This was a trial run on David Berceli's Trauma Release Exercises, which started off as a full 30-day challenge but at the time I found out that I didn't have enough time to do the exercises, in late 2011. Now, a little more than a year later, 2013, I am beginning this trial again, this time trying to achieve 30 continuous days of the exercises.
Follow this link: 30-day trauma release exercise diary for general information on these exercises, which I haven't repeated here.
The idea of the trauma release exercises, developed by David Berceli, is to release trauma stored in the muscles. There are other mind-body techniques to release trauma and induce relaxation as well, for example: transgenic yoga and other body-mind therapies. The psoas-muscle seems to be key in these exercises, which has also been called an emotional muscle, as was kindly pointed out by one of the readers of this website. Other interesting topics to research on how body and mind - and their stored memories and trauma - function and get released, are: cellular memory and what has been called the second brain in the gut. Apparently gut health is also very important for our emotional health, as has been explained here, among many other places:
"Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region, including hormones and neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA and Norepinephrine. The gut contains 100 million neurons - more than the spinal cord. But there are also two-dozen small brain proteins; major cells of the immune system; one class of the body's natural opiates; and native benzodiazepines. The gut, known as the enteric nervous system, is located in sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon, and plays a key role in human emotions. But few know the enteric nervous system exists, and therefore gut health is often overlooked. Symptoms from the two brains can get confused, and just as the brain can upset the gut, the gut can also upset the brain."
- Pointofreturn.com: Gut Health: Our Second Brain
So there are many recently discovered physical ways that we can influence our moods, and David Berceli's Trauma Release Exercises are only one of those methods. Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) could also be mentioned here as a technique, as could good-old sex, as it so profoundly affects our hormones.
Mineral and vitamin deficiencies, as well as food and chemical intolerances can also cause bad, even uncontrollable moods - I have explained this more here:
How to Control Anger/ Cures for Moodiness
My first ever trial on trauma release exercises began here and you can read on these experiences and how the exercises worked in the diary notes below. For a more systematic 30-day experiment, please follow the link at the top of this page.
Also, I am now beginning to transition into my next raw food diet challenge, whose diary notes can soon be read here:
2013 Raw Food Diet
[These notes are from 2011:]
I first started this trial on Sunday the 6th November 2011. You can read on my progress below. However, I had to postpone doing a proper 30-day stretch because I realised that I did't have time to do it right now. I am currently doing the 100-day raw food challenge, which is taking quite a bit of time, logging the diary every day. That, together with work, relaxing and household duties, leaves too little time right now for the Trauma Release Exercises, I feel. Anyway, I have begun to and will later continue reporting on my progress and on any changes in my body and mind (if any). I am not aware of any trauma but that doesn't mean there isn't any. I think everyone carries trauma and hurt, our world these days is pretty stressful. Besides, these exercises are meant to help for all levels of stress. I have tried these a few times here and there in the past and when I was feeling anxious or stressed-out, it did work to release that feeling.
I especially feel that these exercises go well with my raw food diet, because it might help me with the mental detox symptoms that come with raw foods, when one is not 'numbing' the body and mind down constantly with cooked foods, stimulants and alcohol. Perhaps it even helps release food addictions! I love craving for pasta, alcohol and toast with butter... Strange, eh?
Also, I quite often have a problem with trying to fill my lungs to their full capacity and the doctors don't find anything wrong with me so I am not sure if it is caused by the London air, if it is an asthma/ allergy -related symptom, or whether it might be anxiety/ stress or something completely different. But these exercises always seem to enable me to breathe deep straight after completing them. Whether this is a consistent result, however, I will find out with time and report on here.
I did the TRP exercises following a pilates home video. The pilates video (Ana Caban) was 30 minutes and the trauma release exercises took approximately 45 minutes.
I remember trying these exercises a few times here and there in the past and at the beginning I only got 'tremors' at the last exercise. But this time, doing it after the pilates dvd, I got the 'shakes' at almost every exercise. A good result. I somehow felt it was a good release. Especially the slight tremors in my upper body and head felt very good - before it has only been legs 'tremoring'.
I have done these exercises maybe 10 times before, intermittently, but wasn't disciplined enough to continue. The tremors increase over time - the first time, for example, was not that successful.
The constricted feeling I sometimes experience in my chest and lungs cleared again to some degree while doing these exercises.
I did the trauma release exercises on their own today, no other exercise. My body was tired, muscles aching from cleaning over the weekend, and from the exercises yesterday. As a result, I hardly got any shaking from the exercises (that is the purpose, to get the muscles releasing trauma). Perhaps you have to be quite relaxed for these to work.
It is not good to do TRE straight after eating!
(The next day (Wednesday) I only got home from work at 10pm, working on a deadline, and after preparing my raw food dinner, decided not to continue with the exercises. I decided instead to return to them either the next day, or when I had more time. However, the next day I ended up working late again, so decided to postpone this trial to a more comfortable time.)
I had good time today so I decided to do a one-off day of TRP exercises. Again, I did pilates first, which took 21 minutes, after which I did the trauma release exercises with a long tremor session in the end - it took a total of 50 minutes (1hr 11min including pilates). The author, however, says that you can compress the TRP into half an hour, if you don't want to continue tremoring for a full 15 minutes in the end.
I realised that it is definitely a lot better to concentrate on the exercises, instead of doing them mechanically, if you can, and focus on breathing well, deep and fairly slow also. It seems to help. Again, I noticed that my asthma-like symptoms improve when doing these and I can breathe deeper and easier during at least some of the exercises.
This time tremors started from exercise three (there are total of seven exercises). It is definitely extremely beneficial to do pilates prior to TRP. I'm not sure why, but the tremors/ shakes are stronger and feel good. I also combined some salt pipe breathing and 'thank you' -mantra into some of these exercises, while counting seconds.
After the trauma release exercises I took a bath and scrubbed myself with a sugar scrub, and afterwards with a brush as well. I got a nice tingly feeling in my upper body as a result, as I have a few times before.
The exercises together with this did cause something to happen in my body. After the bath I went to lie down and rest and fell asleep for a little. I forced myself to wake up after a while but I felt very tired, like my body was working on releasing blocked energies or trauma or something. My lungs felt like there was something stuck and lodged in there, yet at the same time I could breathe better than usual. I also keep coughing a little bit. These odd feelings I have now are a mixture of good and bad. I have this energized feeling again, where everything looks slightly 'shiny' or glowing. But I feel very sleepy at the same time. And at the bottom of my lungs/ solar plexus area something is heavy. Hopefully it's clearing up!
This motivates me to do the exercises more because it seems that something is happening. Those, combined with the salt pipe and deep breathing while exercising - and pilates - might well clear my slight asthma/ breathing problems. I have anyway long been suspecting that it might be anxiety/ stress/ trauma-related. Exciting!
But I have a party to go to tonight and I really don't feel like going... But I will drink one green tea to wake me up a bit and go anyway. I have to make an effort sometimes! I will also bake a quick raw 'raspberry ganache fudgecake' for the party, using Ani Phyo's You Tube recipe. But right now I feel extremely tired and lazy...
Did the exercises again after pilates, following last time's good results. I've just finished doing them so not sure of longer term effects (like tiredness and heavy feeling at the bottom of the lungs like last time). But I can breathe better again and I was on a very sour mood before, and the TRP definitely calmed me down. The deep breathing through the exercises probably increased the effect. (I think the exercises are much more useful for dealing with bad moods because doing something physical when upset is much easier than just trying to meditate when your mind and emotions are racing!)
I also got many ideas into my head while exercising, which were some kind of small realisations. I think it is good to do the exercises without music or background noise and trying to relax and concentrate on deep breathing. Also, I seem to get much better tremors when doing the exercises after a pilates programme.
When I used to do these before - maybe at least half a year ago - I got shakes but not as much as now and I didn't get any other specific feelings either. But now I'm kind of more tuned into my feelings I guess, and not so distracted while doing the TRP's. Also, I took a bath before the exercises, with my bath routine of sugar scrub after a hot bath, then brushing and cold shower.
After a long break, I found some time to do a one-off trauma release exercise day today. I am currently also on a juice fast.
I definitely feel that in recent months/ half a year some progress has been made on my emotions and it feels like I understand my own mind and behavior a little bit better. I feel a little more intuitive and have also learned a second way to deal with such situations which seem stressful due to high emotional charge: the Hawaiian ho'oponopono (see my book review on Dr. Hew Len). This second method is quite spiritual and won't appeal to the more practically minded of you so, for the most, I would recommend only following the trauma release process. I feel that the TRP has been a big reason for many of my new realisations and my body-mind is definitely opening up/ clearing out.
I also recently finished a book by Candace Pert, a US-based scientist, who has been exploring how emotions get stored in the cells of the body. She also has a long list of body-mind work practitioners at the end of her book. These (which I would consider possible alternatives to the Trama Release Exercises) include: cranosacrial therapy, massage [especially deep-tissue massage], kinesiology muscle testing, hellerwork, polarity therapy, reflexology, reiki, rolfing, humour therapy, etc. I don't know if these work or if the names are up-to-date (this edition of the book was published in 1999) but I thought to include the list here in case someone is looking for alternatives and/or complementary treatments to add to the TRP. Of the list I have only tried deep-tissue massage before, which did seem to work well and, after returning home, knocked me out for hours.
I again did pilates first before the exercises and got good shakes. See also my book review on David Berceli's work (up-and-coming) where I reveal a short version of how to do these exercises and give some practical tips that I have found useful in performing these.
Later note: I took a hot bath after the exercises and felt my heart beating heavy in the bath (this maybe a food allergy symptom, I am exploring this). Afterwards I felt a little nervous and anxious and a heavy feeling in my belly/ lungs (it seems to change between these two). This could have something to do with the exercises but could also be due to the juice fast I am doing. Anyway, the symptoms lasted approximately 1.5 hours after coming out of the bath and a walk outside and drinking some fruit juice seems to have helped. If this is a side-effect of some traumas unblocking it is really not a big deal. If it is an allergy symptom, however - well, then, it is totally unnecessary and has to go.
[Later update: I'm almost 100% sure that both the anxiety and the rapid heart beat were caused by carrots, which I found myself later to have an intolerance/ allergy to.]
Next, my 30-day Trauma Release Exercise Challenge.
Food also effects your moods and stress levels. I noticed great enhancements in mood and creativity during 21-days of juice fasting. I am also trying another raw food diet now and will soon see how it will influence my moods.
How to Control Anger / Cures for Moodiness
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Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.