David & Ranji, 2011

TRE: Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises

Ranji also shares TRE – Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises.  Here are her thoughts about TRE:

In my TRE work, I am passionate about holding space for people who want to deepen their self-care and to heal themselves, whether from the stresses of daily life or the repercussions of more momentous events.

In my years overseas as a humanitarian aid worker, I have seen trauma first-hand as well as experienced it vicariously.  The search for transformative practices that can address the conditions which led people to be displaced by wars in the first place led David & me to NVC.  In our NVC work with others as well as in our own healing, trauma has been a recurring theme, and it became clear to me that I wanted to increase my capacity to hold space for people to heal themselves. After a dear friend heard Dr Berceli speak about TRE she suggested I explore it as another possible way in which I could do this.

In TRE I found a further method for addressing deeply held tension and pain, using a physical approach, which complements very well my practices of NVC, yoga and Vipassana meditation. As with these other practices, TRE taps into the inner wisdom of our being.


My brief summary of TRE:

TRE (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises) is a set of simple exercises that elicit natural tremors helping to release chronic stress and tension held in the body. Allowing the body to release the protective stress of being 'on alert' that is held in the deep muscles, neurogenic tremors starting from the psoas muscles can travel the body and release tension where it is most needed. The process of doing TRE, once learned, does not require ongoing outside support – it is a sustainable self-care method that can take just a few minutes a day.  After doing TRE, people report deep relaxation, better sleep, alleviation of long-standing symptoms, resolution of tension, and release of trauma. Our bodies know what we need in order to heal – TRE draws on this, helping to bring us back to our centre and closer to balance.

One of the aspects of TRE that inspires hope in me is how, after one learns it, it does not require ongoing outside support – it is a self-practice that people anywhere of any background can do for themselves. And in so many places where we have worked around the world, this is key to the healing that needs to happen to create the world we want to live in. 

Ranji & David are continuing to explore ways to bring NVC and TRE together – such as in mediations, where the charge that people hold in their bodies often doesn’t allow for dialogue and connection – and will continue to offer them independently as well.

David & Ranji are also exploring how to support people in Sri Lanka, the land of Ranji’s heritage, in recovering from the decades-long war there.  During a couple of trips to the island, they have offered both NVC and TRE, and will continue to offer both in future trips to Sri Lanka, as well as in other war-affected regions of the world.


Ranji’s TRE offerings:

TRE sessions include information on the history and background of TRE's development by Dr David Berceli; a brief overview of how TRE works, physiologically speaking; a demonstration of the exercises; leading through the exercises, with modifications for different bodies; a guided tremoring session; debriefing of the experience; and a Q & A session at the end, with suggestions for developing a self-practice. 

Sessions last from 1 ½ to 3 hours, depending on the number of participants.  For a session, participants wear loose, comfortable clothing (the kind one might wear for yoga or light exercise), and lie on a yoga mat or blanket (with pillows and other supports as needed for comfort).  It is also possible to do an entire session while sitting in a chair; Ranji gives modifications to suit all abilities and mobilities.

Different session configurations that Ranji offers include:

Private, one-on-one sessions

Couple sessions

Family sessions

Small group workshops

Workshops in professional settings, such as offices, organizations, staff retreats



"Ranji has a great teaching style. She cares a lot about people and brings a warm and relaxed atmosphere to the class. She is clearly very knowledgable, and teaches TRE successfully to a diverse group of people. Thanks to her, my TRE practice is off to a great start and I am already looking forward to the followup."

L.L., Chemistry Professor, Chico, CA


"The TRE session I had with Ranji was a truly cathartic experience. I wasn't sure what to expect, and was amazed at the intensity of the release both physically and emotionally. I felt supported and safe withRanji's gentle guidance and left feeling grateful and grounded. I will definitely continue practicing TRE as a way to release and heal.”

N.T., Child and Youth Counsellor, Vancouver, BC


"Thanks for your presentation this morning. You are one gifted teacher – down-to-earth, authentic, candid, and conscientious. I appreciate your sharing the wonderful & useful information & tools you've found useful in healing ourselves and our planet. You rock, Ranji, and so does that beautiful mama of yours!”

J.J., Massage Therapist, Chico, CA


"Due to my beliefs in alternative ways to heal myself after reading up on TRE I knew that I would benefit from it to some degree. However, I must say it far exceeded my expectations. Prior to my one on one session, I had the negative thoughts running around in my head, I felt anxious and was questioning my existence.  Afterwards, I felt totally at peace, calm, happy and excited to be alive. It was utterly amazing! Ranji's approach itself is very calming, her support afterwards was exemplary. Her willingness to provide additional guidance via telephone and email increased the positiveness of this experience . The fact that I can continue the self-care is an added bonus. I feel this method of self-care could reduce the use of the medical system and improve one's own mental and physical state. It is like a new miracle drug without the chemicals!"

L.F., Regional Manager, Prince George, BC


"Even though I read about and saw videos of the TRE practice, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a session. Ranji is wonderfully clear and put all of my uncertainty to rest by explaining how we would spend our time together, what TRE can look like and also how it can be experienced. As well, during our session she regularly asked how I was experiencing the exercises and later the tremors and this, along with doing what she said she was going to do, had me feel reassured and quickly established Ranji as someone I could trust. Immediately after our session together I noticed a greater depth to my perception in addition to greater visual acuity. As well, I felt tremendously relaxed and that evening slept soundly and woke the next day feeling restored. Ranji taught me in such a thorough and clear manner that I’ve felt confident to practice on my own - and indeed this practice is one of self-care so I can tremor whenever I feel the need. I will continue to use this practice as a way to help me to release stress, improve my ability to be present with family and my community, and when I just want to feel good. I would highly recommend this practice, and especially Ranji’s caring and effective teaching, to anyone ready to begin the life-long need for self-care. I have already suggested her training to my son’s school - both for the school staff and the students!"

J.S., Business Owner, North Vancouver, BC

"I discovered Ranji under Dr Bercelli's list for practioners on his website when I googled 'pelvic pain'. Ranji emailed me swiftly and told me options for seeing her. I ordered the TRE book and practiced the exercises after our phone call. Later on Skype, Ranji gently shared various easier ways to exercise and positions to comfortably tremor and release tension. It has been an amazing experience to have Ranji be my guide for healing the pain in my body. My gratitude for her service."

"grateful Tacoman", Retired from Tacoma Public Library, Tacoma, WA


"My experience with TRE has definitely been beneficial. I have felt the tension and rigidity in my body release significantly. My breathing is easier, my body moves with more ease, and I feel less anxiety. Ranji's careful instruction and her respect for the body's own sense of what is needed has made the experience comfortable, safe, and effective."

J.B., lawyer and mom, North Vancouver, BC


"I tried TRE because I have been under a tremendous amount of stress lately, both personally and professionally. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I haven’t been sleeping well, my lower back and shoulders have been sore and I’ve been quite emotional – so I was hoping to solve these issues at least. I had two sessions with Ranji, one as part of a workshop with others and on another day, a one-on-one session. I found Ranji very informative and knowledgeable and her voice is so calming. I was concerned that I might be emotional throughout, and was really unsure of what would happen, but the information session calmed a lot of those fears. After my very first session, I immediately wanted to do it again. I felt relaxed, refreshed, and slept through the night. I felt more sure of myself after the one-on-one session to be able to do the exercises on my own. I have now completed the TRE Exercises 4 times, twice on my own - and so far I am very pleased with the results. Although, I still feel stress, and tension in my body; I can feel that some of it is gone, my lower back has not hurt since I had my very first session. Ranji's location has not been an issue at all, she has quickly responded to emails and is willing to assist over Skype. TRE is not strenuous or difficult to learn and I strongly recommend it to others – those that are dealing with high stress and those that aren't. Thank you so much Ranji, I am so very thankful that I have this tool in my toolbox. I don't feel so helpless anymore."

M.R., Regional Director's Assistant, Prince George, BC


"I had been able to get the tremors going on my own, but working on Skype with Ranji took this practice to a new level for me. She invited and guided me in moving into different positions to find deeper levels of comfort and allow tremors to travel into new areas and with more fluidity. She sometimes called my attention to my breath. Even though I’m familiar with trusting my body’s wisdom and regularly practice it in my life, her discerning witness to my process sweetly supported me to embrace more fully the empowerment that comes from truly respecting life as it flows through me. Ranji is a superb witness and sensitive coach."

S.H., Bodymind Educator, Mountain Ranch, CA

Detail of painting by Ranjana Ariaratnam, 2013.
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