Having just done the exercises along with the Trauma Releasing Exercises DVD for the first time, I recommend using the video over using the book to get up to speed on these.
The extra exercises at the beginning are nice, and they are more pleasant to do with the models on the video. They make it seem easier and get to the shaking part more quickly.
Read the book, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process, for background and detail.
I know some of you are probably confused about these two techniques, trauma releasing and shaking medicine. They are different yet related.
The trauma releasing exercises are specifically designed to strain the feet and leg muscles so that they begin to quiver and tremble and shake and release the deeply held tension from trauma and prolonged stress.
Every body does this a little differently, but basically, you lie on your back on the floor and let your legs tremble. The trembling may move into your pelvis, spine, neck, hands, arms, and shoulders, as well. The whole process is done lying down.
A room full of people may be doing these exercises, but each is in his/her own space, not touching.
Deep emotions may arise during this process.
Shaking medicine, as far as I know, is a term coined by Dr. Bradford Keeney, who also wrote a book called Shaking Medicine: The Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement (which I’m currently reading but bought used without the 40-minute CD of ecstatic drumming it came with).
Shaking medicine is practiced in cultural traditions around the world, including the Kalahari Bushmen, Quakers, Shakers, and holy rollers. Shakers may stand, sit, and lie on ground, and move from one to the other “as the spirit moves them.” It also may be accompanied by vocalizations such as shouting and singing.
This kind of shaking is a way to heal and connect with God and let spirit move you. Literally.
It too may be accompanied by deep emotional release.
Here’s a video of Bradford Keeney shaking with some Kalahari Bushmen. It’s pretty long but you can certainly get a sense that this kind of shaking is different. It’s part of a community ritual with singing, drumming, and clapping.
It’s also practiced by individual shamans healing people with their shaking touch, sometimes passing the shaking on to another person.
In my current view, trauma releasing is a form of shaking medicine. Both practices release energy blockages and enhance the flow of chi in the body. Literally, both use shaking to heal, thus they are shaking medicine.
The term shaking medicine sounds pretty woo-woo and far out. The term trauma releasing exercises sounds much less threatening of the dominant paradigm and has a “legitimate” purpose that you could probably get a grant for researching.
The biggest difference I see is that shaking medicine is also an ecstatic practice. That word, ecstasy, isn’t associated with trauma release.
I haven’t had an opportunity to do shaking medicine yet (or have I? I practiced ecstatic dance for a dozen years…)
Both TRE and shaking medicine are kin to rebirthing and holotropic breathwork, which use breath to release deeply held tension and emotion.
I have a hunch that with all of these practices, when you’re done, you feel full of life and clean and fresh, very present, unstoried, and renewed. When you feel stale, you do it again.
I’ll keep reading and report on the book when I’m done, or when I find something too good to keep to myself.
Meanwhile, I’m looking for someone to do holotropic breathwork with me.