FREQUENTLY ASKED

QUESTIONS

Why is TRE® so beneficial?

In your body, there will be parts where it holds a lot of tension, and parts where there is not a lot of tension. Where there is a lot of tension, is tense muscle tissue. Where there is not a lot of tension, is smooth muscle tissue. Perhaps you are aware of these tension areas in your body already? Perhaps you have symptoms of aches and pains in certain parts of your body and more ease and fluidity in other parts? For sure there will be tension in areas that you are not consciously aware of.

By practising TRE®, through the process of the tremor mechanism, your body will move the smooth muscle tissue to the areas where there are tense blockages. This is not done cognitively or with thought, this is done physiologically. In removing these blockages, your body will be able to pulsate again as one entire organism, with no separation between body and mind, resulting in feeling lighter, calmer, more balanced and free.

Will the tremors only happen in my lower body?

The tremors may start in the legs or lower body as that is the muscles we are tiring during the exercises. However, in their own time, and in their own way, the tremors will move up the spine to the upper body finding tension patterns and releasing blockages.

There are techniques to help assist the tremors through the body if they do not already move to the upper body their own way. Carolanne will be able to guide you to facilitate the tremors to release tension patterns in all areas of the body.

Why are there no exercises to tire the top of the body?

The 7 simple exercises practised during TRE® are done so to gently tire the muscles. Starting at the ankles, working up to the calves, adductors, hamstrings, quads, glutes and finally the powerful muscle to psoas, where most of our tension in stress responses are held. Tiring these muscle groups are sufficient to activate the tremor mechanism in the body. 

The exercises practised during TRE® are only required in the beginning until the tremor mechanism is activated in your body.  The tremors will naturally move up the spine to the upper body, which may take time and regular practise. There are techniques to help facilitate the tremors to the upper body which Carolanne can assist with.

WHAT AND WHERE IS THE PSOAS MUSCLE?

The psoas muscle, also known as the muscle of the soul, is an important muscle in the body. Not only does it connect the upper body to the lower body, but all physical, emotional and mental stress is held in psoas muscle.

When we sense a threat (either perceived or real), the psoas muscle is the first muscle we contract. It is an involuntary movement in order to protect. 

Tense psoas muscles is the main cause of lower back, shoulder and neck pain. Trauma is retained in the psoas muscle on cellular level.

Because we live in such a protective state, our psoas muscle is so tight to protect us from danger. But this has a negative impact on the nervous system as it receives signals from the body that it is actually under threat. This means our heart rate increases, our breathing is rapid, our muscles contract, we have increased stress chemicals in the body and our sleep and digestion are disturbed. 

TRE® releases the tension in the psoas muscle through the tremor mechanism. By relaxing the psoas muscle, the nervous system calms, aches and pains are eased and we can regain homeostasis.

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-REGULATION WHILE PRACTISING TRE®?

Learning TRE® in the beginning is likely to be a new experience for most. One learns to focus more on bodily sensations, to trust the movements of the body and to quieten down the volume of the thoughts of the mind and the ego defense. TRE® naturally calms down the nervous system but in doing so one learns their nervous system responses and notices when they become activated.

Noticing when one becomes activated is a sign to apply the techniques on grounding and self-regulation as taught by Carolanne. This helps to avoid unnecessary states of overwhelm, both during the session of TRE® and can also be applied in your daily life. Self-regulation and grounding techniques are essential to maintaining a grounded and connected nervous system.

WHAT DOES IT TO BECOME ACTIVATED IN MY NERVOUS SYSTEM?

Your autonomic nervous system is constantly looking for cues of safety and danger throughout the day. Knowing when you feel grounded and ungrounded is key to maintaining a balanced and calm nervous system. There may be many times during the day when a sense of threat or danger is felt, whether it be a real threat or perceived threat. Even thoughts can be a trigger in the nervous system, creating a false sense of danger in the body. Regardless of the threat, the body contracts the same muscles (mainly psoas) during this stress response.

When one becomes activated in their nervous system, this will be felt in the body as the sympathetic nervous system is automatically engaged (fight/flight). Muscles will contract, the heart may start racing, one may experience emotions of fear, anxiety or panic… This all happens very fast and one becomes ungrounded. In becoming aware of this happening, one can apply techniques (taught by Carolanne) to regulate the nervous system, helping you to become grounded and restore calm.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT GROUNDING IN TRE®?

Grounding in TRE® does not just mean feeling your feet connect with the ground below you. Grounding in TRE® means to be connected to yourself, your environment and the greater world. It means being aware of your thoughts, emotions and your bodily sensations without judging or analysing. To be fully grounded means to keep calm in the middle of the storm.

The autonomic nervous system is at the core of everything we do. It constantly looks for cues of safety and danger informing us when safe to engage or protects us from a sense of danger. Knowing how to calm yourself in the middle of the storm with grounding techniques helps you to keep connected and focussed.

WHAT IF I AM AFRAID TO LET GO OF PAINFUL EMOTIONS OR TRAUMA?

The exercises in TRE® relax tightly held muscles, so buried or repressed emotions can surface for some people during deep muscular relaxation. If you experience an emotional release whilst practising TRE®, you will be guided by Carolanne to ensure you are resourced and can self-regulate your nervous system. You can stop the tremors at any time during the session. Pausing frequently throughout the process can be a good way to stay regulated in your nervous system, whilst the body naturally releases tightly held tension at a slow and regulated pace.

IS TRE® LIKE YOGA?

TRE® and yoga are different in the sense that when we practise yoga, the mind controls where to move the body. Using breath, the mind controls where to position the body into each Asana (pose) to stretch and create fluidity in the body. When we connect to our breath and have more fluidity and flexibility in the body, we are able to feel calm and relaxed.

TRE® differs in that it is the only practise that gets straight to the nervous system where all the stress responses are generated. During TRE® practise, the tremors originate from the brain stem, so the thinking part of the brain (neocortex) is not required. 

Practising TRE® regularly can complement yoga and meditation, as it helps our muscles become more relaxed facilitating fluidity of movement in the body. This greater fluidity allows for ease of movement when flowing between Asanas (poses) in yoga. When we feel safe and our bodies are free of tension, this spaciousness helps us to connect to the breath on a deeper meditative level.

WHY PRACTISING TRE® CAN IMPROVE SLEEP?

Sleep is important for a healthy body and mind – helping body muscles to restore and grow, and increases productivity and concentration of the mind.

Insomnia, difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep is a sign that something is out of sync with the body. Often stress, anxiety and tension are causing one to not sleep deeply.

TRE® elicits deep muscular relaxation, inducing the body to activate the rest/digest response of the parasympathetic nervous system that allows the body to sleep. Practising TRE® regularly can significantly aid your body to activate this rest/digest state helping your sleep to be deeper and more restful.

WHY PRACTISING TRE® HELPS IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS?

Stress and tension threatens relationships in love, family or in the workplace. When we are calm and relaxed in their nervous system, we send signals inviting others to connect or collaborate.

Remaining calm and relaxed is challenging with stresses of daily life. This makes our nervous system feel threatened and we tense. 

Having a regular TRE® practise increases self-awareness and allows one to trust the body to release tension or stress allowing for deep muscle relaxation. A relaxed body and mind improves all aspects of one’s life.

Why is Breathwork so beneficial?

Your breath is the most easily accessible tool innate in the human body with a direct pathway to regulate your autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for all those automatic processes in the body including respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion.  It also plays a fundamental role in how you function from day to day, including your mood, how you perform at work, how you show up in relationships, how well you sleep, and how your body digests.

Breathing techniques can be used to down-regulate your nervous system from over-excited, anxious, fearful, or panicked to a state of calm, relaxation, and balance. There are techniques to up-regulate your nervous system to sharpen focus, increase attention span and concentration, and improve performance. Conscious Connected Breathing can go deeper by releasing trauma, emotional blockages and physical tension.

How do breathing techniques lower heart rate and blood pressure?

The average healthy adult completes approximately 10-12 breaths per minute (compared to 15-20 breaths per minute for those with chronic health respiratory conditions).

Simple-to-learn and simple-to-practice breathing techniques that reduce your respiratory rate can also down-regulate all the other automatic functions in the body such as heart rate, and blood pressure and eases digestion.

When we reduce the breathing rate to 5 or 6 breaths per minute, using simple coherent breathing exercises, it can help regulate our respiratory rate and all the other automatic functions in the body such as heart rate, blood pressure and digestion. The experience can be felt as if all these automatic functions are naturally pulsating in a flow state.

When we breathe using slow and deep techniques, it relaxes the blood vessels and reduces the workload on the heart, reducing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

Learn simple practices today that you can build into your daily schedule, taking up as little time as 15-30 minutes per day, can really benefit in regulating all the automatic functions of the body.

What is the optimal way of breathing?

It is often misunderstood that taking bigger, fuller breaths is better for health and the body. Taking in more oxygen than required is linked to increased activation in the stress response, as well as reduced levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, which in turn can result in brain fog, fatigue, and breathlessness.

Whether you simply breathe to live or use your breath for your performance (such as an athlete, dancer, singer, or runner), general all-around respiratory health requires efficiently balancing the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood ensuring oxygen is delivered efficiently to our muscles and organs.

Whilst resting, the average healthy adult completes approximately 10-12 breaths (or 4-6 litres of air) per minute. Those with chronic health conditions, anxiety disorders, or respiratory issues often breathe 15-20 times per minute (or 10-15 litres).

When we are over-busy, or when we become anxious, worried or experience panic or fear, the stress response of the autonomic nervous system (the sympathetic nervous system) engages. This prompts changes to our breathing pattern in a way that it becomes short, shallow, and upper chest breathing and this can lead to over-breathing.

This over-breathing gets rid of too much CO2 from our bloodstream. We need CO2 in our blood to trigger the release of oxygen from the red blood cells to our tissues and organs. Overbreathing can lead to brain fog, fatigue, and breathlessness.

The optimal way to breathe for our health is to breathe light, slow and deep using the diaphragm rather than the upper chest. To do this, breathe slow and controlled into your lower abdomen, whilst keeping the breath gentle and as quiet as possible.

Why is nose breathing better than mouth breathing?

Simply put, the nose is designed for breathing. The mouth only provides a secondary external opening for the respiratory tract.

Most normal breathing takes place through the nasal cavity. When we breathe through the nose, the air is warmed (or cooled depending on the temperature), moistened, filtered, and cleaned. The volume of air is controlled when inhaling through the nose.

Breathing will switch to the mouth, typically, as a backup if, for instance, the nasal passages are congested. The mouth does not warm the air, or moisten the air, and it does not regulate the volume of air coming into the lungs meaning over-breathing can occur.

Hard or fast breathing during rest is likely to cause breathlessness during exercise and heavy breathing or snoring during sleep. Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose during rest or sleep can greatly cause fatigue and lower immunity to infection, leading to bad breath, sore throat, and a dry mouth.

When sleeping, breathing with the mouth open increases the risk of snoring, insomnia, and sleep apnea. This can increase the stress response (sympathetic nervous system) and decrease the relaxation response.

Practising breathing techniques through the nose during the day can help to train your breath to breathe optimally during sleep.

What type of effects might I experience during Conscious Connected Breathing?

During a session of Conscious Connected Breathing, be open-minded and prepared for what can be experienced. You may experience mental, physical, emotional, and even spiritual effects.

Mental effects might be a surge in creativity, inspiration, or ideas during the breathwork as the pre-frontal cortex (rational thinking brain) quietens and the limbic system (emotional brain) becomes more active. You may see solutions to problems as the space in the mind can make room for clarity. You may have thoughts or memories arise which may be pleasant and joyful or painful or disturbing.

You will likely experience many physical effects from tingling, feeling hot or cold, a dry throat, dizziness, and tetany (muscle spasms). You may yawn like you´ve never yawned before as your body releases tension from the jaw. Your eyes may water like tears falling as your body lets go of tension and even deeply stored trauma from your body.

Emotional effects can be anything from grief and sadness to elation and ecstatic joy. Whatever emotion arises is an invitation to be present with it, without judging or analysing it. It will pass, be released and free the body from tension.

Whether or not you are a spiritual person, it is possible to have spiritual effects as you may experience visualisations and a connection to your higher self.

Of course, it is also possible to experience none of these effects at all! That is ok too.

What are the contraindications to practising Conscious Connected Breathing?

Conscious Connected Breathing is powerful. The effects can also be powerful. Although breathing is something natural to everyone, Conscious Connected Breathing is NOT for everyone.

Do not practise CCB if you have bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy or any recent injuries or trauma to the lungs, heart, or abdomen.

It is recommended to avoid CCB if you have an aneurysm, heart condition, brain stroke, blood pressure extremes, lung conditions (including Long Covid), and glaucoma. It is also recommended to avoid it if under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It is best to avoid CCB if you are in early or unstable pregnancy due to the potential risks this puts on the foetus.

If you choose to practise CCB with any of the above contraindications, please breathe slowly and through the nose rather than inhaling through the mouth to reduce the effects on the body.

What happens in the body when you breathe?

The autonomic nervous system regulates certain body processes including breathing. Inhaling and exhaling work automatically without conscious effort.

As you breathe in, the diaphragm muscle contracts and pulls down, creating more space in the chest cavity for the lungs to expand. As the lungs are expanding, the air is inhaled through the nose (preferably) or mouth, down the windpipe and into your lungs and air sacs (alveoli).

Then a process of gas exchange occurs through a very thin wall in the air sacs. Oxygen diffuses into the blood vessels and haemoglobin (red blood cells) carries oxygen to the heart and other organs to fuel the body. At the same time, carbon dioxide (CO2), the body´s waste gas, diffuses from the blood cells into the air sacs.

As you breathe out, the diaphragm relaxes and moves upwards towards the chest cavity, thus reducing the space in the chest cavity and forcing the CO2 out of the lungs through the nose or mouth.

All of this is done through no conscious effort at all. It is all handled by the autonomic nervous system as described in this simple and educational video.

How long will it be before I see benefits from practising breathing techniques?

Some benefits can be experienced immediately through the practice of simple breathing techniques. For example:

  • To calm the intensity of emotions such as anxiety, fear, or panic, breathing techniques that lengthen the exhalation can down-regulate the nervous system to a place of calm within minutes.
  • On the other hand, to sharpen focus and concentration, there are breathing techniques that up-regulate the nervous system to help you become present and alert.
  • To help with sleep, breathing techniques can calm a racing mind providing peace and ease to fall asleep and have a deeper sleep.
  • To release emotional, physical and mental tension, shifts and benefits can be experienced through the deep breathing technique of Conscious Connected Breathing.

For long-term dysregulated breathing symptoms, such as snoring, mouth breathing, and sleep apnea, the length of time before seeing benefits depends on many factors – your baseline respiratory rate, body oxygen level test score and the consistency and regularity of practising breathing techniques.

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