• Amy Hertle Counseling TRE - Tension, stress and Trauma releasing exercises


Tension, stress and Trauma releasing exercises

TRE – Tension, stress and Trauma releasing exercises

TRE® (Tension, stress and Trauma releasing exercises) is a simple method of releasing tension, stress, and trauma from the body. The practice involves moving through a set of seven exercises designed to activate a natural shaking or “tremoring” reflex.  This release can support the nervous system,  which can get stuck in primitive survival strategies of fight/flight/freeze/fawn, to restore and rebalance.

Human beings are mammals, and like our furry friends in the animal kingdom, when we feel a threat, real or imagined, our body prepares us to fight or flee from the situation. We may “fawn” by behaving in a caretaking or pleasing way to avoid conflict. If the threat is too much we might also drop into a freeze or dissociated state.

Once safe, animals will use an involuntary tremor reflex as a way to recover and rebalance. However, as humans, we have been socialized to quiet and suppress these impulses and have turned instead to use logic and thinking.

For some, this way of processing stress and trauma may work, for others the tension gets stored in the body and in turn, the body may get stuck in a fight/flight/freeze/fawn state even when there is no threat.

In his book ‘Waking the Tiger’, Peter Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing, cites shaking as a strategy that was used for healing in shamanic traditions. Levine goes on to describe how animals face life threatening situations but don’t experience traumatic symptoms afterward. This is because they go through a trembling or shaking of their bodies to discharge the energy when the danger has ceased. The neurogenic tremors are an instinctual way of releasing the energy associated with the traumatic event.

What is the science?

Tremoring can help to balance the nervous system after stress. When we feel threatened, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This is the aspect of the nervous system that helps us navigate situations that are perceived as unsafe, in order to stay alive. Depending on the situation, we may move into fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. When the threat is over we might feel physical symptoms such as a tight chest, stomach pain, sweating or even shaking. These are the body’s effort to release some of the energy from the stress. When we suppress or stop the tremoring, the body will hold onto and store the tension.

When experiencing physical and/or emotional unwellness it may be due to these underlying and unconscious patterns of holding onto stress. When stress is held in the body for a prolonged time, we may feel it as somatic symptoms, pain, insomnia, autoimmune disease or many other manifestations.

By releasing stored stress and tension, the nervous system can return to the parasympathetic state, also known as rest and digest. The body returns to a regulated nervous system. Releasing stress and tension is vital for regaining and maintaining physical, mental and emotional health. When the body feels safe it is able to heal and thrive.

What do I need to do

The only requirement in TRE® is relaxing and allowing the wisdom of the body to guide its unwinding. There is no mental processing of trauma or past stressful events. TRE® allows the body to release without the mind needing to do anything at all!

During the session I will remain beside you as you tremor while also guiding you to notice what is happening. The body does not remember experiences like the mind; it only stores the feeling. As the tremoring is happening the mind can relax, be witness and allow the body to unwind and release.

TRE® is a simple process that encourages you to leave your story at the door, allowing the body to unwind. It releases tension, bringing the body and mind to a relaxed, rebalanced and rejuvenated state. TRE® is a safe and effective stress-release technique for many people and can be of great benefit on its own. Guided by a trauma-aware therapist, TRE® combined with psychotherapy can provide additional benefit.

Want to learn more about TRE®? Let’s talk!