Beginning in 1927, Milton Trager, M.D., developed this intuitive approach to
movement reeducation that uses a method of gentle, rhythmical touch combined
with a series of movement exercises. Although the techniques are very different
from Feldenkrais work, the purpose is largely the same: to help the client
recognize and release habitual patterns of tensions that are present in posture
and movement. He established the Trager Institute with Betty Fuller in 1980.
Dr. Trager's approach
uses no specific techniques of movement or massage. Instead
the practitioner is taught to feel how the client is holding his or her body, and by applying carious rocking, pulling,
and rotational movements to the client's head, torso, ad appendages,
the therapist gently loosens tense muscles and stiff joints. Dr.Trager
believes that the unconscious mind will always mimic movements
that result in an improved sense of pleasure and freedom.
Mentastics is a term
coined by Dr. Trager to mean "mental gymnastics." These exercises
are free-flowing, dance like movements designed to increase
awareness of how the body moves for the purpose of learning
how to move more effortlessly. An exercise may be as simple
as letting the arms or legs drop to one side or the other,
or adding a small shaking or swinging motion to a foot and
leg while walking. Dr. Trager designed the exercises to reinforce
the relaxation awareness established from the hands-on bodywork.
Dr. Trager takes a particular interest
in applying his approach to people suffering from severe neuromuscular
disturbances resulting from injury, disease, and aging, including disorders
such as polio, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis. In addition, many
athletes have found that the work has increased their efficiency of movement
and stamina. To date, over seven thousand people have been trained in
Trager's techniques, with nine hundred currently certified practitioners
$100.00 per hour.