Tension Releasing Exercises
TRE or Tension Releasing Exercises is a sequence of seven exercises designed by Dr David Berceli to engage a natural reflex to release stress, through shaking.
The tremors and other involuntary movements allow us to release long held tension patterns, stress and trauma from the body. This release allows the nervous system, which can get stuck in primitive survival strategies (commonly known as flight/flight/freeze), to reboot and balance.
David Berceli’s TRE is used by thousands across the world for easy every day stress release, as well as being effective in helping with physical and mental health, chronic stress, tension, PTSD, and trauma. It has been widely used in the forces and with survivors of sexual abuse for the treatment of PTSD.
What is TRE?
How TRE Works
Human beings are mammals, and like our fury friends in the aminal kingdom when we feel threatened (perceived or real) we enter primitive defence strategies to prepare us to fight or flee from a situation. Or if it's just too much we disappear - commonly known as freeze or dissociation. Once the threat has passed mammals use an involuntary tremor reflex to disperse the huge amount of energy, charge and muscular tension required to mobilise an escape from the situation.
However as humans, our newer ‘primate’ brain with its logic and thinking has learnt to suppress this natural way to release - hence, unlike other mammals, we have stress and trauma. Instead our neurology and physiology gets stuck in fight/flight/freeze, pre-programmed to respond to situations as if our life is threatened in some way when actually we are safe.
TRE simply reconnects us to this deep primal release and allows us to trust in the wisdom of the body to let go.
I’ve found it useful to normalise stress and trauma as a human condition - one that we all experience - and to know that it can and does get better.
Did you know that when we are in flight, flight or freeze the non-essential systems of the body shut down? We don’t need our digestion, to reproduce, our immune system or to grow and repair when we feel threatened. We need energy to our muscles, to increase our heart beat and blood pressure, we need oxygen. Take a minute to consider all the health conditions linked to those systems that shut down, the pressure on the body to be in this state and the energy it takes to maintain it.
Learn to turn off the stress response and see what changes when you practice TRE!
How Can TRE Help?
Some of the first things people notice is that they feel more relaxed, at peace and in their body - present. It's common to experience better sleep, have more energy, feel more resilient and better equipped to deal with daily life. Anxiety and depression can soften or lift. Reactions change, for the better.
As those 'non essential systems' of the body switch back on, I often hear of positive changes in chronic fatigue type symptoms, shifts in energy, emotional stability and digestive issues.
The benefits are cumulative and the more we practice the more we gain. The body knows how it needs to heal, we just need to trust in it and switch off the stress response.