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TRE: Tension/Trauma Release Exercise

Reduce Stress and Increase Vitality

TRE, which stands for Tension or Trauma Release Exercise, is a technique for self-healing and stress-reduction created by researcher and trauma worker, Dr. David Berceli.

It works with both the physical body (your muscles and connective tissue) and the nervous system, to complete the stress response, discharge tension, and release pent-up energy from every-day stress and traumatic events.

The method consists of a set of exercises that reliably elicit neurogenic tremors: an innate vibration or shaking that is your bodies’ way of completing its stress-response cycle and letting of unprocessed holding in your body.


Join a Group Shake or Take a Course

Connect with others who practice TRE at our next Group Shake. These events are for individuals who have previously learned TRE. Spaces are very limited to provide generous physical distance.


Booking an Appointment

Please email me at leslie@queenstreetyoga.com to set up a time.

Note: I am currently offering 1-on-1 sessions both online and in-person. For a virtual sessions, you will need a computer with a webcam and microphone, OR a tablet (ex. iPad), OR a smartphone to participate in an online session. For in-person sessions, we will stay physically distanced and discuss mask wearing boundaries, including regional by-laws ahead of time.

Pre-Appointment Steps

Before the day of our meeting:

  1. Fill out this intake form.
  2. Watch this video introduction.
  3. Make sure you have a session pre-loaded to your account. Queen Street Yoga uses the MindBody Online app. Set yourself up here.

On the day of our meeting:

  1. Gather equipment: a yoga mat and a blanket. Carpet floor is fine if you don't have a mat.
  2. For online sessions, please see this document for setting up your technology.
  3. Wear comfortable lounge or exercise clothing that is easy for you to move in. I also recommend layers in order to stay comfortable as your body temperature fluctuates during exercise and rest.

Add a TRE session to your account.

CLICK HERE

Appointment Types and Fees

Fees are listed in three levels: Standard, Community Supporter, and Subsidized.

Each time someone pays the Community Supporter rate, it allows for someone else - who is experiencing financial hardship due to un/underemployment or low income - to access these services at a more accessible rate. I trust that you will choose the rate that honours my efforts while respecting your budget.

Not sure if TRE is for you, and can't find a clear answer in the FAQ below? Let's connect for meet & greet. You can get to know me a little bit and ask any questions you have before committing to your first session.

Fees: free :)

The main purpose of the initial appointment is to try out TRE and get a sense of what it is.

We'll begin by going over your intake form, and then discuss your personal goals for trying TRE. I’ll work with you to build a shared understanding of what TRE is and could do for you. From there I'll guide you through the exercises and the tremoring process. We'll finish with a debrief and have lots of time for your questions.

Fees:
Standard Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $85
Community Supporter Rate . . . $105
Subsidized Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $65

Single appointments are great for individuals who already have, or previously had an established self-practice, and who:

- feel stuck in a pattern of tremoring that isn't shifting on its own
- are looking to explore subtler and deeper ways of engaging their tremor mechanism
- have some big questions they want to discuss and explore
- appreciate and want to have space held while delving into their process
- need a refresher on the exercises

Fees:
Standard Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $75
Community Supporter Rate . . . $90
Subsidized Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . $60

If you wish to establish a longterm TRE practice, this three-session bundle is a great option to proceed with following your initial session. When you sign-up for a three-pack of follow-up appointments, I'll share my home practice guide and learning modules to enrich your understanding of the human nervous system and TRE.

We'll work together create a deeper understanding of the exercises, how they feel in your body, what it means to self-regulate, and develop a more subtle awareness of how your tremor mechanism impacts your system. Depending on your needs, we'll also have the opportunity to explore some self- and non-touch interventions to broaden and deepen your tremors.

Fees:
Standard Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $195 ($65/session)
Community Supporter Rate . . . $240 ($80/session)
Subsidized Rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . $150 ($50/session)

Before your appointment: don't forget to load a TRE session to your account.

CLICK HERE

Frequently Asked Questions

A Certified TRE Provider serves as an educator, guide, and steward of the safe container in which you can encounter and experience your tremor mechanism. I see my role as providing sufficient instruction and information to empower you to take ownership of the practice of TRE, including teaching you the seven activating exercises that bring about the tremors. I am happy to answer questions, provide context about the human stress response and nervous system, and generally nerd out about self awareness. I also aim to guide you to increasingly subtle awareness of your sensations and thoughts, and a more consistent sense of presence and groundedness within your body.

If you were to purchase one of David Berceli’s books, DVDs, or the TRE smartphone app, you would be able to learn TRE on your own. Many individuals choose this approach, and it reflects how I began my TRE journey. That said, the times that I’ve been privileged to a session of tremoring with a provider have been some of the best ones. Why? The presence of another person whose nervous system is calm and grounded provides a safe connection with whom to interact, and a safe container within which to release tension and stress. My own personal TRE practice, and the extent to which I access calm, presence and grounding is part of what I offer each individual in each moment.

Tremoring one-on-one with a provider, in a group with a provider, all by yourself, or with friends and family all offer different opportunities and challenges. Group sessions are great for many people, and offer the opportunity to hear from other practitioners about their experiences with TRE, which can be quite variable. Individual sessions might be more appropriate if:

  • you are in the thick of your healing journey
  • have fairly prominent physical challenges that show up in most physical activity
  • feel a little too vulnerable to tremor within a group or circle
  • realize that you want to explore a deepening of your tremor mechanism through self- and non-touch intervention

TRE can be made accessible to the vast majority of the population, and is appropriate if you have any amount of physical, mental or emotional stress in your life. There are a few situations where caution is appropriate, and a few contraindications. If you are pregnant, TRE is not known to be safe or unsafe, and therefore is not recommended. If you have had any abdominal surgery in the last three months, please wait until that healing period has passed before beginning TRE. Additionally, a few psychiatric conditions present challenges that are outside my scope of practice. If you are feeling unsure, please fill out an intake form and send me an email to leslie@queenstreetyoga.com to inquire further.


About Leslie

In the icy winter of 2015-2016, I took a google deep dive into nervous system healing that started with the search term “vagal tone.” Somewhere in there, I came across a few videos of people shaking on the floor and my curiosity was piqued. Thank heavens for the internet, because that initial curiosity led me to discover the healing potential of my own body, revealed by TRE.

My practice started that winter and has been a profoundly impactful influence on my body and psyche. Physical tensions I’d been living with for as long as I could remember began to softly melt away, making daily movement (not to mention my yoga practice) a lot more comfortable and easeful. Even better, I’ve increased my sense of grounding and ability to access a calm and balanced mind, leading to more resilience, and an easier time relating to and connecting with others personally and professionally.

A couple of years into my personal practice, I stumbled upon the amazing news that a certification training was going to become available to me, right here in Ontario. I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for that opportunity. Upon certification, I immediately followed up with an advanced provider training, and hope to do many more throughout my career. Through my training I learned that in other countries, TRE is recognized by the healthcare and insurance systems in the same way that massage therapy is here in Canada. In some places, TRE is practiced in classrooms, students and teachers alike!

Alongside my specific TRE training, I bring additional knowledge and experience to each session from my background as an educator and Yoga instructor. I am also indebted to the Ontario Vipassana Centre for teaching me to meditate in a way that has been so supportive to my TRE journey, both as a practitioner and provider.

I believe TRE has the potential and importance to become a household name across Canada. My vision is for the Queen Street Yoga and the wider Kitchener-Waterloo communities to get shaking, thereby accessing a deeper peace and freedom within than we could ever have imagined.


Tell Me More About TRE!

TRE was developed by Dr. David Berceli. It is a body-based stress-reduction and healing practice, and more literally it’s a reliable process for eliciting and regulating automatic, self-induced, therapeutic tremors in your body (or shaking, vibrating, fluttering, shimmying, wave-like movements). In short, you perform seven activating exercises intended to gently fatigue or stress certain muscles including the psoas, then relax into a position where neurogenic tremors can arise. These tremors are named neurogenic tremors to distinguish them from pathological (disease-related) tremors found in situations like Parkinson’s or epilepsy.

The tremor mechanism is something completely natural to all mammals. You might have noticed your dog trembling after getting spooked or nervous. Other mammals and birds tremor naturally after stressful or traumatic events, and it was in a bomb-shelter with a community caught in a civil war that Dr. David Berceli noticed that children were the ones who would shake once the danger has passed. Many adults have forgotten about or suppressed this intrinsic ability, but some can recall times when they themselves have felt like their body was shaking uncontrollably during or after a stressful, emotional or traumatic experience, or even just when feeling really excited or nervous, especially birthing mothers.

What’s really going on when the body tremors like this? To understand TRE, we have to back up and explore the nervous system from the lens of the polyvagal theory a little bit. When faced with a real or perceived threat or danger, our nervous system picks a response: fight, flight, or freeze.* If our nervous system chooses the freeze response, or if our efforts to fight or flee are thwarted, either because of social norms (like, “Don’t punch your coworker,”) or physical restraint (like being trapped in a car with your seatbelt on while going through an accident), that means our bodies have marshalled a whole bunch of energy and neurotransmitters/hormones (including the ones that get a bad rep like cortisol), but didn’t get to do anything with them.

Activation without action, or energizing without release, is where stress adds up and where symptoms of a traumatic reaction can originate. Our bodies just hold onto this pent-up energy, remnants of the stress response. The newest work from the field of traumatology and the relationship between emotion, stress and disease tends to produce book titles with this theme: The Body Keeps the Score, The Body Remembers, and When the Body Says No are a few examples. Imagining all the interpersonal conflicts, stressful days at work and life-changing losses we’ve endured, it can be a little alarming to think of what our bodies are holding onto.

If you freeze, or are unable to fight or run away, the way to move through this pent-up stress is to tremor! This is a completely healthy and purposeful reaction: the shaking, vibration or tremoring completes the cycle of activation and allows your body and nervous system to return to, or get closer to its baseline. The only sad part is that most so-called “modern” societies have either forgotten about it, or dismissed it as a sign of weakness. When you learn to engage with this process in a safe, controlled way, you can give your body and nervous system the gift of release and healing.

Like mediation and Yoga, TRE is a practice that is simple in one sense, but offers a depth of experience that continues to expand as you practice over the long term.

The international, not-for-profit organization started by Dr. David Berceli has its online home here at traumaprevention.com.

Another great resource for finding additional TRE workshops, plus an excellent FAQs section is the TRE Canada website.