What is the Trager Approach?
The Trager Approach is a gentle, yet profound, form of bodywork and somatic education that overwrites unconscious and habitual patterns of tension in the body and mind. This is achieved through nurturing touch and free-flowing movement. Trager work is gentle and pleasurable, yet the effects are deep and lasting.
Through the course of our lives we can all too easily acquire restrictive, self-limiting patterns. Stress, at home or work, health problems, accidents, emotional trauma and poor posture can all create unconscious tension, which often results in pain, stiffness and restricted mobility. Trager work invites the gentle release of these holding patterns. Ease and flexibility return and potential for vitality and well-being is restored.
The work consists of three main elements:
For table work, the client is lying on a padded couch and is gently moved by the practitioner. Depending on the client this element of the work may be done with the client lying prone or supine or on his/her side. If a client cannot lie comfortably then the Trager Practitioner can work with the client sitting or standing.
Reflex Response is advanced hands-on work. The client is asked to gently work with the practitioner in very specific ways, in order to stimulate the nervous system. This awakens the mind/body process thereby increasing awareness.
Mentastics involves the client actively participating in his/her own movement and mindfully cultivating a sense of ease and comfort at the suggestion of the practitioner.
In the table work practitioners induce gentle and pleasurable movement to increase awareness of sensation and the ability of the client to move. Waves of motion pass through the body until they meet resistance, where they are absorbed. This happens below the conscious ability to move one’s self, so perception is taken into ever deeper levels of sensation and freedom of movement. This, in turn, allows the resistance to release. As it does so, a freer range of motion, feeling and understanding replaces any habitual response. At the same time, buried memories can safely return to consciousness without triggering feelings of fear and anxiety or the original conditioning.
During the table work Reflex Response techniques may be used to reawaken movement, by stimulating specific muscles and the nervous system. It brings flexibility to restricted areas of the body and reawakens core stability.
Mentastics (Self Care Movements) focus on how the range and quality of movement changes with awareness and different thoughts, since what and how we think can affect our freedom of movement. Mentastics enables you to affirm the table work and to explore new sensations at even deeper levels. Essentially, Mentastics teaches adults to play enjoyably again.
Trager sessions may last between 60 to 90 minutes. In an initial interview the practitioner will take a medical history and discuss a client’s needs and goals.
For the table work you will be invited to lie on a well padded massage table, in a safe, comfortable environment. Soft, loose clothing can be worn, or underwear. Whatever you decide, you will be covered with a warm sheet which the practitioner can work through or which can be discreetly drawn back for working on specific areas.
In an atmosphere of calm, your body will be supported and gently moved within its enjoyable range and natural rhythms, communicating a feeling of freedom and ease. As you soften, internal connections and resonances create a new understanding of your inner self, tensions melt away and a new breadth of movement becomes possible.
At some point during the session you will receive guidance in the use of Mentastics: gentle movements tailored to suit your personal needs. They are an important part of the Trager session. Dr. Trager developed Mentastics to encourage a playful exploration of “what could be freer” for your body. Integrating these simple, self-care movements into your daily life will allow you to enhance and recall feelings of ease, flexibility and freedom.
The Trager Approach has been found by clients to help with a wide range of problems including neurological, physical and stress-related symptoms. It is best to talk directly to a practitioner to see how he/she can help you
Dr Milton Trager
Dr Milton Trager was the founder of the Trager Approach, which he developed over his lifetime.
The Trager International website has details of the history of the Trager Approach