Safe space to shake
Several bodywork methods have been developed to address this pent-up tension. Levine went on to create Somatic Experiencing. Meanwhile, David Berceli developed Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) to achieve similar effects.
A TRE workshop begins with creating a safe space for all participants—people need a relaxed baseline if they are to release what the body has stored. The facilitators and their assistants will then guide the participants in seven exercises:
1. Toe raises
Standing on one foot with one hand holding onto a wall for balance, raise your foot so you stand on your toe for a few seconds, then go back down. Repeat 10x on both feet.
2. Side-to-side feet rolling
Stand with legs shoulder-wide apart, then gently rock your body from side to side slowly, putting weight on the outer side of the foot you’re favoring, and inner side of the supporting foot. Repeat 10x on each side.
3. Alternate one-leg bend and extend
Standing on one foot, bend forward with the other leg slightly raised backwards. With the hands touching the ground, bend and extend the leg you’re standing on. Repeat 10x on both leg.
4. Forward bend
Bend forwards with hands touching the ground. Bend one knee with the other leg still extended, then do the same on the other leg. Keep your hands touching the ground. Repeat 3x on each side.
5. Standing backbend
Bend your body backwards as far as you can with your hand supporting the back and head tilting upwards. Repeat 3x.
6. Wall sit
Find a wall and use it to support your back with your legs apart, bent at almost right angle position, as if sitting down on a chair. Keep the position for five minutes.
7. Reclined butterfly pelvic lifts
Lie on your back with soles of your feet touching, then lift your pelvis about a few centimeters off the ground and hold the position for five minutes or for as long as you can, then go down and wait for five minutes. Lift pelvis again and try to go higher, then go down and wait another five minutes, before lifting your pelvis again higher, then go down.
These will either fatigue the muscles or stretch them. The intention behind these exercises is to activate the psoas and allow the tension to come out as bodily tremors.
The rest is up to the participants and how comfortable they feel shaking in front of others—again, this underscores the importance of having a safe space for TRE. Some people will feel better after one session. Others will require several sessions. The effects are varied: some people report a loosening in their torso, an easier time breathing, and in the case of trauma-induced constipation, an easier time on the toilet. TRE can also complement talk therapy for people undergoing counseling.
Meanwhile, TRE is also useful in daily life. It helps release the tension and stress of life in the city, with the traffic, the crowds, work, and yes, social media. For more active people, TRE can help athletes shift emphasis from a tight guardedness to a more fluid and responsive strength.
TRE in the Philippines
So far, TRE workshops are commonly held at the Romulo Peace Center in Makati, which participants pay for in donations to the foundation. The Peace Center once held a workshop for people affected by Typhoon Yolanda in 2014, and another to raise funds for Marawi children’s school supplies, and has hosted TRE trainer Michelle Beck this year.