If you’ve attended a TRE session or group with me, here is a page of resources and information for you to dig into at your own pace. This page is to provide you with additional knowledge and theory to support your self-practice and understanding of TRE and self-regulation.
TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. These are an innovative sequence of movements and poses designed to activate a healing reflex mechanism in the body, felt as shaking, tremoring or vibration. These neuro-muscular tremors naturally and organically release stress, tension and trauma that is held in our body’s muscular tissue and fascia.
Through the process of listening, learning and exploring,
you can build a relationship with your body that’s based in feeling and
sensation. A really lovely bottom-up and organic approach to meeting
ourselves. Overtime, when used safely, TRE can assist the body in
letting go of deeper patterns of muscular tension as well as provide you with
the tools to be able integrate these releases.
TRE can be learnt in either individual sessions or in groups. It’s a wonderful way to slow down, be curious, and safely let your body heal itself.
“The psychology of trauma is complex, the physiology is
The word ‘trauma’ itself can feel like a big, scary word
to many people. A common misconception is to only see trauma as
significant events, such as a car crash. However, trauma is actually
our response to overwhelming situations or people. When we are
faced with a real or perceived danger, our bodies automatically go into
primitive defense responses in order to promote survival. When we do
not complete a survival stress response, the old parts of our brain can
get fixed in fight, flight or freeze modes.
Depending on our resources for recovery at the time, we
may become ‘stuck’ in one of these survival responses. This means
you could spend months or years ‘running on adrenaline’ or perhaps feeling
‘numb’ or not completely in your body.
Trauma is stored in our tissues as patterns of muscular
tension. Once we start to understand that we hold all our
experiences in our bodies, we can also utilise our internal, natural mechanisms
Go slowly and gently if you are starting out so you can explore how your body responds to tremors. For beginners, it is recommended to shake 2-3 times a week for between 5-15 minutes after the exercises. That is considered a strong practice! You really do not have to do much. Include lots of rests within that time too.
If you leave 24 hours in-between shakes you’ll be able to notice how you are responding. It can be helpful to journal or make notes so you can tailor your practice as you go along.
Essentially, you are experimenting to find the right dose of TRE that works for you and your needs. If you need support self-regulating the process, work with a Certified TRE
Provider in either 121 or group sessions. Over time, you’ll be able to shake for longer or more often.
This sequence of exercises offers a routine and a ritual to guide you safely into your tremor practice. As well as gently fatiguing and stretching big muscle groups, the sequence allows you to practice self-regulation, feel sensation, and ground you into your body.
It is recommended to use the entire sequence the first 10 times you practice. Overtime, with regular practice, you may not need to do the full sequence. Regular shakers who have practiced TRE and self-regulation can usually lie down and use the floor sequence to initiate the tremors. However, many will still return to and use the exercise sequence as part of their ongoing practice.
Sometimes shaking can increase the intensity of sensations we experience in our bodies. This may feel overwhelming. In most cases, more rest and grounding is needed.
One of the core TRE principles is going slow. When we have too much change, too quickly, it can be hard to integrate. As a general guideline, if you feel the intensity is over 6/10 and/ or you feel worse after more than 48 hours after your session, then it is likely you have done too much.
TRE is simple but powerful. Sometimes a really small amount is needed at first. If you are learning or in a difficult space, even five minutes can feel like a lot. Try shaking for 30 seconds to a minute and resting. Use a timer to help you regulate. Slowly but surely, you can build the skill and confidence to shake for longer.
Connect with a TRE Provider who can support you to learn and practice self-regulation and grounding to build the foundations you need for your ongoing self-practice.
Check out the resources below too.
It depends! Some people can learn the basics of the TRE process in 1-2 sessions or groups and start their own practice. Others need 6-10 sessions to feel confident with the practice. It is really down to how you feel and what your body needs. Working with a TRE Provider has the added benefit of creating safety through co-regulation to support your process.
Many regular shakers choose to maintain sessions with a TRE Provider as and when they need to continue to deepen their relationship to the practice and can find that the most significant tension releases can occur when you feel safe and supported.
Safe and Sound Protocol Podcast #27 TRE and Polyvagal Theory with Richmond Heath, TRE Australia (such a great episode to understand the depth of TRE)
Under the Skin Podcast #196 How To Shake Off Trauma with Dr. David Berceli
(psst you can get a free trial to listen!)
Trauma is Really Strange, Steve Haines
– Fantastic comic book on Trauma. Steve is amazing at breaking down big ‘scary’ topics into bite-size chunks. Other Really Strange series include Pain, Anxiety and Touch.
The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der Kolk
– A classic book on Trauma that goes into detail about dissociation (see my post)
In an Unspoken Voice, Peter Levine
– Very detailed book that is a must read if you are studying trauma (see my post)
Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve, Stanley Rosenberg
– An absolute gem of a book. Wonderfully practical with easy to follow steps to check and support your vagal tone. Very accessible explanation of Polyvagal Theory.
When the Body Says No, Gabor Mate
– I recommend anything by Gabor Mate! His books can be dense but full of so much wisdom. He’s brilliant to listen too as well, speaking very eloquently on all the big topics, including trauma, childhood development and attachment parenting (see my post)