Do you ever feel like you can’t slow down? Or relax and enjoy the moment? Have you ever thought to yourself that perhaps you are just an anxious or “stressy” kind of person? Are you constantly tired? Do you find yourself shallow breathing on a regular basis? Do you find yourself thinking sometimes that your life is good so “why can’t I just be happy”?
These seemingly normal states of being in a state of high activation end up infiltrating our lives, our identity and our ways of being. We start to think that being highly stressed or exhausted is just the way we are or life is. But if we stop for a moment and observe the joy and freedom of a young child we can see that happiness, ease and contentment are our birthright.
So what happened along the way? Well it’s obvious that an accumulation of difficult life experiences start to take it’s toll on the mind and body and try as we might to move on with physiological or psychological interventions we still find ourselves stuck. Stuck in physical pain, emotional distress, with low resilience and struggling to find a way through.
But life was not meant to be this way!
What I have come to intrinsically understand with 20 years experience as a mind body practitioner is that our pain, stress and even trauma doesn’t get stuck in our minds or even our bodies (yep that was a lightening bolt and a kick in the pants for me too!).
Our stress, tension and trauma is first experienced by the nervous system and then expressed by our mind and body!
So to relieve our pain we must address it directly at a nervous system level and that’s where TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) provides the missing link in self care, restoration and true happiness.
Developed by Dr David Bercelli TRE gently invokes neurogenic tremors to discharge stress, tension and pent up survival energy from the nervous system. Our bodies were actually designed to tremor. When we allow our body to tremor we are essentially discharge excess energy from the nervous system. Once complete our body can move out of excess activation and return to its natural state of equilibrium after a stressful event.
We see people tremor when they experience great highs like making a speech or great lows such as being in shock. Most of us can recall tremoring when engaging in strenuous exercise. However in modern day life we perceive shaking as weakness or being out of control and so we shut down our innate tremoring response with barely a conscious decision.
Think about it when someone is crying what is the first thing we do? We go to put our arms or even a blanket around them with intentions of comfort and containment but in doing this we end up locking in the very energy that we seek to quell.
In TRE we deliberately invoke the tremors in order to facilitate the release from the nervous system. Unlike situations of overwhelm in which we have little or no control over the intensity we can moderate when, where and how much we release at any time.
The beauty of learning to manage the intensity of the tremors in TRE is that we naturally learn to moderate the intensity of our responses to life’s challenges.
And just as when we learn to drive and use the brake effectively it gives us more scope to use the accelerator more skillfully. Given time and practice we develop a greater capacity to release and resolve significant tension and long held pressure.
One of the elements that I love most about TRE is that you are in complete control of how much you shift in any one session. The other remarkable aspect of this practice is that you don’t have to think or talk or remember the overwhelming events that have lead to a build up in the nervous system avoiding re-triggering and retraumatization.
This can be particularly useful for difficulties experienced in childhood or trauma that deserves to stay locked away from memory. For all the blokes out there who don’t like talking about feelings this technique is for you! The wisdom of the body finds and releases the tension guided by its own neurogenic intelligence and is on the most part quite relaxing.
Fortunately TRE is easy, transportable and only takes 10-15 minutes a few times a week to truly shift long held patterns, behaviors and ways of being that are seemingly unyielding.
This is a composite list of my own personal experiences as well as the shifts that I have observed in those that I teach TRE…
1. Significant reduction in physical pain
I have worked with numerous people plagued by chronic pain for years and even decades report a reduction in pain by up to 85% and even 100%. There is a greater awareness among health practitioners that chronic pain goes beyond mechanical dysfunction and more often it is a protective mechanism gone awry. By discharging the physical or psychological associations of trauma the pain response can settle. As the body comes out of it’s survival responses deeper levels of healing can be achieved.
2. Improvement in Health and Autoimmune Conditions
Stress is known to significantly contribute to the onset of autoimmune conditions such as ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. The landmark Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) Study (1998) demonstrated the irrefutable link between childhood stress and chronic disease later on in life. This study successfully correlated the incidence of childhood stressors with heart disease, lung disease and even stroke later on in life. While our minds might forget our bodies retain the imprints of the past which show up later on in life as chronic pain or disease.
3. Greater resilience
This is not a consciously developed attribute but naturally evolves with the regular practice of TRE. With the release of long held sensory fragments from painful experiences we are less triggered by difficult people or stressful events. We find that we have greater capacity to be with and move through the challenges of daily life.
4. Less reliance on unhelpful coping mechanisms
Let’s face it most of us at one time or another have turned to devices or vices to help ease the intensity of our experiences. Even seemingly benign tenancies towards excessive exercise and working can contribute to patterns of avoidance that stave off pain but only for a time. With the pressing intensity of unresolved stress, pain and trauma the dependency on unhelpful coping strategies can easily blow out resulting in excess and addiction. I have not met one person who has substance use issues that doesn’t also have chronic psychological pain. Once learned TRE is a technique that can be used anywhere and anytime without relying on the availability of a practitioner. When a significant portion of long held trauma is released the need for coping mechanisms fades away.
5. Better sleep and rest
As the body shifts out of a prolonged state of high alert adrenaline and cortisol levels reduce allowing the body to move more easily into rest and digest. If you are one of those people who finds it difficult to sit still or are constantly cramming as much as they can into every minute of the day then your nervous system may be stuck in a permanent state of fight or flight. It is near impossible to think or talk our way out of this state. TRE gentle allows the body to remember how to return to natural states of rest.
With regular practice TRE has immense potential to free you from physical ailments, can help you recover from work stress and exercise exertion and helps free people from chronic psycho-emotional pain. When we liberate ourselves from the debris in our nervous system anything is possible!
Emiline is a counsellor, bodyworker and TRE provider. With over 20 years of working with people to release pain, tension and anxiety she believes that healing was meant to be mostly fun and easy. Whether you are wanting to find greater success in life, let go of the past or find your way through a difficult time I am here to support you. Call me for a free 15 minute consultation to discuss the ways in which I can help. Finding greater ease than ever before is often simpler than we think. So give me a call on 0419 101 665 or send me at email email@example.com