The US Trager Association

The Principles of the Trager® Approach - Part 3

(From Moving Medicine: The Life and Work of Milton Trager, MD) copyright Jack Liskin, 1996

Tightness and Looseness

As with resistance, the tighter and harder the tissue, the lighter and softer the practitioner works to encourage change, until the messages of lightness and softness are picked up by the receiver and the tissue responds by loosening and softening. With a person who is too loose--that is, where there is weakness, flaccidity, or even paralysis--the practitioner evokes reflex muscle activity.

The practitioner evokes a response by providing the lightest of resistance, sending a message of tension until the receiver's tissue is activated. The necessary tension is then reinforced by repeated messages coming from different directions.

This gradually conditions the receiver to respond automatically to signals from the environment that require resistance.


During the course of a Trager session, the practitioner sends thousands of sensory messages to the receiver. This almost boring repetition lulls the receiver's conscious mind away from inappropriate resistance or overcontrol; at the same time it conditions appropriate responses.

The mind and body learn unconsciously through such repetition, just as a pianist learns a piece by patterned movements of the hands and fingers repeated countless times and carried along by rhythm. The patterns so conditioned are specific to the parts of the body which need them the most.

And It Felt Like...?

The practitioner teaches the receiver to evoke the new and positive patterns in the future by recalling feelings, rather than by recalling specific motions or exercises. This is done when the receiver is in a calm and receptive state, whether after Mentastics or after tablework. Typical verbal messages include the following: "You were lying on the table and it felt like........what did it feel like?"; "Yes, this body"; "This arm."

The manner of recall is essential for evoking the feeling. Neither the practitioner nor the receiver asks with emphasis or force, but casually, almost indifferently, with a kind of idle curiosity which bypasses the conscious thinking mind.

The receiver then can use recall at any and all times to reproduce the better feeling in a specific body part. Furthermore, recalling the feeling in one area usually produces that feeling throughout the body.

In that way, one simple and hardly visible movement of a hand or even one finger can recreate the entire Trager experience.
And that experience is never more than a feeling away.

Article : The Principles of the Trager® Approach - Part III
Author : Jack Liskin M.A., P.A.-C
Date written : 1996
Comment : Definitive article on the Trager® Approach - Part III

- This article was reproduced with the kind permission of Mr Jack Liskin. -

Link to: The Principles of the Trager® Approach Part I
Link to: The Principles of the Trager® Approach Part II

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