TRAGER THERAPY Overview Information
Trager therapy is a form of massage (body work) that involves rhythmic touch and movement exercises. The goal of the treatment is to generate positive feelings that connect mind and body, resulting in relaxation, better mobility, and a clearer mind.
Trager therapy is used to treat pain, headache, stress, fatigue, and lung disease; and to reduce muscle rigidity in people with Parkinson's disease.
Trager therapy involves two aspects. The first aspect is referred to as “table work.” The patient lies on a table and the Trager therapy practitioner applies rhythmic movements. Before touching or applying the movements to the patient, the practitioner enters into a meditative state that is referred to as “hook-up.” Practitioners believe that this places them in touch with a vibratory energy or life energy or “qi.”
The second aspect is called “Mentastics.” This involves individual movements or “self-care” movements. Patients receive training individually or in groups on how to conduct these movements.
Trager therapy was developed by Milton Trager, MD (1908-1997). Trager first developed his approach while training as a boxer in Chicago. It wasn't until many years later that he attended medical school in Mexico and graduated in 1955.
In 1980, the Trager Institute was founded to train and certify practitioners in Trager therapy. Some practitioners of Trager therapy are massage therapists or physical therapists. However, there is no consistent standard for training or licensure of Trager therapy practitioners.
How does it work?
Practitioners of Trager therapy believe that this approach improves the mind/body connection, resulting in relaxation, improved physical functioning, and improved mental clarity. However, there is no scientific support for this.
- Pain. Developing research suggests that receiving 10 Trager therapy treatments over a 5-week period can reduce ongoing shoulder pain in people who use a wheelchair due to spinal cord injury.
- Headache. There is some early evidence that Trager therapy can significantly reduce headache frequency and medication use in people with recurrent headaches.
- Lung disease. Some early research suggests that Trager therapy can improve some measures of airflow in people with lung disease. However, lung patients receiving Trager therapy do not report that breathing seems easier.
- Parkinson's disease. There is some evidence that Trager therapy might help reduce muscle rigidity in people with Parkinson's disease.
- Other conditions.