New exercise to help veterans, first responders handle trauma

Updated: Oct. 4, 2017 at 6:23 PM CDT
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(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A new form of exercise is changing how veterans and first responders cope with PTSD and trauma. It's called Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercise, or TRE.

"Most people that experience stress or tension or trauma usually have contracted muscle groups; all we need to do is soften them a little bit," said David Berceli, Ph.D.

It's a method that law enforcement officer Brent Chambers said he was skeptical about at first.

"I was relieved with how easy it was to release some of that stress and talk about some of those things," Chambers said.

Experts said talking is half the battle.

"First responders are very slow to get help for mental health issues, particularly PTSD," said Brenda McBride, licensed clinical social worker.

Chambers said that's because their job requires them to put the needs of others before their own.

"You have to be a foundation for people in trauma at that time, so you have to deal with your trauma later and sometimes it's much later, years later," Chambers said.

Berceli is the developer of TRE, and he says these basic movements help to regulate the nervous system.

"It retrains it how to stay in a calm state because most of our nervous systems are overstimulated just by the culture that we live in," Berceli said.

The purpose of the movements is to loosen patterns of tension and help those who do it self-regulate.

"I don't have to drink, or use alcohol or drugs, or yell at my wife and kids, in order to get a release. I can do that for myself," McBride said.

According to Berceli, the benefits of TRE include better sleep, relief from chronic medical conditions and improved relationships.

Berceli said even though it's used for veteran and first responders, anyone can benefit from TRE. 

He said those just starting the program should do the movements for about 10 minutes every other day.

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