What is TRE®? Tension/Trauma Releasing Exercises

A little over a year ago, my husband came home with a fascinating book about how our body stores trauma and tension deep in our muscular and nervous system. 

The book, written by Dr. David Berceli, after he spent three decades in war-torn parts of the world, researches how humans process tension, stress, and even trauma very differently than the animals in nature. Dr. Berceli observed that humans tend to tighten up and bottle up stress rather than letting our bodies discharge it naturally. He created a series of seven simple yet very innovative exercises that assist the body in releasing deep patterns of muscular tension, stress, and trauma through a shaking/vibrating/tremoring mechanism.  

The theory behind TRE® is that when humans are presented with extremely stressful and even life-threatening situations, our bodies immediate reaction is to begin to shake. 

For example, have you ever almost been in a car accident? 

What do you immediately do?

You shake!

You can’t help yourself, but humans have been culturally taught that it is not okay to show any weakness, so our quick response is to stop the natural “tremors,” and we end up storing tension in our body.  

Animals, on the other hand, universally allow the tremors to happen. For example, think of your dog who is scared of the fireworks on the fourth of July, or we know that if a gazelle is chased by a lion in the wild and manages to escape and live, they separate themselves from their pack and they tremor and release the stored trauma. 

I found this theory to be interesting and exciting enough that Keith and I agreed to hire a certified TRE® instructor to come and teach at our Asheville Adventure Weekend. We are always looking for new ways to help people, and we both wholeheartedly believe that our bodies need much more release than they get daily, so TRE® seemed promising. 

Our instructor spent about 30 minutes explaining the science behind TRE, physiology, and the research, and I became even more interested. After giving a thoughtful introduction, we began the practice of TRE® itself.  

I observed as she worked with our group and found the exercises to be so easy, something any person could do, and each move seemed to bring the room full of participates a lot of peace. 

After the practice, I had a lot of attendees walk up to me and tell me they enjoyed TRE®, and they felt a sense of calm after, and the majority couldn’t wait to do it again. The next day the rave reviews continued to come in as many people told me that they had to take a nap after (even though the exercises are very gentle), because they felt such a huge release, and several said it was the best night’s sleep they had in years. These comments were encouraging since I know first hand how challenging good rest can be post-loss or any challenging life circumstance. We got so much good feedback I started to read Dr. Berceli’s book to understand his principles further, and then I decided to take his certification program for myself. 

I started in February of 2019 at his 3-day intensive worship in Phoenix with a master instructor who has been working with Dr. Berceli for years. Being a fitness instructor with more than my fair share of certifications, I wasn’t sure how intense the training would be, but I quickly learned this was going to be a time-consuming and extensively thorough course. The first three days were filled with hours of science and physiology on how our bodies process trauma, grief, tension, and stress. Obviously, as the creator of One Fit Widow, I believe our bodies are a huge part of our healing process, but this study was showing me just how important it is that we discharge stress more than just mentally. After the three days, we were required to do a lot of follow up readings, books like “The Body Keeps the Score” and “Waking the Tiger” and perform a lot of side sessions with our teams, coach, and friends. In April, I return for another three-day intensive and learned even more about TRE®, group training, and teaching this unique modality. I spent several months after this secondary training reading more textbooks, doing more individual and group sessions with my instructor, writing book reports, and journaling about my own experience before being certified as a TRE instructor in late November. 

We know that the psoas muscle (think your hip flexors) is often the tightest region in the body, and TRE works to help release stored tension from this critical region that we now understand is a big player in the journey towards true health. As you perform the exercises, you work on grounding with your feet and slowly fatigue the muscles leading up to the psoas to activate and stimulate the tremor mechanism. 

Dr. Berceli wanted to create these exercises so anyone can perform them as a self-help tool once they have learned and been taught the self-regulating techniques by a certified instructor. 

I am proud to announce that Dr. Berceli will be teaching LIVE at our Phoenix event this upcoming February, and he plans to spend four hours teaching the principles of his work.

Save a spot to the event here: https://tri.ps/UdxTc

I will also be offering TRE® via ZOOM as a benefit to our Fitness Quest Wellness Program and is a beautiful add-on to what we already provide through this program I will also be teaching at all future My1FitLife Adventure Events. 

To save a spot in our Quest Wellness Program and work with me Live via Zoom go to: https://onefitwidow.com/my1fitlife-quest-wellness-program/?fbclid=IwAR3Cc76_WrGCQVEX7GphjjeZ5EMGLXfzEAT8inc3McdgzjZDeGWQzf6iv4E

As I’ve progressed through my training, I’ve heard so many testimonials from the people I’ve had the chance to do TRE® with everything from low-back pain and hamstring pain resolution to better sleep, more mental clarity, and a greater sense of calm. I am excited that I took the time to study TRE®, and I know this is just the beginning of my education in this area. 

To find out more about TRE®, you can go to the website below: https://traumaprevention.com

TRE® is now being studying extensively on Veterans with PTSD at Arizona State University, and the early results and testing are showing positive outcomes for many stressed population groups.

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