Somatic Therapy

Learn how to restore your body’s innate capacity to release trauma, stress and tension.

“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.” ― Peter A. Levine

Somatic therapy uses both talk therapy and physical therapies (bodywork) for healing. In addition to talk therapy, somatic therapy uses mind-body exercises and other physical techniques to help release tension, stress or trauma that is affecting your physical and emotional well-being.

Somatic therapy pioneer and trauma expert Dr. Peter Levine has dedicated his life to studying and healing trauma worldwide. When asked how he would define trauma, he said : “When we feel that our lives are threatened, our bodies naturally charge up for “fight or flight” response. If neither of those two options are available, we fallback to the third option, to freeze — to trick a predator into thinking we’re dead, and giving us a potential opportunity for escape later.”

Once it is safe, an animal will eventually shake and tremor, discharging all of that fight or flight energy. However, when we experience stressful events or prolonged periods of stress, we remain stuck in freeze state, and the animals (i.e., us) aren’t able to process, discharge and integrate the experience.

Somatic therapy is a body-centered therapy focused on the connection between mind and body.

Our bodies are equipped to handle daily life stress and anxiety, however, when we experience consistent stress or traumatic experiences (such as natural disasters, accidents, domestic violence, etc) our nervous system becomes overwhelmed and cannot self-regulate, returning to its normal, relaxed state.

We need to become aware that trauma is very common and everyone experiences it in their own way. Generally, trauma is considered any experience that is overwhelming the body (nervous system), or that the body does not have the resources or time to integrate – and this can be either physical (body) or psychological (emotional) harm.

Through Somatic therapy we restore and inspire a natural communication between brain and body.

T R E ®

somatic therapy

Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (or TRE®)

"As the brain releases emotional charge, the muscle tissue in the body relaxes, and as muscle tissue relaxes, the brain can release the emotions associated with the contraction pattern." Dr. David Berceli, Trauma Release Exercises

TRE stands for Tension, Stress or Trauma Releasing Exercises. These exercises help individuals to release stress or tension as a result of long-term stress or traumatic life experiences. Consisting of seven simple stretches, TRE evokes a muscular shaking process in the body. The exercises activate this shaking or neurogenic tremors in a safe and sustained manner. 

When evoked in this way, the tremor begins to release deep chronic muscular tension held within the body. Therefore it stimulates the body’s natural response to reduce the highly aroused state of the stressful or traumatic experience and release the contraction pattern – allowing the body to slowly come back to its natural relaxed state.  When tension is released anywhere in the body, the brain registers a reduction in pain signals and produces new hormones for relaxation and comfort. Often, this release of tension is much like receiving an internal massage.

Even the strongest need a break sometimes.

Even the strongest need a break sometimes.

TRE was developed by Dr. David Berceli, a trained social worker who spent years in high conflict areas. Whilst in a bomb shelter, he noticed that people would make the same involuntary movements when they would hear a bomb strike, covering their head with their hands and curling up into the fetal position. He was interested in the fact that after the bomb strikes, children would tremble and shake, while adults did not. 

This shaking or tremoring mechanism as a response to trauma is not unique to humans but is found across the animal kingdom. Dr. Berceli spent years studying trauma and somatic experiencing to explore how suppressing this natural mechanism of self-regulation of the nervous system leads to“storing” trauma in our body, and how to help release it by working with the body.

TRE is a perfect self-help tool. 

After learning how to elicit this shaking response in our bodies – and how to regulate that response and what it invokes in us – we can safely practice TRE on our own. TRE is safe and meant for anyone regardless of gender, sex, age or culture.

What makes TRE® unique?

  • The therapeutic muscle tremors evoked by the TRE exercise process is a natural, internal, neuro-physiological response of the body to reduce its own stress and restore a sense of well-being.
  • TRE is a body based (somatic) process which, when done properly, through a Certified TRE Provider can allow the individual to discharge tension from the body, which often does not require “revisiting the story”. (i.e: verbally describing or talking about the traumatic experience)
  • TRE is designed to be a self-help tool that once learned, can be used as needed, throughout one’s life, thereby continuously supporting and promoting personal health and wholeness.
  • TRE can be taught as either a simple self-help, tension reduction technique in a physical exercise program OR it can be used as an effective complementary practice when integrated with other treatment modalities by those in the healing professions, including the treatment of PTSD and anxiety disorder recovery.
  • TRE promotes cohesiveness and openness between participants and can be a helpful tool for dispute resolution. (i.e: interpersonal, corporate and political communication)
  • TRE can cross culture and language barriers because it is based on natural physiological responses shared by all human beings. (source: www.traumaprevention.com)

Some of the reported benefits of doing TRE may include:

Reduced muscle & back pain
Increased flexibility
Greater emotional resiliency
Healing of old injuries
Lessened anxiety surrounding serious illness
Relief from chronic medical conditions
Balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system

Reduces Symptoms of PTSD
Less worry and anxiety
More energy & endurance
Improved marital relationships
Less workplace stress
Better sleep and rest
Less relationship conflict

For more in depth information on TRE®, Dr. David Berceli, or other registered providers - Please go to
www.traumaprevention.com

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