Shake it Off
Have you heard the song by Taylor Swift called “Shake it Off”?
Well, it turns out that catch phrase is actually a key component to our health.
How can that be?
Let me explain what I mean by starting with a story. I have a client named Glad who is fascinated with all things natural, and is willing to try just about anything to improve her health. That is one of many things that I adore about her. She’s the girl with the infrared sauna in her garage, for instance.
Don’t you have one? 🙂
Anyway, for the last twenty- something years, she has been shaking primarily in her upper body in the most inopportune times. In the middle of a massage. While doing biofeedback. Working out with me.
No one has been able to tell her why she does this, including her doctors.
She figured there was something wrong with her. I wasn’t so sure there was something wrong, but I agreed it certainly was an interesting response to various situations.
Then another client of mine told me about an alternative technique that she used to reset her body that involved tremors – shaking, if you will.
It’s called TRE: Tension and Trauma Release Exercise.
Sounded fascinating! Was this what Glad was experiencing?
“What do you mean by reset?” I asked.
“Go see my PT Chelesa. She can explain it better than I can, ” my other client KC said.
I looked at Glad and said, “Let’s go on a fact-finding mission. We will call this PT and make back to back new client sessions, go together, and then ask her to teach us as much as she can squeeze in to our joint appointments.”
“Okay,” said Glad, and off we went.
When we arrived and announced our intentions to Chelesa, she clapped her hands and said, “This is going to be fun!”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard those words cross a PT’s lips. 🙂
She started by explaining that all mammals and all humans have the innate ability to de-stress and de-traumatize their bodies and return their individual systems to homeostasis. Back to a happy place. Mammals are super good at it, and humans tend to shut that mechanism down. Silly humans teach themselves to power through things and push forward without letting the body physically release the effects of the stress or trauma. Not good for humans, all that stored stress.
Run for your life
She took a gazelle eating lunch in a meadow by way of an example. There the gazelle is, happily munching away, and then all of a sudden a lion decides he wants the gazelle for his lunch. He chases her, and she runs, and he chases, and she runs, and runs and runs for her life. She escapes this time! However, her body is in complete Fight or Flight mode from all that stress of being chased by a lion. How in the world can she EVER return to THAT meadow where she had to RUN FOR HER LIFE?
Won’t she quake in the bushes, forever longingly looking out at all the other gazelles happily eating their lunch in the meadow, wishing she had the nerve to set foot out there again? No. That’s silly in the gazelle world.
It’s easy. Be a gazelle. Shake it off!
She allows the tremor mechanism to happen, and completely shakes and trembles all over. This physically releases the tension accumulated from the chase, lets go all that is not necessary or needed, and resets herself neurologically. Homeostasis. Happy place.
Back to lunch in the meadow! 🙂
Glad and I were shown a very simple series of exercises to warm up for the big TRE exercise. It is proprietary and I am not allowed to replicate it here for you; however, we were told that there are many yoginis for instance that have a yoga pose that makes them shake. Instead of stopping the shake by simply moving to the next pose, they instead invite it to continue. Normally you would judge the shake as being bad– you’re not strong enough, this pose it too much for you, you’re too tired to continue, etc.
Shake for release
Consider the shake in your body as an invitation to RELEASE.
Release the stress or tension of something relatively innocuous as being in traffic. However, bear in mind it is not just for the trivial: TRE is used for very serious stress and trauma release. The trauma of coming back from war. Of witnessing a horrific accident. Losing a loved one. The beautiful thing is, it rarely is accompanied by a memory. Sometimes it is, but lots of times it isn’t. That is pretty cool for people who don’t want to or simply can’t talk it out.
Here’s the single most important statement Chelesa had to say, coming from my perspective. She noted that most trauma or stress comes into the body on one side, and there it stays Click To Tweet. It creates a one-sided, or unilateral imbalance. She gets great results with TRE by releasing the stress, and then people can move bilaterally, symmetrically, and in a balanced fashion. This is how she creates function, even with all of her formal PT training!
If you live in Portland, you are in luck. I just got this email from her today:
- I am excited to announce the dates for 2016 winter TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercise) classes. I will be offering Intro group class for people new to TRE or for people who prefer a small group to explore their practice, and a regular Drop-in classes.
Intro TRE series: Monday nights at 4pm. Each series consists of 4, 1.25 hour classes. Class is limited to 6 to 8 participants. Cost $125 for the series, to register please call Kwan Yin East, 503-701-8766 ext 2.
January series: January 4th, 11th, 18th,and 25th.
February series: February 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd.
March series: March 14th, 21st, 28th, and April 4th.
Drop-in class: This class is for people who have previously been instructed in TRE. Monday nights at 5:30pm at Kwan Yin East. This is an ongoing class– come as often or as little as you like. Class is limited to 12 people. Cost $10. No registration is required.
If you have questions about TRE, please contact me directly at email@example.com
So there you have it! A completely new way to get your symmetry on and de-stress your body!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
What an interesting post. I’ve never heard of this. I love how you keep finding new things to explore. Thank you for the valuable information.
Hi Ali, thank you for the lovely comment and I am just as excited to play with this concept as you are! It is so interesting to find different ways to release stress.