Neurogenic Tremors are relevant to anyone wanting to create greater freedom, flow and movement in their body. Regular use of TRE between exercise sessions or training helps release unconscious muscle tension patterns, re-integrate blind, blocked and frozen areas of the body, improves dynamic core stability and enhances the results of exercise programs such as Pilates, Yoga, Martial Arts, weight-training and general forms of exercise. Many people report that a key benefit of TRE is a significant reduction in recovery times and training soreness.
Isn’t shaking during Pilates, Yoga or other forms of exercise just a sign that the muscles are fatigued?
It is a common experience to feel involuntary shaking, tremoring or vibrating as our muscles begin to fatigue during Pilates and Yoga or other forms of exercise. At this point, most people try to control these involuntary movements believing they are only a sign of a loss of control. Others stop the exercises with the idea we have ‘maxed out.’ These involuntary fatigue tremors however are a doorway to a deeper tremor originating within the nervous system itself (neurogenic tremors) which allow for a deeper release of unconscious tension patterns than we are usually able to achieve through our conscious relaxation or letting go.
The fatigue or ‘postural tremors’ commonly experienced during exercise classes tend to require the muscle to be under a heavy load in order to maintain the tremor. In comparison, neurogenic tremors are generated by the nervous system itself and therefor tend to require less load for them to be activated and maintained. (Consider shaking when you are stressed or nervous such as public speaking doesn’t require any load on the muscle at all, however it is simply the body’s way of innately releasing the tension being generated in response to that stressful situation.)
How does tremoring and shaking help release our deeper, unconscious tension patterns?
The tension patterns we are working to change and release doing conscious exercise forms such as Pilates are usually NOT under our direct conscious control – if they were, we would all simply lie down, relax, let go of the tension then restart our exercises with perfect movement patterns!The benefit of the neurogenic tremor reflex is that it is generated out of the same part of the brain that creates these unconscious tension patterns, and therefor is able to find and unwind these tension patterns without our conscious direction or involvement.
A simple computer analogy is the tremors are like our body’s own innate anti-virus program that find tension patterns and then unwind them. While the tremoring movements are unconscious and involuntary, they can be consciously controlled or stopped giving you full control over the process of release and unwinding.
How do tremors find and unwind areas that are frozen, rigid, blind, numb or stuck:
We all experience areas of the body that are blind to our awareness – area’s we can’t feel or ‘find’ yet alone consciously relax, move or control. It is valuable to ask ourselves how these area’s became like this, given as children most of us would have had much greater movement and freedom in these areas. It is important to release that generally these area’s of stiffness and rigidity are not purely a mechanical stiffness, but rather are a pattern of neuro-muscular holding and tension organised unconsciously and perpetuated on an ongoing basis by the nervous system itself.
Understanding frozen, rigid, stuck and numb area’s are generally the result of unresolved stress or trauma responses being generated by the nervous system itself, the potential benefits of activating the nervous system’s innate reflex to discharge and complete these unresolved responses soon becomes obvious.
Aren’t tremors and shaking just a sign that we are scared?
No. In western medical models, the tremors and shaking often occurring during stressful or traumatic experiences have been misunderstood as only a ‘symptom’ of being scared. These tremors however are the body’s innate reflex to release and discharge the arousal and charge of our fight and flight MOVEMENTS in order to return our body to a calm and relaxed state. While they most often occur when we are scared, they can occur anytime our body is experiencing more charge than it is able to integrate – such as when people are shaking with overwhelming joy or excitement such as winning tattslotto. Neurogenic tremors are not a symptom of being scared but rather are the process the body uses to cope, discharge and recover from stressful or overwhelming experiences.
These tremors are not part of the fight or flight response (as they don’t create movement towards or away from a potential threat) nor are they part of our freeze response (as they don’t immobilise us as part of our body’s playing dead or compliant survival response) but rather are the restorative reflex of the body itself to return itself towards a calm and relaxed state. Another simple way of thinking of them is as a way for the body to dump the adrenaline experienced during stressful or traumatic experiences.
Isn’t stress and trauma mainly psychological or emotional, so won’t this shaking mean I have to have an emotional release?
No. Our body’s response to stressful situations is not to generate emotions for the simple sake of feeling emotions, although many approaches focus excessively on emotional release without incorporating the underlying movements that these emotions are designed to enhance. More often than not, it is not that our emotions create our tension patterns, but that our tension patterns arise first, with our escalating emotions arising to create greater movement away from (flight) or towards (fight) a perceived threat. The more scared I am, the faster I run. The more angry, the harder I fight.Recognising defensive emotions are primarily aimed to increase pre-existing defensive MOVEMENTS, we are then able to understand the potential impact of the physical release of muscular tension patterns rather than focusing excessively on the emotions themselves.
Recognising that “bottling it in” is not just a psychological metaphor but a physical reality whereby the neuro-muscular system creates unconscious tension to suppress and contain the MOVEMENTS of our fight and flight responses, the role of the body’s innate reflex to release these unconscious tension patterns soon becomes apparent.
While neurogenic tremors are involuntary in that their movements are outside our conscious control, they can be inhibited, controlled or stopped so we have the ability to consciously ensure we never feel out of control or are overwhelmed in any way, whether physically, psychologically or emotionally during the release process
Don’t we have to talk about past events to release stress and trauma?
Not always: As the neurogenic tremors are generated deep within the brainstem below the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain, the tremors are able to release the physical tension created in response to stress and trauma without the need to recall or talk about specific events or activate unwanted emotional triggers. This allows the majority of people to learn how to self regulate the process to use these intentional tremors on their own without requiring the ongoing assistance of a therapist.
How does Pilates, Yoga or the TRE exercises invoke these neurogenic tremors?
Unconscious neuromuscular tension patterns are most often generated in our deep stabilising muscles in order to suppress and contain the unresolved, incomplete or unexpressed defensive MOVEMENTS from past events – hence these area’s are fixed and rigid with little movement, control or even awareness available. By using simple exercises to fatigue these muscles they are no longer able to physically hold and contain these tension patterns and begin to gradually let go and release.
A useful and similar analogy occurs in relation to holding on to the urge to urinate as our body creates unconscious tension to hold on for longer and longer. By gently increasing the pressure on the structures that are unconsciously holding on (in this example by drinking another few glasses of water and putting more pressure on the bladder – while with TRE or Pilates doing exercises to specifically fatigue our tight muscles) eventually the muscles become fatigued and begin to physically let go. Maintaining a small load on the muscle as it begins to shake and tremor leads to a deeper involuntary tremor organised by and as a discharge reflex of the nervous system itself.