TRE stands for Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises
TRE was designed to help people release stress, tension and trauma from their systems.
It was developed by David Berceli. David spent many years working in war zones in different countries around the world, where he witnessed first hand the effects of trauma on himself and the people around him
TRE evolved out of his observations.
He noticed the human organism naturally pulsates when it is safe. When confronted by a threat pulsation reduces, The greater the perceived threat the greater reduction of pulsation, we tense up, become more rigid and constricted
He witnessed that during extremely stressful events we have certain instinctive responses, for example to protect from a big stressor, it is natural for the body to pull itself forward in a flexion response, shoulders and hips contract towards each other as if going into a ball, a fetal position
He witnessed the instinctive reflexes of the body responding to extreme stress and threat and how importantly the body recovers.
Though we are blessed here not to be living in war torn countries, we do of course still experience stresses of many kinds
Ideally we are able to meet those stresses within what’s known as the ‘ window of tolerance’, a zone where we can handle stresses and still have enough presence and capacity to be with what’s arising.
But if the stress feels too big and we have more stress than our system can process in that moment we find ourself outside our window and beyond our capacity. We become overwhelmed, spacey and less present, agitated, irritated
If the stress is severe, or perceived to be severe, different parts of the brain take over from the rational cortex and initiate autonomic protective reflexes, These reflexes are not chosen by any conscious choice, they are primitive responses designed for survival. There are 2 poles, a mobilising response, defensive/ fight, (emotional correlate rage/anger) withdrawing/flight (emotional correlate , fear/terror) and immobilization response: Closing down, freezing, dissociation… All responses are entirely natural.
Our bodies are designed to handle extreme stresses and help save our lives and importantly our bodies are designed to recover when the perceived threat is over.
So How we recover ?- We do this just as the animals in the wild do, by tremoring..
The tremor mechanism, naturally releases the activated neuro physiological protective response, it reduces the high arousal, down regulating any nervous system activation, directly releasing deep muscle tension and the physical contraction pattern. This helps to re-initiate the pulsation in the body that became inhibited and frozen during the trauma. The body becomes fluid and relaxed again.Tremors safely reset the primitive reflexes, and allow your body/mind to know the stressful event is now over
So where does TRE come in. Complications occur if this tremoring process is thwarted as then the response that was activated becomes held, literally gets stuck in the body and discharge doesn’t complete and the system is unable to return to normal afterwards. This carries immense long terms consequences on mental, emotional and physical health,
TRE exercises are designed to activate the natural body, neurogenic tremors, by aiding the body to let go of deep muscular tension and NS activation, helping release any held in stresses and tension release. It does this by stretching and gently activating particular groups of muscles that are involved in the protective flexion response. In particular the psoas muscles deep in the pelvis
Whats beautiful about this bottom up/bodily approach is that it allows the release without the individual needing to re-experience the intense thoughts and emotions . You don’t need to know what’s being released, you don’t need to understand or remember. You just listen to and follow the body and let the tremors do the work. The tremours are a completely natural process with an innate intelligence and healing wisdom