Interviewed by Sarah McElwain

Maria Alfaro

What is TRE®?

TRE stands for Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises. This simple set of exercises mildly fatigue and stretch the muscles in our legs to activate a natural tremoring response called Neurogenic Tremors. This technique was designed to help release the deep tension created in the body during a traumatic experience or through chronic stress. It was created by David Berceli, Ph.D., an international expert in the areas of trauma intervention and conflict resolution based on his work with populations traumatized by war.  

Adults tend to contract when they experience a threatening situation while little kids in these same situations tend to shake and tremor. TRE theorizes that we are designed to contract to protect ourselves and we are also designed to release this contraction once we feel safe again.  But since shaking or tremoring feels like a sign of a weakness or disease, we tend to shut it down.

This theory was used over 25 years ago to create this set of exercises that I mentioned. Using them we reactivate this natural shaking mechanism.  TRE has not gone mainstream yet but it is being used by over seven million people in 78 countries.

What are the benefits of TRE and what do you like best about it?

What I like best is that it really gentle, simple and anybody can do it.

Originally designed for the severe trauma of leaving in a war zone, TRE is also very effective for stress as stress and trauma are very similar and they create a similar reactions in the body. The difference is the degree, the intensity and the duration of the stressors.

So, TRE is really good for anyone. At the top of the list of benefits that people report are that they sleep better, their digestion improves and they feel less anxious, less fearful and less reactive to the life’s stressors.

People also report a decrease in other symptoms such as all kind of chronic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, sciatica, insomnia and panic attacks.

Also, we don’t have to have experienced severe personal trauma in order to be very stressed out. If you watch the news and you are aware of the wars, global warming, the civil right restrictions, the voting frauds and more, it is pretty obvious that we all need to take care of our nervous system more than ever before.

Our personal lives might be okay, but we are still affected by what happens around us so everybody can benefit from this work. And the thing I like the best is that it’s easy to learn and easy to practice.

Everyone who attends on of my introductory workshops, like the one I teach at Integral Yoga, will have access to my weekly free refresher class.  I have been offering this online class since May of 2020, to support and assist people with their TRE practice. Because if you do it once, you would feel some benefit. But if you keep doing it, that’s where you will experience lasting results.  And, after doing it a few times, it becomes very easy to reactivate this gentle response. You can do it for a few minutes every few days and it can really improve your life.

What led you to TRE? How did you discover it?

I live in Santa Cruz, California and the founder, David Berceli, came here in 2004 and I took his workshop way before there was a TRE organization. At that time, I was a full time yoga teacher and I just attended that workshop out of curiosity and a desire to work on my own personal trauma. That class changed my life. It also showed me that although there are many effective ways to reduce our stress and trauma, such as yoga, meditation, psychotherapy and breathing exercises, there is nothing that works as rapidly as TRE.

The amount of time and energy invested in it and the amount of achieved results makes TRE the most powerful and effective tool I have found so far.

That is why I became a full-time TRE Certification Trainer.

By spreading this important work I feel like I’m making an important contribution to the world becoming  a better place.

Maria Alfaro has facilitated TRE for thousands of people in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East since 2004. She has assisted Dr. David Berceli, TRE’s founder, in numerous trainings in the US, South Africa, Brazil and Japan and she has led hundreds of public workshops and over 100 certification trainings worldwide. Maria is also the co-creator of Neurogenic Yoga™, the sister method of TRE. She is known for creating a supportive, compassionate, and humorous learning environment. For more information please visit For questions or concern please email

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Hamsa Cho

Hamsa Cho



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