Shaking is the natural way to release tension and return the body to its normal homeostasis. It is a primal impulse to a stressful situation. Animals naturally shake to release tension after a life-threatening event.
However, we human’s have been socially conditioned to stoically grin and bear. We pretend that all is fine, play the cool guy. Show the world that we are unfazed by life’s events.
Sadly, this unnatural demeanor that we adopt traps the stress in our bodies. This negatively influences our physical and emotional health.
After all, our bodies do keep a score.
Neurogenic Tremors and Trauma
When we are threatened the body releases huge amounts of stress hormones to help us overcome the danger. That is the flight-fight response kicking in and we literally shake with fear.
This shaking is known as neurogenic tremors. These tremors help to reduce over-activity in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. The body’s complex neuroendocrine system that regulates our stress response, our emotions, energy storage, and release.
Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky wrote a book called, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. The reason being that zebras and other animals know how to dissipate stress. They simply shake it off and get back to living in the moment.
Sadly, human beings, gradually lose these skills of re-calibrating their nervous systems. From a young age, we are admonished to stop acting like cry-babies. Or we are threatened with dire consequences if we don’t stop our tantrums and shut up. As a result, we learn to suppress our feelings.
This repression of our emotional trauma causes it to be stored in our skeletal muscles. Our bodies and minds are intricately connected.
Humans and PTSD
Childhood traumatic experiences make us more hypersensitive to stress. We are easily upset by minor infractions and stressors. Our brain and body are frozen in an “anticipatory stress response” or the negativity brain bias loop.
Trauma therapist Peter Levine wrote in his book the Waking the Tiger, that animals don’t get PTSD. The reason being, once out of danger, they shiver and shake and release the trauma from their bodies.
Human beings develop PTSD because of frozen emotions. In the case of childhood abuse, there is no escape. The child has to freeze his emotions as the source of trauma is most often the parent.
Long-term suppression leads to excess energy being trapped in our bodies This results in chronic emotional and physical tension and mental distress.
Repeated activation of the stress response contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits. Further, stress causes brain changes leading to anxiety, depression, and addiction.
David Berceli’s Tension & Trauma Release Exercises TRE
Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (or TRE®) is a simple yet innovative series of exercises. Created by Dr. David Berceli, TRE safely activates a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating. This releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system.
Moreover, when this muscular shaking/vibrating mechanism is activated in a safe and controlled environment, the body is encouraged to return back to a state of balance. This therapeutic tremoring helps the body release deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma.
It consists of six exercises, that evoke natural “neurogenic” tremors in a controlled and sustained way. They come from the center of gravity i.e. psoas muscles.
Therapeutic neurogenic tremors unleash powerful contractions which reverberate through the entire body. The tremors move along the spine, releasing deep chronic tension from the sacrum to the cranium.
TRE helps reverse the body’s anatomical reaction to stress and systematically dissolve the tension pattern created as a result of traumatic events.
Just Shake Your Stress Away
Other simple and easy ways to shake out the stress and trauma in our bodies:
1) Ping Shuai Gong – Swing Hands Exercise: This simple swinging-hands exercise improves Chi (qi) and blood circulation through the theory of “Ten fingers connecting the heart” opening all our body meridians and stimulate the bone marrow, to rid toxins from the human body.
2) Kim Eng – Shaking Practice: This simple shaking can be done anywhere, just shake out the part which feels tense. Jump, kick and throw your hand up. Surrender to the shaking. Let out any sounds that want to come out. You will feel the release of tension.
3) Crawling – The Best Mind Body-Exercise: Just get on fours with the kids and crawl and shake away your tension.
Keep It Simple
So don’t worry if you cannot manage to meditate, or do yoga and other complicated disciplines.
Believe me, shaking is one of the easiest and quickest way to release stress. All the wild animals do it. Undoubtedly, human beings are also programmed to shake off excess energy in their bodies. You need to let loose your inhibitions and shake off your tension.
Like Taylor Swift rightly sings, Shake it off:
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
… in my mind saying it’s gonna be alright
Shake It Off Naturally: Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Tension with [TRE] by Dr. David Berceli
The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process: Transcend Your Toughest Times by Dr. David Berceli