I lost seven years and I don't want you to waste so much time …
Updated: May 9
It was June 2013 when I discovered TRE for the first time.
A Jikiden Reiki colleague of mine was training in TRE and was looking for people for her case studies. Of course, I jumped on this opportunity as I'm interested in all kinds of alternative remedies and modalities.
Sadly, I can't remember too much from my session, only a bit about the warm-up exercises, particularly the one against the wall – the tough one, I think everybody remembers that.
And I definitely remember that I felt very chilled afterwards, although, admittedly, the whole shaking business was quite, em ... unusual.
After the session I practised a few times and then it fizzled out.
I recently tried to find out why and hey, I found an old e-mail where I fed back:
“I did a quick round of exercises on Friday night and experienced hardly any tremors. Was quite disappointed and thought I really must dedicate more time for the exercises.
Last night I tried it again, quick again, as I'm impatient, certainly not much longer, and when I was lying down my legs wouldn't stop shacking. It was amazing. It was really strong and very long. And I was really puzzled. Why was it soooo different and so powerful?”
So, here we are.
I was doing a 'quick round of exercises' – typically me at the time: rushed, busy and impatient.
“It was amazing”, I said, and I was intrigued, but that was it, kind of.
I'm still not sure if I didn't understand what TRE could really do for me or if I totally dismissed it as I was under the impression that I had never experienced trauma.
Hmmm, how wrong I was – but I only saw trauma as big T trauma, the really, really terrible things that thankfully never happened to me.
Relationship breakdowns, job disappointments, the loss of my dad when I was 21 and my younger brother who was only 35 at the time – that wasn't trauma to me. It was terrible and I cried over boyfriends, mourned my brother (and my dad at the same time as I just soldiered on after my dad's death) and felt so sad and helpless when thinking of my sister-in-law and my wee niece.
But trauma? No! It could have been so much worse, other people have much tougher lives and challenges, this is just the normality of life – that was my opinion. Stiff upper lip and so on – although I'm not even British.
Now of course, thankfully having rediscovered TRE and totally understanding its power and what it can do for us, I see how much TRE could have helped me over these seven years that I lost.
I had counselling, but never understood why going round and round in circles, talking about how “that made me feel” and trying to analyse what went wrong – things, I can't change anymore, could help me in any way. And to be honest, they didn't really.
Funnily, even after this experience, I still wanted to work as a bereavement counsellor. It just shows that cognitive therapies seem to be the default option. The training was a nice experience, but after the foundation, I left it at that.
When I trained in TRE, it really was an eye-opener.
How amazing our bodies are, how important it is to take the mind-body connection into account, how fabulous it is to give our constantly busy minds a break and let the body do the work.
You might have heard of Bessel van der Kolk's best-seller The Body Keeps the Score. And that is exactly it.
The tension we are holding in the body because we want to keep everything together and keep a stiff upper lip, this tension can, over time, manifest as physical aches and pains. Or as anxiety and irritability.
I've worked with grieving clients who recognised that grief isn't just in the mind, it's in the body, too. I've worked with disappointed women who couldn't conceive and admitted they might be just too stressed. I've worked with clients whose tension had already manifested as back pain and teeth-grinding. I worked with yogis who were impressed 'how oiled' their bodies felt. The list goes on.
The list of (mental) health issues where TRE can help is endless and we can really make it better by allowing our bodies to shake off some tension and some emotions, bit by bit.
Our bodies are so clever – they know how to deal with stuff.
And while it might sound very simple and almost too good to believe, please don't dismiss the power of a wee shake.
How does it work and why? I'll address this in another blog post and you can find more info under FAQs.
I'm always keen to point out, though, that TRE isn't a cure-all-and-everything – but where tension is the culprit - and that's in so many cases - it's certainly possible to shake it off and enjoy all the knock-on effects.
I hope you can learn from my mistake and I truly believe learning TRE can help us to get over heart aches, frustrations, disappointments as well as any tension-based aches and pains in an innate and relaxing way.
Don't waste all these years as I did and let me know if you have any questions, OK?