TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Release Exercises. These exercises are designed to help individuals release stress or tension as a result of difficult life circumstances, acute or chronic stress, or traumatic life experiences. The exercises gently stretch and stress certain muscle groups to invoke spontaneous involuntary movements in the body. Some people call these movements neurogenic tremors. The tremors are the body’s natural, neurophysiological response to reduce its own stress and restore a sense of wellbeing. It is very different from deliberate shaking as we do not make the tremors happen, rather we allow the shaking to happen instinctively guided by our body’s innate intelligence.
The stress/trauma response of human beings is similar to that of mammals. When mammals are faced with danger, their nervous system goes into autonomic/survival response such as fight/flight/freeze, where the muscles tense up. When the threat is gone, their nervous system naturally recalibrates by shaking their bodies to recover and return to normal state. Unlike the animals, we humans tend to inhibit any shaking in our bodies, as it’s often seen as something negative or pathological, which prevents the discharge of tension after the stressful or traumatic experience is over.
If we imagine that we had a cup within our body that collected stress responses. Every time a stress stimulus was present, it was like a drop dripping into the cup. In the course of a stressful day, the cup would fill up. If the cup was not emptied, and the stress continued, we would likely experience stress symptoms such as anxiety, overwhelm, muscular tightness, headache, indigestion, insomnia, panic attack, etc.
TRE help to empty the cup of stress responses by activating spontaneous tremors to release tension in our body and encourage parasympathetic states of relaxation. As our nervous system recalibrates, the level of stress hormones in our system reduces. This enables our body to heal and repair more efficiently, bringing us into greater harmony and health.
The experience of TRE is unique for everyone as we all have different tension patterns as a result of our life experiences. The spontaneous movements could be experienced as trembling, shaking, pulsing, vibrating, bouncing, laughing, crying, burping, stretching, etc. There is no specific way of tremoring in TRE, the key is to follow our body’s wisdom. TRE is easy to learn and can be integrated in our daily routine. It is a resource designed to empower individuals to regulate their own nervous system by invoking the tremors and release stress and tension in a safe and controlled way.