The Trager Approach (also known as Trager Work) is a structural integration system, developed by Milton Trager, an American doctor. Milton Trager developed the psychophysical integration technique during his medical practice, and over a period of 65 years.
Trager had a congenital spinal deformity and, through his own persistence, became a dancer and gymnast. He died at the age of 88 and spent his life ‘healing’ many people with his amazing approach.
During the 1970s, his efforts were recognized by California’s Esalen Institute. He began to treat patients there and soon retired from his medical practice in Hawaii and began to work full-time using the psychophysical integration technique.
Somatic Education and Other Bodywork Therapies
The term ‘somatic education’ is used to describe the Trager Approach, and also other bodywork therapies such as the Feldenkrais Method, the Alexander Technique and Rolfing. The ‘soma’ means, “the body as distinct from the soul, mind, or psyche” and is used when describing movement type therapies.
This type of therapy works to bring about improved communication between the body and mind, as many bodywork therapies do.
Trager Work Therapy Sessions
During treatment, the patient lies on a massage table and the practitioner helps explore the range of motion through large movements. If an area seems to be stiff or unyielding, the practitioner may engage in a mantra-like dialogue, causing the movement to become lighter and freer.
A trained practitioner of Trager work can sense tension and “blocked” areas of the body, and manipulate them to release the toxic problem.
Trager believes that “tight muscles can be caused by many things, but the pattern of tightness is all in the mind.” Releasing the tensions of the mind can cause a better range of movement and relieve tension and stress.
Much of Trager work is based on the intuitions of the practitioner, and using hand and mind to manipulate and communicate, the Trager therapists awaken certain patterns in your mind and body through movement and touch.
Rocking and shaking movements are incorporated to loosen the joints and help the patient relax, and Trager work therapy promotes feelings of lightness and freedom. The technique is designed to open the mind to realizations that certain movements of the body will not cause pain. For example, those patients suffering with chronic back problems, as did Trager, may find relief from these treatments.
Improves Athletic Performance
Athletes also use the method to enhance their performance and gain more flexibility. It also helps their movements become more graceful, improves their focus, speed and stamina. In addition, their risk of injuries is lessened, and they conserve more energy.
Health Benefits of The Trager Approach
Trager therapy is used to relieve symptoms of conditions such as:
- Chronic back pain and sciatica
- Anxiety and depression
- Migraine and general headaches
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Neuromuscular pain
- Muscular dystrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Carpal tunnel and even polio
More research is being conducted in the possible uses for Trager work, and many natural healing practitioners are using this therapy to relieve the symptoms of certain conditions and to promote healing. You can watch videos online to see how this treatment is applied.