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FAQ's on Trauma Release Exercises (TRE®): Safety, Efficacy, and Everything You Need to Know

In the world of holistic wellbeing, Trauma Release Exercises (TRE®) have gained significant attention for their potential to unlock and release stored tension, stress and trauma within the body. In this article, I'll be answering the common questions I’ve been asked recently by clients and people interested in trying TRE® and shedding light on the safety and efficacy of the modality.


Are Trauma Release Exercises Real?

Yes, Trauma Release Exercises are very much real. Developed by Dr. David Berceli, a renowned trauma expert, these simple yet powerful exercises are designed to help the body release tension, stress, and trauma through involuntary shaking, vibrating and tremoring. Through this process the nervous system can begin to regulate our stress responses and habitual patterns.  


Are Trauma Release Exercises Safe?

TRE® is generally considered safe for most individuals. However, it's crucial to approach them mindfully. It's advisable to consult with a Certified TRE® Provider before starting, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.


Do Trauma Release Exercises Work?

Numerous testimonials and anecdotal evidence suggest that Trauma Release Exercises can be highly effective in reducing stress and trauma-related symptoms. Scientific research supporting their efficacy is emerging, and many individuals report feeling a noticeable difference after developing a consistent shaking practice.


How Do Trauma Release Exercises Work?

TRE® targets the body's natural tremor response, a mechanism that animals use to discharge stress and tension after a threatening experience. By inducing controlled tremors through specific exercises, TRE® aims to activate this innate healing process, allowing the body to release stored tension and trauma and reset and regulate the nervous system and our overprotective reflexes.


What Does Trauma Release Feel Like?

Individual experiences with tension, stress and trauma release can vary. Some describe it as a subtle yet profound sense of relaxation, while others may feel a release of pent-up emotions. It's essential to approach the process with an open mind and without expectations. Some shakes produce minor tremors, while other sessions may induce more fluid and expansive movements.


Can Releasing Trauma Cause Physical Symptoms or Illness?

In some cases, individuals may temporarily experience physical symptoms or heightened emotions as the body releases stored trauma. However, this is often a natural part of the healing process and tends to subside with continued practice.


Can You Get Sick from Trauma Release Exercises?

While the process itself is not designed to make you sick, as with any physical activity, it's crucial to listen to your body and avoid overexertion. Some people have reported dizziness and nausea from too much shaking, which is why we recommend starting with 5-10 minute shakes. If you have concerns or pre-existing health conditions, consult with a Certified TRE® Provider.


What Are the Side Effects of Trauma Release Exercises?

Common side effects may include temporary fatigue, muscle soreness, or emotional sensitivity. These symptoms are generally short-lived and are often indicative of the body's healing process.


Is Trauma Trapped in the Body?

According to many researchers, therapists and facilitators in the mental health field, and indeed in the TRE® community, trauma is stored in the body. In the groundbreaking book by Bessel Van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score, he presents a compelling case for the connection between trauma and the body. Trauma can manifest as chronic tension and stress which can cause or aggravate many autoimmune conditions and inflammatory illnesses. TRE® aims to facilitate the release of this stored trauma, promoting physical and emotional wellbeing and easing symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, hypervigilance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, Chron’s disease and many other conditions. Case studies can be found in Dr. David Berceli’s book, Shake it Off Naturally.


What Does It Mean to Have a Trauma Release?

A trauma release signifies the body's ability to let go of stored tension and stress. It's often accompanied by a sense of lightness, relaxation, and an overall improvement in emotional wellbeing and self-awareness. While some people may experience catharsis, this is not the goal. Small, gradual and regular release is recommended.


Where Does the Body Hold Trauma?

Trauma can be held in various parts of the body, commonly in areas where tension accumulates, such as the neck, shoulders, and hips. TRE® targets these areas, helping to release stored trauma and reset the nervous system.


How Long Does It Take for Trauma to Leave the Body?

The duration varies from person to person. Some individuals may experience relief after just a few sessions, while others may require more time. Consistency and patience are key. We recommend shaking every other day for the first ten weeks for 5-10 minutes to begin with and then exploring your own cadence.


What Are the Physical Signs of Trauma?

Physical signs of trauma can include chronic pain, tension, headaches, and digestive issues. TRE® aims to address these physical manifestations by promoting the release of the stored tension, stress and trauma.


Final comments

Trauma Release Exercises offer a promising approach to holistic wellbeing by tapping into the body's natural healing mechanisms. Many individuals have found relief and improved overall wellbeing through regular practice. Integrating TRE® into a broader recovery plan, including somatic therapy and bodywork, has shown promising results in alleviating stress and trauma-related symptoms.


If you want to explore the potential of TRE® and discover the transformative power they may hold for your own healing journey, please get in touch.

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