What is Tragerwork?
This light, gentle form of massage seeks to release deeply ingrained tensions, promoting a sense of relaxation and freedom. It appears to be especially helpful for people with chronic neuromuscular pain, including back problems and sciatica, and it has also been advocated for stress-related conditions, high blood pressure, strokes, migraine, and asthma. Proponents say that it can benefit patients with polio, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy as well.
How are the treatments done?
Also known as Trager Integration or the Trager Approach, this form of therapy has two components: bodywork conducted by the therapist and a set of movement exercises to be pursued between treatments.
Trager bodywork sessions are quite different from a run-of-the-mill massage. There's no oil, and no rubbing. Instead, the therapist enters a meditative state called "hook up," the better to sense areas of tension in the body. By rhythmically stretching tense muscles and rocking stiff joints, the therapist attempts to induce a feeling of lightness and freedom, inviting the patient to completely surrender muscular control. When he encounters an especially tense area, he relaxes his pressure instead of bearing down as he would during Rolfing or Hellerwork. For many, the net effect is an invigorating feeling of light, supple release.
The follow-up exercises, dubbed "mentastics" (for mental gymnastics), are designed to promote effortless motion. They range from simply shaking or swinging the hands or the feet to executing free, dancelike movements that enhance relaxation.
Treatments typically last between 60 and 90 minutes.
Who Should Avoid This Therapy?
The gentle massage and exercise of Trager Integration is unlikely to be harmful to anyone. Nevertheless, be sure to alert the practitioner if you have the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis or a tendency to clotting in the circulatory system (thrombosis).