I first heard about Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) through a guest post on Tim Ferriss’s blog. They sounded interesting & useful to me, so for the month of May I decided to try them.
The theory behind TRE is that the effects of mental stress and trauma are stored physically in our bodies as tension. TRE claims to be a method for releasing that physical tension, and along with it the associated mental & psychological . The physical tension is released through muscle tremors which are induced by a sequence of physical exercises that tire out the legs.
Each day, I’d complete the sequence of exercises which took about 20-30 minutes. After completing the exercises, I’d lie on the floor for about 15 minutes (as the book prescribes), and when I held my legs in the right position (knees bent and raised, slightly apart) they’d shake involuntarily. No part of my body above my waist ever shook; it was only the muscles that I’d exhausted during the exercises.
After 9 days of this, I decided that it wasn’t worth continuing. I could detect no effects of the exercises outside of my shaking legs, and I could see no reason to believe that my shaking legs were anything more than simply tired muscles. The idea that stress and trauma were being released was appealing, and I was certainly open to (and hoping for) positive mental or psychological effects. But since I couldn’t detect any of those effects and was losing hope that I would by the end of the month, the TRE exercises started to seem like a not-all-that-fun waste of time. So I took the advice of Tim Ferriss himself on “the art of nonfinishing”, and intentionally didn’t finish (something I’ve done before).