Let’s face it. Stress is part of life, and it’s not going away anytime soon. What matters is our perspective and how we deal with stress and especially how we nurture ourselves back to stability and grace when stress or even trauma do occur.
Why is it that certain people thrive in highly stressful situations while others shut down during situations that aren’t nearly as demanding?
Part of the reason most are aware of, is that we have complex emotional and psychological programming that determine to some degree how we will react to and cope with stress and tension.
One aspect that is often overlooked has to do with understanding an inbuilt mechanism within all mammals that’s designed to release tension and stress without conscious effort.
Wait a minute… We have a mechanism that will release our tension and stress without our effort?!
Although this technique isn’t a magic pill in the least and does require some effort and discipline to tremor when you feel the need, the tremors will work in their own miraculous way once activated!
In this article, I will go over what these tremors are, and how they were discovered, some profound transformations people and communities around the world have gone through as a result of utilizing the tremors, everyday benefits, and where to go to learn in depth about activating them.
In closing, I will also put forward some of the implications of these discoveries about how we can foster greater global peace and racial and cultural reconciliation.
What Are Neurogenic Tremors & TRE?
Neurogenic tremors are found in all mammals. They are an inbuilt physiological response to release stress, tension, and trauma. Similar to how we have an inbuilt response to clench and tighten, protecting ourselves from injury and trauma, we also have a way to let go and release this tension.
David Berceli, a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Field Traumatologist, and Clinical Social Worker (PhD), has discovered a way to activate natural neurogenic tremors in the body using a simple set of exercises he called TRE or Tension/Trauma Releasing Exercises.
David discovered this while working in war torn areas around the world noticing that no matter how accustomed to the environment of war him and his colleagues were, they would always react in a precise manner to the sound of explosions, that is, clenching inwards into a ball, thereby protecting the head and vital organs from damage!
The Exercises stress a core group of muscles, and when the muscles begin to get fatigued, they start to tremble. After the series of mild muscle stressing exercises, people who are practicing lay on their backs and hold a position that causes more shaking until the tremors will naturally remain activated for a duration that is comfortable.
Unwinding The Knots In Our Muscles & Fascia
The psoas muscles are responsible for putting us into our contracted and self protective posture, which I mentioned above. The psoas connects to all five lumbar vertebrae of the spine and connect the back with the legs and spine, and If they are chronically tight, it can cause a whole host of dysfunction in our bodies if left unresolved.
When neurogenic tremors have been activated, the self intelligence of the whole organism starts a process of restoring balance and relaxation to the body.
The tremors are actually our muscles contracting and relaxing in order to produce different rhythms that manifest as a small vibration all the way to quivering and shaking, or even swaying or undulations of the body. These have the effect of relaxing the deep tension in our muscles, realigning our fascia and also creating better symmetry in our musculo-skeletal system. The contraction of the psoas can now be loosened up, and our posture “reassembled”.
The tremors resolve problems that can’t be reached using massage alone, which makes sense why there are an increasing number of massage therapists and other bodywork practitioners also utilizing TRE with their clients.
Healing Through The Mind Or Healing Through The Body?
In some modalities and healing circles, there is an idea that we can eliminate and overcome tension by using the mind.
While mind-originated healing is very effective in certain situations, if there is a great deal of tension in the body, it won’t be accessible even with the greatest mental effort because the pattern of tension originates from the brain stem.
It isn’t impossible to override the brain stem and basic vital process as I outlined about Wim Hof accessing his Vagus Nerve in my previous article here, however, it is important to discern what we can approach using our conscious/subconscious mind and the areas we need to apply body practices and exercises to access a deeper levels of our physiology.
The nature of our humanness is a paradox. Not only is the mind in the body but the body is in the mind. Memories are stored in our brain as much as our experiences are registered in our bodies. This is a good example of the the principles explained in the works of professor Karl Pribram and David Bohm, who’s findings reflect a holographic model of physics and physiology.
Countless demonstrations have shown that when constriction resolves itself in the body, emotions that are inextricably woven into that pattern of tension are brought to the surface for healing and integration.
Profound Results From Multiple Countries Speak For Themselves
All around the world people in careers who are susceptible to trauma on a daily basis have been utilizing TRE with great results.
Especially in certain fields of work, real life and vicarious trauma can accumulate and cause problems overtime. Many firefighters, paramedics, police, military personnel and even therapists have learned the exercises and now have this tool they can use to release tension and stress which maintains their resilience.
David Berceli has traveled all over the world to work with communities who have experienced severe trauma. Some examples are: after the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and more recently in Turkey to aid refugees.
What we should take note of here is that there are a countless number of professions and life situations where it could be very beneficial to discharge accumulated stress and tension.
The Positive Effects TRE Has Brought To Everyday People
Beyond the healing of trauma that TRE has demonstrated, many martial artists, athletes, body builders and yogic practitioners use TRE to loosen up and integrate after training. There is also a new offshoot of TRE for yoga enthusiasts called Neurogenic Yoga.
Here are some of the positive benefits many have noted after starting to practice the exercises:
- Increased flexibility and athletic potential
- More energy
- Better body posture and symmetry
- Improved quality of sleep and digestion
- Healing of emotional and psychological wounds
- Decreased tension and muscle stiffness