Tension and Trauma Release Exercises®

Before starting any practice to release trauma, please contact your healthcare provider to assure it is suitable for you. If you suffer from complex psychological issues please seek a qualified TRE® Provider who is also a psychotherapist here:



What is TRE®?

Tension and Trauma Release Exercises® (TRE®) is a somatic, body-based modality which releases stress and tension. It is an easy approach involving a set of 7 simple exercises and gentle stretches which help us to connect with our body and to tap into a tremor mechanism. This tremor mechanism is an innate healing response to scary or overwhelming experiences. We encourage these natural vibrations to move throughout the body. It does not require talking about the event or even remembering what happened. Most people find the tremors pleasurable. It is easy to slow them down or stop them if they become too intense. The ability to shake exists in all humans and mammals. Once learned, people can use it as a self-help tool for the rest of their lives to increase resiliency and good health.

Why do we do it?

The tremor mechanism is an organic, natural way to unwind tight areas and long-held stress patterns. It reduces the tendency of the body to go into freezing, flooding and dissociation. When we let our body tremor regularly primitive parts of our brain are “re-wired” and it calms our nervous system down. It is a wonderful way to regulate oneself.

Whom does it benefit?

Everyone who has a nervous system can benefit from TRE®! It helps anyone whose life, health and/or wellbeing is negatively impacted by pain, stress, trauma, overwhelm or anxiety.

How often should I do it?

Each person is different and has their own history of stress and/or trauma. Many people will only need 1 or 2 sessions with a TRE® Provider until they are comfortable doing the exercises themselves at home. Some people may need more sessions. Once a person is comfortable doing them, it is ideal to continue doing TRE® at home 2-3 times a week for 5 – 20 minutes each time for maximum benefit.

How long will it take to see results?

Short term – Most people notice a difference immediately after letting their body tremor. Usually they feel more relaxed, calmer and grounded. Sometimes people feel more energized.

Long term – Over a period of time (usually a few months) people report myriad benefits. Mentally and emotionally people become calmer, and feel more joy, aliveness and peace. They sleep better. It is easier for people to connect with themselves and others. They feel more present, safe, confident and loving. They have less fear, doubt, anger and anxiety. Physically they have less pain and report relief from many health issues (see below).


A longer explanation for curious people:

Dr. Peter Levine realized that animals often experience the threat of death, but do not show any symptoms of trauma. Dr. David Berceli, while in war-torn countries, noticed young children trembling when they were scared. These experiences motivated both men to study stress. What they discovered is that when people cannot mobilize (i.e. fight or run away) from a scary or traumatic experience, they become overwhelmed and their nervous system automatically uses one of the defense strategies of immobility (i.e. freezing, shut down or dissociation). The body creates a huge amount of stress hormones in preparation for fighting or running away from the threat. When the immobility response is activated and they freeze or collapse, the cycle must complete itself afterward through trembling, otherwise this energy gets trapped and the body continues to believe that it is continuously under threat. If it is not completed, people get stuck in a cycle of going really fast, “checking out”, or shutting down. The scary experience can be one big event or many small events over a period of time. When the body cannot regulate itself, many mental and physical health issues can result months or even decades later. Some of these include:







PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Chronic stress

Thoughts of suicide

Mental health disorders

Substance abuse

Auto-immune disorders

Gastrointestinal disorders

Chronic pain




Cardiovascular issues

Neurological issues


It is also recommended for people who:

Have inflammation in their body

Feel tightness

Have addiction issues

Are or used to be exposed to violence, war or abuse

Have witnessed the trauma of other people

Have been in a motor-vehicle accident

Have been in a natural disaster

In summary:

Using TRE® regularly, primitive parts of our brain react quickly and calm down the nervous system. The trapped energy can be released and the continual alarm in the body can be turned off. When the charge in the nervous system decreases, it restores balance and the body returns to homeostasis. Things we do not want are eliminated and things we do want are increased/improved. We become healthier mentally, physically and emotionally.

This video explains more if you’re interested:


Dr. David Berceli’s website:



“The nervous system is like a guard dog that’s on alert to protect us. You can’t talk the dog into calming down using logic, but you can soothe it and retrain it over time so it doesn’t overreact. With TRE® we’re soothing the nervous system, using a natural body response, rather than using psychology and logic, or medication.”   ~ Steve Haines, TRE® Instructor, and author of several books


“We can’t think our way toward healing. Like antelopes running from jaguars or possums playing dead, our individual and collective nervous systems are trapped in flight or freeze. If we are to move forward, we must shake ourselves out of these states. We’ve been taught or have chosen to ignore our bodily message so much and for so long that most of us don’t even notice them anymore. In order to feel safe . . . we must reconnect with our bodies.”    ~ Kimberly Ann Johnson from Call of the Wild