What are Neurogenic tremors?
Most people have experienced involuntary shaking (neurogenic tremors) such as ‘shaking like a leaf’ or ‘knocking knees’ after a severe shock or fright, when extremely nervous (such as before public speaking) or even in moments of extreme excitement and joy.
The tremors are the central nervous system’s innate way of discharging excessive tension through the rapid muscle contraction and relaxation of the tremors to calm the body down from an over excited adrenal state.
Neurogenic tremors are innate to all mammals and are easily observed as a horse sends a tremor through its’ entire body after a fall. Other examples are gazelles shaking after escaping a lion attack, ducks flapping their wings after a fight or the rapid vibration felt holding a scared rabbit or guinea pig.
In most cultures these tremors are seen as a sign of weakness and vulnerability, tending to be suppressed or avoided resulting in chronic pain and tension rather than allowing them to organically restore the body to balance.
What do the tremors feel like?
The tremors have been described as like a massage from the inside out and are mostly experienced as mildly pleasurable often with an associated feeling of heat or release spreading throughout the body.
Some people experience large amplitude tremors with their legs shaking significantly (which tends to be the body breaking up gross and superficial tension) while others experience a more refined and purring like vibration that moves further through the body as it becomes more relaxed.
Each person’s body will usually tremor where there is the most or the primary tension is held, such that one person may have all their shaking in their legs while others may mostly experience it in their shoulders and arms. Every person will have their own individual tremor pattern according to their own unique history, experience and tension patterns. How and where the tremors occur is regulated by each individual’s brainstem just each person will have their own individual heart rate and respiration in response to the same amount of exercise.
How do the tremors restore the body to a calm relaxed state?
The tremors turn down the central nervous system’s automated and hyper-aroused fight or flight or freeze response by creating a vibration of contraction and relaxation that releases the built up energy and tension held in the muscles and connective tissues of the body. While this shaking is the body’s innate response to calm down the body when it is traumatised or overexcited, it is often seen as a sign of weakness and there for suppressed, leaving the body held in a chronically stressed and tense state.
The tremors release the traumatic experience in the same way that it was created in the body — by the brainstem initiating a discharge of the physical tension associated with the event. The Trauma Release Exercises are designed to invoke the tremors from the deepest core muscle of the body (that flexes us forward into defensive and defeated postures) before spreading throughout the rest of the body.
How often should I do these exercises?
If you are not experiencing any adverse reactions to the exercises, you can do the exercises every second day or so for the first 3-4 weeks to gradually release the chronic tension from the body. Those who find them energizing tend to do them in the mornings afternoons or when requiring additional energy, while those who find them relaxing tend to do them at the end of the day to assist with deeper sleep. You can also simply add 15 minutes or so of shaking onto your existing exercise program as the muscles will already be fatigued in place of performing all the lead in exercises to invoke the tremors. After 3-4 weeks you can reduce the exercises to a couple of times a week or whenever you are aware you are feeling stressed or beginning to hold tension in the body again. They are a tool for you to use to continue to process stress and tension throughout your life rather than a once off intervention.
Do I have to do all the standing exercises?
Not necessarily. The exercises are developed to systematically fatigue the large muscle groups of the back and legs so if you have already exercised you can just add the shaking exercises lying on your back to the end of the session. However, if you haven’t yet exercised, doing the full series of exercises will tend to invoke stronger and more sustained tremors to release more deeply held tension from the body.
Will TRE release emotions?
While the tremors only relax the muscle tension from the body, for many people this relaxation allows deep emotions to arise that have been held in the body as chronic tension and holding. While many people experience no emotional content during the exercises, for others emotions can be felt arising either with or without associated thoughts or memories.. As long as you are comfortable with these emotions, simply allow them to arise and release in the same way you allow the tremors. If the emotions are overwhelming or too uncomfortable, you can simply stop the process by laying your legs out flat or lying on your side. In such cases you should do the exercises with a health professional or someone who can support you through the process.
Why do the tremors sometimes change between large and small?
The large tremors tend to break up the gross tension held in chronically tight muscles and can have a balancing or aligning effect on the body especially around the pelvis. Once this deeply held tension in the body is reduced, a finer tremor is often felt like a purring, vibration or movement of heat running through the entire body. Often the tremors will change between these stronger, larger ones and smaller finer ones during the one session. However your body tremors is absolutely fine and appropriate to your body’s need to release it’s tension.
Why do I shake differently from other people?
Just as every person’s life experience, body history and pattern of holding tension is different, the shaking will be individual and specific to your body’s needs. You may even get the shaking in different places or in different positions each time you do the exercises.
Why are the tremors only in my legs and pelvis?
Your body will shake however it needs to in order to release it’s specific pattern of tension and holding. Often the shaking will be felt initially in the legs and pelvis but begin to move further throughout the body as the exercises are regularly practiced and the deep chronic holding preventing the free flow of energy throughout the body is released. Once the body is totally calm and relaxed, many people are able to feel a fine vibrational flow of energy or heat throughout their entire body.