. When these patterns of stress are released, the body is able to return to a state of balance and well-being. In a 2014 study in Cape Town, participants who incorporated self-induced unclassified therapeutic tremor or SUTT in their lives reported positive emotional outcomes and were more mentally prepared to deal with adversities. In all, their quality of life improved4.
Other benefits of TRE include reducing stress and anxiety, reducing chronic pain, and promoting overall physical and emotional well-being. Additionally, TRE can be used as a tool for self-care strategies for stress and personal growth. By learning tension release, you can develop a greater sense of self-awareness and control over your body and mind. As a result, TRE can help you to lead a healthier, happier life.