TRE ® Tension Release Exercises
What is TRE?
TRE stands for tension or trauma release exercises and is a set of 6 exercises designed to fatigue and activate specific muscles in the body- most notably the PSOAS muscle, the hamstrings, glutes, calves and quads. The reason for this is to activate a natural tremoring response in the body which has been shown to help release stress and trauma from the body.
NOTE: TRE is offered only when clients are assessed a suitable usually after detox
Many people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of self-soothing or self-medicating as a result of difficult or traumatic events they have experienced in their lives. TRE is effective in being able to help these individuals to physically release some of the stress, tension and trauma from their systems without the need to re-experience the trauma.
Hope has Counsellors who are officially Certified TRE ® Providers. TRE ® is offered on a 1:1 basis as well as in small groups. Not only is the TRE ® process a great tool for our clients, helping them to release stress and trauma from the nervous system, clients here gain a better understanding of how stress and trauma have impacted their lives; mentally, emotionally and physically, and how it might be related to their various symptoms and substance abuse.
How was TRE discovered?
David Berceli, the founder of TRE, was a social worker whose work took him to various war zones and places of conflict around the world. During these times he sometimes found himself needing to shelter with others from bombs that were falling around them. It was during these times of intense stress that Berceli noticed something unusual- whenever the bombs fell, all the people within the shelters would involuntarily make the same body gesture- they would curl into themselves in a foetal like position. He noticed that this movement was independent of any age, sex or cultural background and so he posited that this movement was a natural human reflex and has the obvious aim of protecting the bodies most vulnerable places. He also noticed that children within these same shelters would often start to shake or tremor when the bombs were falling. However, the adults did not exhibit this same behaviour. He became curious about with these two observations and started to do more research into the subject.
What Berceli discovered is that this shaking or tremoring response is something that is found naturally within the animal kingdom- animals that have been through any degree of stress or trauma will naturally “tremor” to release this from their systems. He realised that humans also have this same natural mechanism, as evidenced by the children within the group; however, adults are able to override this mechanism by voluntarily choosing to suppress it because of fears that it makes them look “weak” or “out of control”.
Berceli then made it his life purpose to gain a greater understanding of this mechanism within humans as he saw it as an invaluable aid to helping to reduce the amount of stress and trauma that many of us carry around.
Berceli also partnered with Peter Levine, another leading expert on trauma who had also found that unresolved trauma is stored in the body. Levine’s work with somatic experiencing is focussed on encouraging individuals to complete unresolved traumatic experiences through body motion and in this way parallels Berceli’s work of encouraging the natural tremoring response of the body.
What are the benefits of TRE?
Many people report feeling calmer, more peaceful and being able to sleep better. There are also often physical benefits with some chronic pain conditions lessening and overall increased flexibility; however, the effects of doing TRE are very individual and can also change over time.
Does TRE work for everyone?
Yes. Doing the exercises will promote some degree of tremoring or shaking, however as Berceli noticed adults do tend to override their bodies natural mechanism and so the degree of tremoring will depend upon an individuals ability to be able to relax into the process.
Are there any people that TRE is not suitable for?
TRE would not be recommended for very pregnant women and those prone to epilepsy. For individuals who have experienced extreme trauma or those with PTS then TRE is only advised in one-on-one situation; similarly individuals with fragile mental health or psychiatric conditions would need to have individual consultation.