Modern living conditions make it increasingly difficult for many people to relate to their own bodies. As children, almost all of us move naturally, joyfully, easily and loosely. In the course of our lives, often people lose this feeling of lightness and freedom. But body awareness can be learned. Mobility can be nurtured.
Our body needs stimulation and care in order to guarantee wellbeing and quality of life. Trager Therapy is an ideal method for achieving this. Some people come for treatment because they want to do something good for their body; others to do something about their difficulties. Trager therapy is for young and old, for sick and healthy people. It is an experience and learning process of great pleasantness!
Through a simple question, the American Dr. Milton Trager (1908 – 1997) discovered the therapeutic approach that was later named after him. It was the answer to his brother’s question asking which of them could jump higher. Dr. Milton Trager responded as if led by an intuition: „Instead, let’s see who can land softer.”
Such questions were from now on decisive for his life. He was always fascinated by the grace of a movement and always on the lookout for even more harmonious movements. He called these movements Mentastics (mental gymnastics). For years he experimented with questions like „What would be easier? What would be freer? What would be softer?
Milton Trager had been trained as a doctor, physiotherapist and naturopath. His genius was his understanding that nothing long lasting happens until the patient feels the changes in his tissues and is taught to return to this feeling state through conscious practice.
The path to lightness begins with the therapist
During their training, the therapists learn to develop the same qualities for themselves that they would like to pass on – to an extent that is not usual in therapeutic work. „It’s the way I touch,“ said Milton Trager, „not the technique that is important.”
How does Trager Therapy work?
Physical reaction patterns are created by environmental influences and experiences. These can be positive or negative. Often a person maintains reaction patterns that were once necessary to maintain body balance or even to survive, out of a need for safety. Such a movement holding pattern also has consequences on a physical and mental/emotional level. Emotions such as fear, anger or grief produce characteristic reaction patterns with physical counterparts. Such muscular tension patterns can lead from discomfort to pain, loss of elasticity and balance to malfunctions of the musculoskeletal system and the organ systems.
To change tension patterns through great effort often creates further problems. Only those who have felt something different themselves can discover a new and more helpful way of moving. As soon as a better feeling has been experienced, there is also the possibility to return to it. Through gentle touch and movement, connections can be made between emotional states and bodily functions.
Trager therapy is not a technique. The basis is in a questioning attitude, felt movement and the resulting experience of something new to the client. The more consciously the feeling can be integrated, the sooner new and more natural movement patterns can develop.
Perceptually experiencing the feeling of weight is an art, which offers the possibility of shifting awareness from old patterns of holding tension within ones own system into something much more open, much more free and easy. It is always a matter of degree. It is most easily experienced if there is a willingness to explore ones own curiosity.
During the course of a Trager session, there might be two or three thousand individual movements initiated by the practitioner. Each of these movements sets a wave in motion or responds to the wave that has been previously set in motion. The wave movement continues through the whole body and creates an experience of wholeness. A new feeling of balance can be experienced.
Quality of touch
The practitioner’s hands are soft and questioning. A dialogue occurs, in which the practitioner asks and receives information about the client’s tissue. The practitioner uses her own body weight for many movements. This allows for effortless treatment. The session becomes a dance.
Asking questions and listening
During the treatment the practitioner asks herself questions like „what would be easier, what would be freer“ and listens to the answers of the client’s body. She also is asking these same questions of her own body. These questioning touches address the autonomic nervous system directly.
Hook up – deep presence
Hook-up is a coined expression that Milton Trager used to describe a state of presence. He wanted to express that we are connected to everything that surrounds us. This state of calm presence is an important part of the Trager treatment.
Our body can remember and bring an experience into consciousness. This activates a great chemical, neurological and muscular interaction and the body reproduces muscle tone, movement, feeling, temperature and pressure of the remembered situation. Trager supports positive memory. We can remember this positive state whenever we want and integrate that into our everyday life. It has been proven that, for example, a dancer who consciously imagines a movement beforehand can jump higher or further.
Reflex Response is the part of the Trager Therapy that is generally more stimulating than calming. It often, but not always, requires the active involvement of the client. Reflex Response is not necessarily used in every session or with every client. It is a component, a tool of the approach. It can be integrated into a session to support the perception of a specific area, to emphasize a feeling, to help balance an area, especially in the area of joints that have been overused due to posture patterns or habitual movement patterns or even in the case of paralysis.
Mentastics are simple, effortless movements. We explore them with our clients before, after or during a treatment. The perception of weight is of central importance. How heavy or light is an arm, a hand, a finger? How can I use my weight economically to experience ease of movement? How can I learn to trust gravity, relax and remain alert at the same time? Mentastics can be extended, changed or adapted by the clients themselves anytime and anywhere. They become an important part of daily wellbeing.
The Trager training is divided into two sections:
Diploma Trager Practitioner, recognized by Trager School Switzerland, Trager International and by the registries of the health insurance funds (EMR, ASCA) (with additional proof of 150 hours med. basics)
In addition to Trager Practitioner:
The Tronc Commun (Common Basis) Complementary Therapy (see separate brochure)
Diploma in Trager Therapy (training prepared for the recognition of Trager Therapy as a complementary therapy method, currently in progress)
The practicum integrates the knowledge and skills acquired in class into an independent embodiment of what has been learned through supervised practice units. It is carried out between the levels and in total consists of:
Trager education is suitable for personal development and for people with interest in medical, therapeutic, pedagogical, social, sport and other professional fields.
It can be completed part-time. It lasts between 2 1/2 years (Trager Practitioner) and 5 years (Trager Therapist). Classes are all taught by internationally recognized instructors. The individual levels follow each other and should usually be attended in this order. The class cohesion also guarantees a safe and supportive training environment. Each level is booked and paid individually.
You can complete this training regardless of prior medical knowledge. The primary prerequisite is joy for practical work with people and with one’s own potential.
We highly recommend that you receive one or more Trager treatments in advance and/or attend an introductory course.
What do I learn in the training program?
The Trager School Switzerland and the Kientalerhof are currently in the process of having Trager therapy recognised as a complementary therapy method. As soon as this recognition process has been completed, the training „Trager Therapist“ (20 levels, 500 contact hours, approx. 5 years) can lead to the acquisition of a federal diploma in Complementary Therapy.
Those who have already completed a Trager training course or are starting a Trager Therapy training course at Kientalerhof now acquire all the necessary contents and hours to be admitted later to the Higher Examination KT for the federal diploma KT via the so-called equivalence procedure.