Experiences of severe or prolonged stress and trauma interferes with an individual’s ability to come to the still clear space required to make decisions, set directions or maintain their attention on what is most important to them. Even with the best intentions to increase their awareness and be present in the moment, stressed individuals can feel blocked from being fully in touch with themselves. TRE enables people to safely release built-up and long-held tensions which, consequently, opens them up to new possibilities for living healthily, improving their relationship with their bodies and taking responsibility for their well-being.

When the nervous system is overwhelmed in times of stress and danger, an autonomic response is activated, such as fight, flight and freeze. This is a protective, survival instinct response which releases potent chemicals into the body to propel action. If the person is able to calm down, expel excess tension from the body and come to terms with the event, there is no harm done. However, for many people, the process is not completed and the nervous system remains on high alert or is shut down. In these cases, the brain and body is conditioned to respond in prescribed, automatic ways. Feeling out of balance and out of control or numb and disassociated are key indicators. Further, the accumulation of unresolved tension and toxicity in the body from chronic or acute experiences of stress and trauma can contribute to suffering illness, discomfort and pain.

TRE is a simple but profound process of releasing this tension and providing relief of many associated physical and psychological symptoms. TRE positively activates the Ventral Vagus nerve which is associated with the regulation of reactive behaviours and allowing social behaviours, such as empathy, tolerance. A balanced nervous system enables one to self-soothe, regulate and maintain equilibrium.

TRE Practitioners teach people how to prepare themselves for the trauma and stress release in the body by doing some simple stretch exercises that gently fatigue the muscles. These exercises emphasise the contract and release process the body adopts in a traumatic or stressful situation, which sets up the discharge of blocked energy through the neurogenic tremors, experienced as shaking or vibrating. David Berceli designed these exercises in response to his observation that animals, children and people who experienced the neuromuscular tremors as a consequence of trauma were more resilient and, therefore, recovered quicker.

These sessions are facilitated in a safe and comfortable environment. Although the opportunity to do so is available, the body’s natural release means it is not necessary to get a cognitive explanation or story on what has occurred. Once you are at ease with the process, you can continue on your own at home with a regular TRE practice.

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