Also referred to as Psychophysical Integration, this form of therapy combines hands-on bodywork with a set of simple movement exercises, called Mentastics or mental gymnastics, to release muscle tension, increase range of motion, and reeducate the body.
It was developed by Dr. Milton Trager between the 1930s and 1950s as a means of releasing deep-seated areas of holding and pain or dysfunction interrelated with the neurological functioning of the mind and body. After using running and gymnastics to successfully correct his frail boyhood condition, he discovered that he had the ability to restore health with his hands, and while training to be a boxer, he found that he was able to heal a number of people, including a polio victim. After giving up boxing and getting involved in dancing and acrobatics, he pursued therapeutic training to support his own growing abilities. Trager believed that all deep-seated patterns of dysfunction begin in the mind and that by using sensitive touch to communicate relaxed feelings to the brain via the nervous system, existing painful patterns can be removed. The intention of the Trager Approach is to provide a more effortless way of being by providing the body with the experience of light, easy, and free sensations.
The treatment is done in a noninvasive, meditative way without using any long or broad strokes, extreme pressure, or rapid thrusts on the connective tissue of the body. Instead, gentle and pleasurable rhythmic cradling, jiggling, kneading, shaking, pulling, rotating, rocking, stretching, bouncing, and rolling of body parts mobilize soft tissues and encourage release and relaxation, while the recipient directly experiences how it feels as different parts of the body are freed up.
When the client’s joints and muscles are relaxed, light, soft, free, and flexible, these positive sensations are fed back into the central nervous system to help teach muscles and joints how to move effortlessly with mindfulness of the energy within. The client remains fully or partially clothed, and no massage oils are used. <<
Although the treatment is appropriate for a number of physiological issues, the results often manifest simply with the body feeling very loose, open, limber, and taller. In addition, the Trager Approach includes a set of fluid, dance-like, body-educating exercises called Mentastics that use rocking, swings, shakes, eight different kinds of kicks, and stretches to provide gentle healing effects while releasing blockages in the body. Its intention is to help the recipient retain the benefits of lengthening, widening, softening, and expanding the body that were brought about through the hands-on bodywork.
The exercises are also taught to the client so that they can be performed at home to reinforce the bodywork session. <
Contact: United States Trager Association – www.tragerus.org
This modality comes from “Our Inner Ocean”, a book by Captain LeCain W. Smith: The author, LeCain W. Smith, learned early in life that his personal path to awakening was through ocean sailing, bodywork, and transformational energetic experiences. When living on the sea, making friends with the elements and with nature, he uncovered his passion for adventure, exploration, fitness, and health. He spent many years studying and experiencing bodywork and practicing yoga, qigong, breath-work, and meditation. This passion, combined with seeing numerous friends struggle with health problems, eventually drove Smith to reach out and help others through the writing of this book. If this endeavor changes the life of only one person, he will consider it a success.
Good health is something we all aspire to, but it’s so much more than just being free of disease. A perfectly functioning body, tranquil mind, and vibrant spirit working together harmoniously create the joy and happiness that put the good in good health and the worth into a life worth living. Our Inner Ocean describes ancient and new holistic modalities of practitioner-applied bodywork and revitalizing self-care practices.