the trager approach
The Trager Approach, named after its creator the late Dr. Milton Trager, a.k.a. Psycho-physical Integration, is a body-centered therapy that uses a combination of hands-on tissue mobilization and movement re-education with gentle exercises taught to the clients.
The underlying principle of psycho-physical integration is that clients release patterns of tension and learn to be lighter and freer by experiencing lightness, ease, and freedom of movement in their bodies. The Trager Approach is a psychologically grounded physical approach to muscle relaxation, which is induced when a practitioner and patient achieve a free flowing state of mind. Such a state of mind may be described as a connection to a state of grace or a powerful and nourishing life force. It is the opposite of strain.
Psycho-physical integration therapy has been helpful in relieving muscle discomfort in patients afflicted with polio, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, post-stroke trauma, and psychiatric disturbances. The therapy is useful in alleviating such chronic conditions as back and leg pain. Athletes may benefit from this system to increase resilience to injuries and to improve their mental attitudes. The Trager Institute maintains that Tragerwork helps clients achieve greater mental clarity through the release of "deep-seated non-beneficial physical and mental patterns."
Psycho-physical integration therapy began with Dr. Milton Trager (1908–1997), who earned a medical degree in midlife after working out his approach to healing chronic pain. Trager was born with a spinal deformity and overcame it through practicing a variety of athletic exercises. At the time that he discovered his approach to bodywork, he was training to become a boxer. His therapy came to public attention when Esalen Institute in California, invited him to give a demonstration of his technique during the mid-1970s. Trager abandoned his private medical practice in 1977 to devote full energy to the development and further understanding of psycho-physical integration. The Trager Institute, which continues his work, was founded in 1980.
Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of Programs in Integrative Health at the University of Arizona writes about Trager:
"Tragerwork is one of the least invasive forms of body work, using gentle rocking and bouncing motions to induce states of deep, pleasant relaxation. It helps facilitate the nervous system's communication with the muscles, so that it can be used as a method of rehabilitation especially by people suffering from traumatic injuries, post polio syndrome, and other chronic neuro-muscular problems."