1. What is TRE®

Tension/Trauma Release Exercises (TRE®) is an amazing self-help tool, designed to help regulate your body and rid it of the build-up of everyday stress.

We can find many examples of animals in the wild displaying a strong connection to their bodies, particularly when faced with danger.

When a zebra is hunted by a lion, and the kill is over, the rest of the herd will gather about 200m from the incident and shake from head to toe. To the onlooker, it looks like a shiver or ripple effect that travels from the head, through to their manes and down to their tails.

This is a release of fear and Adrenalin and they are able to bring their bodies back down to a stable level. This is what we humans have forgotten how to do. In contrast to animals, we don’t get the opportunity to actually execute our fight/flight response to the stress or trauma being experienced. We are designed to run away or physically fight off our danger and therefore release these deep muscle contractions.

David Barceli, the founder of TRE®, has been working with the programme for 22 years. He spent two decades living and working in war-torn countries, providing trauma-relief workshops and designing recovery programmes for international organizations. He boasts a solid academic and experiential grounding in psychotherapy and therapeutic bodywork.

He has used this technique globally on army veterans, survivors of natural disasters, and those who have survived other such states of crises. The success of TRE® of these individuals has been phenomenal.

In addition to this, providers have found that TRE® works exceptionally well on athletes with injuries. Through their sessions, TRE® is able to restore brain body messaging and therefore promote recovery as well as better performance.

  1. Why should I do TRE®?

When our bodies are faced with stress or tension, we make a subconscious decision about how we deal with this stress. We either enter a state of fight-or-flight, or we may feel completely overwhelmed and freeze. In this case, we dissociate from the stress or trauma.

Following these different reactions, some people may battle to engage their parasympathetic nervous system, and return to a balanced state. For example, a traumatic or stressful road incident, such as a car accident or hi-jacking, may cause us to experience an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and adrenaline whenever we are in a car. In this case, our bodies enter a continuous cycle of fight-or-flight, leaving us feeling ‘on edge’. It is essential that we resolve this triggered state.

The goal of TRE® is to give completion to the fight-or-flight response, and bring the body down to a lower state of arousal (an ‘un-triggered’ state).

  1. What does TRE® involve?

The TRE® process takes time – like the peeling of an onion. However, individuals will find it incredibly invigorating & a restorative process.

TRE® works by taking the body through a series of seven exercises, which stretch and stress each muscle group in the legs and trunk. Following these exercises, the tremors take place while the individual is lying on his/her back, with knees bent.

Each and every person’s tremor is completely different, and there is absolutely no correct way to tremor. It may start as tiny vibrations or small hip swaying. The body is given the freedom to move in the way it needs to, in order to release pent-up stress, tension, and trauma.

  1. Why should I have TRE® with a TRE® provider?

A TRE® provider will facilitate the process for you to help you feel comfortable and safe, keep you in the present, and give you the space needed for your body to release stress. I must reiterate that the body possesses powerful self-healing mechanisms. It knows what to do. During a session, the provider creates a safe environment where the body can release its stored tension.

  1. How many sessions should I have?

It is best to have the first 4-6 sessions with a provider who can take you through the exercises and facilitate the process. Following the 4-6 sessions, you may continue these exercises at home, without the extra guidance. TRE® will be a tool that you may use for the rest of your life.

You may experience greater discharges with a provider, as the body is given a safe environment to tremor and release tension. If you are finding your tremors during your home sessions are stuck in a single movement, and not flowing freely through the body, you may contact your practitioner to assist you further.

  1. Who needs TRE®

Since this shaking mechanism in the muscles is part of our natural behaviour as humans, everyone can benefit from TRE®. This shaking of the muscles, increases the resiliency of the body as it causes deep relaxation that naturally reduces stress levels. It can release emotions ranging from mild upset to severe anxiety whether it is caused by work stress, excessive worry, conflict relationships, physical stresses or trauma from accidents.

Are you a

  • parent/spouse who would like more patience with your family,
  • a victim of violence or accident,
  • a soldier suffering from PTSD,
  • an athlete,
  • an employee who finds that being in your job is overwhelming meeting the demands and pressure of work life
  • or simply a person who wants to become more resilient and just feel better about life,

You can all benefit from TRE®!

We all need TRE®, from the young to the old, as we all get caught up in our daily lives, which often do not allow for much time down-time to de-stress.

  1. Is TRE® only for people who have been involved in life threatening traumas?

TRE® is not reserved for survivors of life-threatening traumas, like war and natural disasters. It is also designed for the stress we experience on a daily basis.

TRE® is beneficial for releasing built-up stress from our everyday lives.

We face busy schedules, traffic, the needs of our families and friends, and the demands of work.

In these situations, our jaws and shoulders become tense and our heart rate can increase, often without our realising it.

Each moment we feel overwhelmed, stressed, or triggered by our environment, our bodies become affected, and this is what we store.

  1. Is it weird to feel the shaking sensation / tremor mechanism in my body?

These tremors are innate mechanisms of the human body; we would release stress this way naturally if we were still in touch with our bodies and their ability to heal themselves. The tremor mechanism is similar to the experience you can have when your body has a high fever and begins to shiver. The main difference however is that this TRE® neurogenic tremor is experienced when you are completely calm and safe and as a result is Restorative and not just a Release based as in the moment of danger.

  1. How will TRE® make me feel?

It generally takes 24-48 hours, after each session, for your body to settle to its new baseline. So it is important to take it easy and be kind to yourself and your body during this time. Reported Benefits include:

  • Less Worry & Anxiety
  • Reduced Symptoms of PTSD
  • More Energy & Endurance
  • Improved Marital Relationships
  • Less Workplace Stress
  • Better Sleep
  • Less Relationship conflict
  • Reduced Muscle & Back Pain
  • Increased Flexibility
  • Greater Emotional Resilience
  • Decreased Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma ( Stories of others, news etc)
  • Healing of Old Injuries
  • Lessened Anxiety surrounding Illness
  • Relief from Chronic Medication

TRE® is designed to be a self-help tool that once learned, can be used as needed, throughout one’s life, thereby continuously supporting and promoting personal health and wholeness.

  1. How will I know I can do TRE® on my own?

Once you have had 4-6 sessions with a provider you will be able to gauge with the provider when you are ready. As long as you are feeling comfortable with the movements and are able to stay in the present and stop before feelings of overwhelm set in.

  1. What should I wear to do TRE®

Wear lose comfortable clothes or gym gear which you feel comfortable in for various stretching exercises.

  1. Should I eat before attending a class?

It is recommended to make sure you had a substantial meal before attending TRE®. If you undertake TRE® on an empty stomach you may feel lightheaded or nauseous as you will have a sugar dip. So please eat something before hand.