Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)

Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) is the body’s natural process for releasing stress, tension and trauma. TRE is a set of gentle exercises to activate the body’s inbuilt tremoring mechanism so it can shake out the tension, stress and trauma.

When the body is triggered in threat or perceived danger it gets pumped full of adrenaline and cortisol to prepare it to fight back or run away. If you don’t run or fight those chemicals stay within the body and contribute to the chronic tension, tightness, and soreness that we feel when our muscles are locked up and have restricted movement. TRE helps to unwind these tension patterns.

Once you have learned how to self-regulate your tremoring you can use TRE regularly on your own at home to help your body relax, let go of any stress, tension and trauma, and return to its natural calm state.

Dr Jodi-Anne Smith – What is Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE)? (5:01 mins)
Dr David Berceli – Trauma expert helps PTSD recovery with self-initiated shaking/muscle trembling technique (2:11 mins)
Dr Jodi-Anne Smith – Stress & its impact on our body – how TRE helps (8:45 mins) – explains how stress, tension and trauma gets stored in our body when we’re overwhelmed, can’t run or fight back. This leads our nervous system to stay in an activated, hyperalert state resulting in anxiety. If we experience traumatic situations such as child abuse, surgery, domestic violence or car accidents the body interprets these as life-threatening and will go into freeze. If not helped to come out of it we can go into depression and a form of shutting down. TRE can help us complete the trauma activations so that we can move out of freeze, fight and flight, regaining a sense of safety in the body that enables us to more joyfully interact with others.

why do TRE?

Why do Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE)? Because it’s easy and it works. You don’t need to know what the traumas were. You don’t need to talk about it or relive it. You don’t need any special tools or equipment. It’s a simple process that you can do at home on your own once you’ve learned how to self-regulate. Doing TRE regularly (for 15 minutes, a few times a week) helps you to destress and unwind. It supports your nervous system and your body, enabling healthier functioning and a more relaxed state of mind.

Cathrine Scharff Thommessen – TRE (1:06 mins) – shows people doing TRE and some of the different tremoring patterns that occur.

As you release the old stress, tension and traumas from your body you get more comfortable with experiencing emotional reactions and triggers. They don’t seem so big or threatening as there is less intensity and traumatic charge stored within your body. Your nervous system is less reactive and less defended which enables you to respond more calmly. It takes longer before you get tipped into overwhelm. Regular use of TRE builds your resilience and ability to cope when challenging situations arise.

Another added bonus from regularly doing TRE is a greater sense of embodiment and connection with your intuition, your body’s subtle signals and messages. Since you are listening to your body it doesn’t have to use dis-ease as a way of getting you to stop and listen. According to Dr Bruce Lipton stress is linked up to 90% of diseases*, so using TRE to help reduce the stress, tension and trauma stored in your body is extremely beneficial to your wellbeing.

Our bodies go through an amazing amount of stress, tension and trauma throughout our lives. If we haven’t cleared this out of our body it builds up impacting our health and wellbeing. Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) can help to release this stress, tension and trauma from our bodies so that we can relax and enjoy life more. Below are examples of just some of the traumas and issues that TRE can help with.

Surgery and Illness – The process of surgery is an extremely stressful event. It causes lots of worry and fear in the lead up to it. The actual surgery is seen as a traumatic, life-threatening event for the body, which will go into freeze and shut down in an attempt to protect itself. The recovery process is often full of fear too as we worry whether or not we will recover fully. TRE can help us to release all of this stress, tension and trauma so that we can relax and enjoy life more fully.

Accidents – When we have broken bones and get placed in casts or have to use crutches, we end up slightly immobilised. We end up with imbalances in our bodies from having to use our bodies in different ways than normal. Our injured arm or leg gets under-utilised while our other arm or leg gets over-utilised. This creates tension patterns in our body that if not released can lead to muscular aches and pains in the future. TRE can help to release these tension patterns and imbalances so that our body can function more fully.

Defence mechanisms – When we’ve experienced significant hurts in our past we may have formed defence mechanisms to protect ourselves from getting hurt like that again. We may subconsciously decide it’s not safe to let people close. We may armour up and push people away. We may hide and withdraw. All of this occurs due to the trauma and emotional pain stored in our bodies. TRE can help us to clear out this stress, tension and trauma so that we feel safer and more able to open up and let love in, let people close and relax and enjoy life more fully.

Blog: Doing TRE helps you to clean your internal house.

Want to learn TRE?

Over 5 million people have learnt TRE. It is taught in over 60 countries worldwide. TRE can be learned via an appointment in person or online. A minimum of 3 sessions is recommended to ensure that you have learned how to self-regulate your tremoring. You can bring a friend and share the cost! Once you have learnt how to self-regulate you can continue using TRE at home for the rest of your life as part of your self-care routine. You do not have to see a TRE provider regularly. However, you may choose to have occasional or regular sessions with a TRE provider if you want more guidance or support with your tremoring process.

TRE can also be learnt in workshops and through a free TRE online course. Please note the free online course is not suitable for:

  • Anyone with psychological/psychiatric conditions that require strict regulation
  • Anyone with fragile psychological defences
  • Anyone who has a history of complex trauma (near-death experiences, abuse, violence, major accidents, natural disasters, surgeries, severe losses, etc)
  • Anyone with physical conditions that require strict regulation
  • Anyone with physical or medical limitations.

For anyone in the above categories, it is best to consult with a TRE provider, like me, to make sure TRE is suitable for you and to teach you how to use it safely.


To view more testimonials click here.

Want to learn more?

How tRE works?

These videos provide different explanations of what Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) is and how it helps your nervous system and body.

  • Star Groups – Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (5:02 mins) – explains the fight, flight and freeze mechanism, how stress and tension build in our body, the impacts of this on our health and how TRE helps to reduce this.
  • Mental Joe – What is TRE? (2:43 mins) – explains the TRE process and the benefits from doing it.
  • Dr David Berceli – Shake and relieve anxiety? (8:49 mins) – explains how stress and tension in the body result in anxious thoughts as the body interprets tension as a lack of safety and sends danger signals to the brain that then scans for danger and stays hyperalert even if there is no actual external danger. If you release the tension in the body through TRE the body feels safer, the danger signals reduce, so the mind relaxes and isn’t as anxious.
  • The Berceli Foundation – TRE Tension, Stress & Trauma Release: a revolutionary way to feel better (7:11 mins) – explains the tremor mechanism, and shows examples of people tremoring in different countries.
  • Dr David Berceli – Developing Resiliency using the uniquely designed TRE Protocol – explains how stress and trauma up-regulate our nervous system resulting in anxiety, irritability and getting caught in fight and flight. It then explains how TRE helps to down-regulate the nervous system bringing us back into a calm and relaxed state. With repeated use of TRE we become more resilient. (4:23 mins)

the science of TRE

Specialists talk about TRE and the science behind it in these videos

There is a wide range of research publications relating to TRE and its effectiveness available on the global TRE For All website’s research page. I have included some of them below.

There is a lot more information on TRE available on the TRE Australia and TRE Global websites.