Trager Questions & Answers


How do the rhythmical movements of the Trager Approach help to relieve stress?

You know the difference between your relaxed state and your up-tight state, but you’ve lost what it feels like to be even more relaxed. You’ve incorporated into your body image a great deal of tension that has come to feel natural to you. The gentle, rhythmical movements of the tablework and the Mentastics can help you recover that lost feeling of what it was like to be relaxed in the way you were as a young child—not all at once, but progressively. It’s like peeling off the layers of an onion—as you go deeper and deeper, recovering that lost sense of yourself, as the rhythmical movements create wave-like shimmerings that resonate through the body and have a loosening and lightening effect on both the body and mind.


How does the Trager Approach feel so deep, and yet feel so gentle and pleasurable, and also relieve pain?

All of the muscles of the body are attached to bones, including the deepest muscles.  So, as the trunk and arms and legs are moved rhythmically, these muscles are invited, and even seduced, to let go.  It’s not necessary, as with massage techniques, to penetrate through more superficial muscles to reach the deepest muscles to induce relaxation. Consequently, it does not involve the pain associated with deep tissue massage, and yet it is effective in releasing the tension and pain in even the deepest muscles, and the relaxation created is more penetrating and integrative of mind and body.

Trager is never intrusive or forceful, rather it is more indirect in the way that it induces a progressive unwinding in the tension patterns, resulting in more effective transfer of the new feelings to your movements in everyday living.


How will Mentastics help me save energy and obtain more rest?

One way you use excess energy is by putting too much effort into what you do—you tend to try too hard. Mentastics can help you to learn to do the most with the least effort.  One of the two basic principles of Mentastics is to allow the movements to happen. Milton Trager insists that you do not try, because to try is an effort and effort creates tension.

Another way that you use excess energy is by maintaining unnecessary tension in your muscles during periods of rest.  Unfortunately there is no convenient switch to turn on and off, as there are for electrical currents to light bulbs and electrical appliances. But Mentastics  offer a very effective way to release your muscles after a period of exertion, e.g. after you’ve carried a heavy load up the stairs or after you’ve gotten up from working at  a computer. This is important if you are to achieve maximum rest and restore your energy for the next period of exertion. This is absolutely critical to avoid chronic tension and pain, as well as to obtain a truly restful night of sleep.  If you go to bed with tension and wake up with stiff and achy muscles and joints. Doing Mentastics before going to bed helps you achieve maximum rest during sleep and minimize the stiffness and pain you experience upon arising.


Can Mentastics help me experience more pleasure in everyday living?

Mentastics can be a tool for transforming rigid, clumsy movements into flowing and pleasurable movements.  The feeling of grace and openness can be developed through Mentastics. You can derive much pleasure from movements that are graceful.

For those who seek a more profound transformation of their lives, delving deeply into the Trager principles and integrating them into your daily life offer a powerful way to that.


How do Mentastics help the athlete or anyone involved in strenuous physical activity?

Mentastics can balance and counteract the strenuous effects of weight lifting, jogging and other physical activities. One can create a simple, light feeling within oneself, so that less energy expenditure is required in the activity.

Mentastics can aid in developing a responsiveness and integration between the mind and body, preparing and warming the body for more vigorous activity, relaxing the mind, preventing injuries, maintaining the position and condition of a flexible body/mind, and promoting self–awareness.


When one ‘hooks-up’ with the energy force that surrounds us all, then one comes into a finer state of being. It is a feeling deeper than relaxation. The feeling is Peace. Hook-up creates a flow and a rhythm. Hook-up is like meditation…like basking in a vast ocean of pleasantness.
— Milton Trager

How do Mentastics compare with Yoga and Tai Chi?

Like Yoga and Tai Chi, Mentastics is a meditative approach. Trager emphasizes that 'Hook-up' is the first and most important principle of Mentastics.

It’s something of a paradox that movement can be a powerful means of finding stillness. Doing Mentastics can take you to that place within, where it is very, very still—a place where you can be most yourself, and feel most at home and one with all that exists—a place of peace.


How can I learn Mentastics? 

Individual instruction is provided in the context of a tablework session with myself or other certifiedTrager Practitioners. Individual sessions can also be devoted exclusively to Mentastics. I’m also available for group instruction for a single session of anywhere from an hour to a day, or for a series of one hour sessions.


Are there resources available online about the Trager Approach?

Numerous free articles, videos and podcasts are available under the Video/Articles tab of the United States Trager Association (USTA) website. The articles include specific articles about Trager related to Athletics, Dance, Chronic Pain and Illness, Spinal Pain, Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple Dystrophy, Pilates, Stress & Aging, Travel, TMJ, Headaches, Fibromyalgia, along with some general articles.

Under the Retail tab of the USTA website, Audrey Mairi’s audio CD, Pathway to Presence, along with several DVDs and other useful aids are available for sale. Also available there are new copies of the reprinted edition of Trager Mentastics:  movement as a way to agelessness  by Milton Trager, MD and a lovely little book, Trager®: a Question of Ease.

On Amazon, two superb books are available (with free shipping) by Audrey Mairi, Trager for Self-Healing: A Practical Guide for Living in the Present Moment and Pathway to Presence: The Trager Approach as a Way of Living.  Used copies of Trager Mentastics:  movement as a way to agelessness are also available there.

On YouTube, there are additional videos, including:  Hookup clip from Mentastics with Milton  (9:56)   Trager & Parkinson’s  (32:42) with Italian subtitles


All quotes are italicized and taken with permission from Trager Mentastics: movement as a way to agelessness by Milton Trager, M.D.