Tension Releasing Exercises - Berlin & Munich

Tension Releasing Exercises TRE® are relaxation exercises, an easy-to-learn do-it-yourself relaxation method. It consists of a few simple exercises that make the body or larger muscle groups vibrate, tremble or shake. In this way the body can reduce high tensions, which are stored in the musculature and the nervous system.

The TRE relaxation exercises are very easy to use.

After three sessions at the latest, you have understood how to do it and can continue practicing alone at home.

You don’t have to know, think or be able to do anything. During the exercises you only allow trembling and can observe how your body relaxes and returns to balance.

Why animals and humans tremble under stress

Animals in the wild reduce tensions in muscles and nervous system by this trembling. After a fight-, flight- or freezing reaction they tremble for several minutes and to rid themselves of the excess energy. Then they return to their herd as if nothing had happened.

People get into similarly difficult situations as mammals: through stress, burnout, accidents, strokes of fate, but also physical overstrain, e.g. during top athletic performances. Since adults suppress trembling due to cultural factors, however, the energy remains stored in the nervous system and leads to various stress symptoms.

The TRE relaxation exercises were originally created to help people in a disaster area. Earthquakes, tsunamis, war and military operations are still the classic areas of application today. The TRE relaxation exercises have helped many people in 34 countries to reduce the symptoms of high tension and nervousness that occur after such traumatic events.

When are TRE relaxation exercises used?

General application:

  • simply to relax
  • to loosen up
  • to release tensions, in particular Tensions deep in the pelvis

Application under stress:

  • after top athletic performance
  • in preparation for a competition
  • in stressful professional times
  • in conflict situations
  • according to physical or mental excessive demands

Application in case of trauma:

  • Accompanying to a trauma- or body therapy
  • after a traumatic event, e.g. a car accident or in a disaster area
  • during post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

A typical TRE session

You can learn the TRE relaxation exercises in an individual session or in a group. You will wear loose clothing or a tracksuit. In the first part you do a few body exercises such as knee bends to fatigue the muscles. In the second part, the autonomous trembling is initiated. This autonomous trembling can happen while standing or lying down. The tremor, shaking or vibrating lasts about 15 minutes. You can stop the condition at any time by stretching your legs. Then rest for one or two minutes. After that you can continue with your daily business.

Such a group exercise session lasts about 1 hour in total. – Later, if you already know TRE well, it will be enough if you practice TRE 3 times a week for 15 minutes.

Solch eine Übungs-Session dauert insgesamt ca. 1 Stunde. – Später, wenn Sie den Bogen einmal heraus haben, reicht es, wenn Sie sich 3 x pro Woche 15 Minuten für TRE Zeit nehmen.

In this short video you get an impression of what TRE can achieve.

What are the effects of TRE relaxation exercises?

Through the reduction of tension in the musculoskeletal system, you can self-regenerate better. The stress in the nervous system dissolves and you become noticeably calmer and more relaxed. Further effects can be:

  • Increase in energy
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased frustration tolerance
  • Less stress at work
  • Greater emotional range
  • Reduced body tension
  • Fewer relationship conflicts
  • Less fear and worry
  • Reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

„With the healing of every traumatic episode of our lives, it becomes easier to give in and accept how the universe has treated us. The more we let go “into life”, the more paradoxically we discover that we can regain control of our lives and reenter the uncertainty of human life.” David Berceli, “The more we let go, the more paradoxically we discover that we can regain control of our lives and reenter the uncertainty of human life.”
David Berceli, Physical Exercises for Trauma Healing

Video by David Betcelli in which he explains the physiological context.

A book worth reading:

David Berceli, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process: Transcend Your Toughest Times, 207 pages, 13,48 €, Namaste Publishing, ISBN 978-1897238400
In this inspiring book, Berceli describes what happens to people when they find themselves in extreme situations. Berceli has worked as a priest in crisis areas for many years, has experienced bomb attacks and the effects of trauma. He describes very vividly with many examples, which physical effects physical or emotional traumas and shocks have. He says that trauma does not have to be a lifelong imprisonment in the symptoms, but that a trauma also holds a great opportunity: that of transformation. At the end of the book he presents the TRE exercise sequence.

Websites of the TRE umbrella organisations:


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.

Tension Releasing Exercises - Berlin & Munich

Tension Releasing Exercises TRE® were developed to help as many people as possible in a crisis area in a short time. They helped earthquake victims, refugees, soldiers, tsunami victims and many more. The exercises reduce the stress people are exposed to in a disaster area. The exercises are easy and quick to learn. You can learn the exercises as a large group e.g. in a gym.

  • The exercises reduce the stress people are exposed to in a disaster area.
  • The exercises are easy and quick to learn.
  • You can learn the exercises as a large group e.g. in a gym.

What is the difference between “Hard Trauma” and “Soft Trauma”?

When people survive a tsunami, bomb attack or car accident, the term “hard trauma” is used in English.

In Western culture, many people live in a socially difficult environment. If, for example, the children grow up in a quarreled parental home or with parents who have massive addiction problems, the children feel insecure and are predominantly anxious. These children or later adults are then quickly irritable, often absent, have sleep problems or perhaps nightmares. Such circumstances are called “soft trauma”.

How do I benefit most from TRE?

  • You will benefit most if you do TRE the first few times with a TRE provider, either in an individual or group session. This will help you become more familiar with the process, feel confident and get valuable tips and help. – Alternatively, you can buy the book by David Berceli,  Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE):: A revolutionary new method for stress/trauma recovery, and practice alone.
  • Do the exercises regularly.
  • Develop a sense of when your body needs relaxation.
  • Try out what supports you more: practicing alone or in a group.

What should I keep in mind when practicing?

  • The exercises should be pleasant for you.
  • If you feel pain during the exercises, change your position, your posture or the speed of the vibrations. If that doesn’t help, stop.
  • When strong emotions arise, please sit up and drink a glass of water.
  • Resist the temptation to exaggerate.
  • Do the exercises only in a safe and protected area where you will not be disturbed.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Please try to control, “create” and manipulate as little as possible.
  • A curious and playful attitude is conducive.

How much time do I need for TRE?

In the beginning you will probably do the whole set of exercises to trigger the tremor. This takes about 1 hour. Later, after a few weeks, when you are more practiced and experienced, you will be able to trigger the tremor without the preliminary exercises. Then you can change the duration and frequency as you wish. As a rule of thumb you can count on …

  • 15 min for the trembling/shaking – this is a good time frame
  • 3 to 4 times a week is completely sufficient.

Why does TRE make you feel better?

Trembling, vibrating or shaking causes the muscles to relax. This results in:

  • A relaxed pelvis and a loose shoulder girdle simply feel good.
  • The blood circulation in the muscles increases. This is experienced as an energy boost.
  • The brain registers the message “all-clear” and switches from “mammoth hunting” to “mammoth digestion”. It then releases “hedonistic” hormones.

Why do I sleep better with TRE?

When you as a modern adult are under stress every day and are confronted with subliminal fears, anxieties and problems, your body is repeatedly put into a state of readiness to fight or flee every day. But the return to a state of relaxation – i.e. the change from “mammoth hunting” to “mammoth digesting” – is no longer completely successful. And so some of you continue to hunt the mammoth at night. The TRE exercises cause a deep muscular relaxation, so that your body can finally switch completely to “digesting mammoth” and relax: the prerequisite for deep, restful sleep.

Is TRE good for athletes?

Yes, you can successfully use TRE as an athlete.

  • High physical performance causes a high level of tension. This impairs the regeneration phase. With TRE you can relax the musculoskeletal system quickly and deeply. Vagal tone and regeneration then begin correspondingly quickly.
  • You can relax the deep pelvic muscles (Musculus Illiopsoas). Try it out for yourself.
  • TRE helps you to loosen the muscles trimmed for high performance quickly and effectively after each training session.
  • Right before a competition you can use TRE to start serene, relaxed and calmly.

“Tension Releasing Exercises and Sport” – an interview with Dr. Melanie Salmon. This video shows a TRE session with an athlete that had been riding a bicycle from Cairo to Cape Town.

Is TRE a therapy?

No. It is not a therapy. However, you can use TRE to accompany:

  • Somatic experiencing therapy
  • Body therapy
  • Body psychotherapy
  • Trauma therapy

You can also use TRE to accompany rehabilitation measures in the following cases:

  • Rehabilitation after an accident
  • Rehabilitation after surgery
  • Rehabilitation after pregnancy

TRE exercises reduce the symptoms of anxiety, stress, aggression, nervousness, restlessness, constant alert, burnout and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). TRE causes the deep flexor muscles (M. Iliospsoas) in the body to relax. The general level of tension decreases, while resilience increases. Self-awareness, the felt sense, increases.

Can TRE help me with conflict resolution?

Yes, that is possible. A person who is physically and mentally relaxed,

  • is in a position to make far-sighted and rational decisions
  • appears calm and serene in its surroundings
  • has fewer conflicts

Stress and tension cause that

  • thinking is short minded and
  • decisions are more affected by emotions and
  • all actions are rather impulsive.

Regular TRE training continuously reduces stress in the body. This not only makes you more relaxed, calmer and serene, but you also act more considerate.

“Berceli TRE Exercises to Release Traumatic Stress in Youth: My Life Case Study”

This video shows a study in a socially difficult environment in Cape Town. The affected adolescents and adults report in an interview about their experiences with the TRE relaxation exercises.

What are the contraindications?

  • Pregnancy
  • Epilepsy
  • Concussion
  • Herniated disc acute
  • Mental diseases
  • Heart diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid disorders

When taking medication and any form of clinical diagnosis, you should consult your doctor.

Can TRE arouse emotions?

Yes, that is possible. – If you can finally relax after a long period of inner tension, or if you can finally let go of places that have been physically tense or had to be held for a long time, then this can release emotions. This is a perfectly normal reaction. Your body simply does what it needs to do. – Relaxation can lead some people to intense emotions such as vulnerability, sensitivity or a feeling of flooding. In this case, please be careful with yourself, end the exercise immediately and do everything necessary to calm down. Here are a few suggestions. You can …

  • stretch your legs and straighten through the knees
  • curl up into a ball
  • sit up and drink or eat something
  • get up and move around
  • breathe deeply and regularly
  • return consciously to the here and now

All these measures contribute to your grounding. Give your body time to calm down. Be friendly to yourself. If you have problems regulating yourself, ask a friend, therapist or family member to accompany you. It is essential that you acquire this ability. A companion can be very helpful in this.

What is the origin of the TRE exercises?

In shamanism in some traditions trembling or shaking is used to reach the trance state.

In the 1920s, Elsa Gindler used a slight tremor occasionally during gymnastics. She was involved in the life reform movement in Germany in the 1920s. The wives of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen came to her for lessons. Alexander Lowen used trembling extensively in the bioenergetic exercises he developed with the aim of releasing the emotions stored in the flexor and protective muscles and thus subjecting them to an analytical process.

David Berceli, the founder of the TRE relaxation exercises, studied bioenergetics himself and uses the stress position developed by Alexander Lowen to induce tremors with the aim of reducing physical stress after traumatic events. In contrast to bioenergetics, tremors are learned and explored in a playful way. The body should be able to discharge tension patterns as autonomously as possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.

Bodywork - Berlin & Munich

Bodywork and body therapy are similar in their meaning, but not the same. The term body therapy is used in German to describe people who are sick or have complaints, conditions or symptoms to treat, which is why I don’t like to use it so much.

Bodywork is a superior collective term similar to “trees” or “fish” or “work”. It generally refers to work with the human body.

With Bodywork you can influence your body in such a way that blockages, tensions, resistances and energy accumulations in the fascia, muscle and nervous system dissolve. This changes your outer and inner posture, your perception and your movements.

You can practice bodywork together with a therapist, together with a teacher or coach or alone. Bodywork can be divided into two large areas.

  • Hands-off bodywork: Here your body is touched by the therapist, teacher or trainer very little or not at all, e.g. Yoga + Tai-Chi + Qigong + Sport + Somatic Experiencing® + Tension Releasing Exercises TRE®.
  • Hands-on Bodywork: Here your body is often touched by the therapist, e.g. massage + physiotherapy + osteopathy + chiropractic + Rolfing®

What does bodywork do?

Bodywork takes proverbial  the „sand out of the transmission“. The pain subsides, the symptoms stop and your body functions more normally again. You feel a clear increase in energy. Your movements become fluid, your perception, the inner and outer balance, your stress tolerance, resilience and serenity in relation to the world and to yourself increase. You will experience a feeling of physical balance and inner balance.

How can bodywork help me?

  • Bodywork uses manual techniques to help the body regenerate faster after an accident, injury or surgery.
  • Bodywork helps to calm stressed nerves after a tragedy, a burnout or a stroke of fate.
  • Bodywork helps your nervous system to cope with the consequences of a shock trauma, a car accident or an operation.
  • Bodywork relieves chronic tension caused by bad posture, permanent stress or one-sided strain.
  • Bodywork optimizes the functions of the body before a competition, a stage performance or a test.

The origin

The term “bodywork” comes from the self-awareness movement of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Pioneers such as Alexander Lowen, Dr. Ida Rolf and Dr. Milton Trager coined the term “bodywork” to describe manual techniques and methods that work directly with the human body.

In the wild 60s, Wilhelm Reich was revered as an idol. His Vegeto therapy from the 1940s was taken up and found widespread use in the schools of bioenergetics, rebalancing, encounter etc., which is why Reich is regarded as the founder of body psychotherapy (synonym: body therapy) and “bodywork”. In the form of a “revolution from below” these schools provided answers and concepts to urgent questions of the time. They promoted people’s willingness to work on their own physical and mental development and continue to influence professional psychotherapeutic practice to this day.

With all these many different methods that use the term “bodywork”, it is always a matter of influencing the human body in such a way that it can move in a relaxed manner. The relaxed, powerful and harmonious movement is a sign for a healthy body function and for inner balance.

Energetic or flowing in bodywork

Today, a variety of disciplines that work directly with the human body use the term “bodywork” to describe their work. In Yoga, Qigong and Tai-Chi, it is used in such a way that the body can move powerfully, elegantly and integratedly, thus realising its full potential. The aim is not to control the movement, but to let it happen from within with as little inner resistance as possible. This happens by working with the energy flow, the Chi.

Bodywork - Berlin & Munich

Photo By  Leo Rivas on Unsplash

Energetic or flowing in bodywork

In massages such as Esaleen Bodywork, Kahuna Bodywork, LaStone Therapy, Marma Point Massage, Tibetan Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, the tissue and sometimes the entire body is passively moved by a second person, the giver. The focus is not on the client’s tension and pain, as in the classical massage, but on bringing the Chi into motion and harmonizing it. These forms of bodywork view the body as a whole with its own intelligence. If such a massage sets the Chi in motion, the body is able to reorganize itself on a more balanced, higher level and thus to recover.

Integrative bodywork

The approaches developed in the last 50 years such as Rolfing, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Alexander Technique and Trigger Point show the traditional field of the term “Bodywork”. Their aim is to dissolve behaviour patterns stored in the body tissue and deep-seated tensions. The nervous system is also included in order to enable a change – an inner movement – in the body, which brings it back into balance. As such the body can let go of its “armor” and move freely and without internal resistance.

These therapies combine a relatively calm phase in which the fascia tissue of the client is worked on and aligned, with a more active phase in which the client practices improved physical alignment while sitting, standing and walking. Some of these bodywork therapies, such as Rolfing and Osteopathy, even work specifically to prevent or heal overuse and wear and tear. They typically occur during activities in which the body is used intensively: dancers, musicians, athletes or craftsmen. The therapies are also very suitable for treating chronic back pain, neck pain and many other such conditions.

Focus on the potential of the client

Although bodywork therapists usually do not address the mental problems of their clients, they are well aware of the connection between tension and energy blockages and their relation to emotional and psychological aspects. The attention of bodyworkers is not focused on the client’s mental weaknesses and problems, but on opening and keeping open a safe space for the client and his body to discover, explore and test his potential.

Learning to understand the language of the body

I personally like bodywork so much because the change does not take place in the head and not in the mind. The change happens in the body. There it can be felt directly, perceived and experienced as a process of letting go. This work is very direct. One cannot fool the body and it does not lie to us. It reports back very quickly whether the approach is right or not. Every progress is immediately sensual and usually pleasantly perceieved.

Bodywork - Berlin & Munich

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Bodywork helps us to understand the language of our body. Because our body tells us very precisely when we exaggerate, because we push ourselves too much, what we neglect through a one-sided lifestyle, where we get stuck, where bad habits have crept in or where we hold something and it simply hurts.

However, since we humans often have a distorted self-perception with blind spots, we need the occasional helpful presence of a therapist, teacher or trainer to guide us in better recognition of ourselves and understand the signals of our body.

When we learn to listen, we will discover that our body provides us with messages that tell us when we are unbalanced or what is wrong with our posture. When we learn to understand these signals, they help us to re-align ourselves in the flow of our daily lives.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me in my practice in Berlin or Munich. Here you will find the contact page.