How can soft touch and pleasurable rhythmic movement go so deep as to make positive permanent changes in the person receiving it? The Trager® Approach is just such a paradox. Dr. Milton Trager came up with this profoundly simple way of easing the body-mind to release its unwanted holding patterns. A mailman and a boxer—not particularly an intellectual or a seeker—he came up with a brilliant approach for treating athletes, dancers, people in pain, people with movement disorders and practiced it for years before studying physical therapy and then medicine. From the 1930s through the ‘80s, before yoga and meditation became fashionable in Western culture, and before technology put our lives on fast forward, he healed his patients by teaching them practical principles for slowing down, turning their attention inward and tuning into their bodies. “Uncle Milton” must have seen into the future to know how much we would need his approach to cope with modern life.
Trager’s work is on the movement re-education branch of the big tree of Bodywork, along with Alexander, Feldenkrais, and Rolfing. Each technique offers ways of improving how the body feels and moves. Though you may wish to numb the pain or discomfort you’re in when you arrive for your Trager® session, it is by sinking into more and more sensation, being induced to feel the weight of your head and limbs as they are gently lifted and moved in uniquely gentle ways, that the pain fades or just becomes irrelevant, giving way to lightness, ease and freedom of movement throughout your body. A lot of useful information is imparted for such improvement during a Trager® session–if and only if you don’t study it, don’t think about it and don’t work at “getting it.” Empty pauses in the movement allow more to happen and the richness of sensation to seep into your joints and tissue. Slowing down becomes a gift that cracks open the hard edges of time.
A Trager® session, and the self-care movements your practitioner will develop with you, will lengthen and decompress your spine, improve range of motion in all your joints, teach you ways of ease whether you sit at a computer all day, paint houses or play an active weight-bearing sport. Trager believed, “There is a way of being which is lighter, which is freer. A way in which work, as well as play becomes a dance and living, a song. We can learn this way.”
To learn more about the Trager® Approach, call the GW Center for Integrative Medicine, 202-833-5055 or email LisaBregman@yahoo.com.