Trager Massage Approach
"Is it Truly a New or Modern Approach to Bodywork and Movement Therapy?"

This Article Posted  8/2/16

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Trager Massage Approach has been described as a relatively new branch of bodywork.  If Milton Trager was said to be part of a graduating class of Pioneers who focused on the body's well-being through bodywork, emotion and movement education?  His classmates would be Moshe Feldenkrais, Judy Aston, and Frederick Mathias Alexander.  To complete our hypothetical class we could include a few members who were also interested in Somatic and Emotional concepts with a little less emphasis on movement re-education theories. They would be Ida Rolf, Joseph Heller, Marion Rosen, Ilana Rubenfield, Ron Kurtz and Tom Bowen.  Yes, there are more who could easily have been mates in our imaginary class.

We tend to consider this broad generational class of creative innovators as modern because the bulk of their collective efforts fall between the1920's to the late 1970's.  Over 50 years of passionate practice, healing and teaching.  A millennial would most likely consider this group ancient. Yet we fondly remember and appreciate them as modern innovators of Touch, Movement, and Emotional Based Therapy. 

We could simply say a reverence for Mind, Body, and Spirit.  As we do so we cross the boundary of time and space, awakening to a greater understanding of mankind's universal consciousness.  When watching Milton perform some of his loosening and body & mind releasing movements, one can see a remote similarity to ancient movements from traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda medicine.  These cultural based healing traditions could never have imagined how far humanity would go to disconnect the body from the mind.

Trager Massage Approach: Who is Milton Trager
an Interview from 1986 part One

It has been thirty years since Rosemary Broccoli interviewed Milton Trager. Yet his ideas, words, and practices are so very relevant today. We still have so much to learn from Milton and his Classmates.  Intuition connects us to our higher selves and the universal energies that surround us. 

What is the Trager Massage Approach?  It may be more appropriate to call his work a holistic therapy or bodywork.  It has been described as one of the least invasive forms of bodywork.  It is a practice that gives us permission and allows us to find that blissful joy in the movement we all once had as infants and toddlers.

Trager Massage Approach: Who is Milton Trager
an Interview from 1986 part Two

The Trager Approach begins with table work that incorporates soft motion; jostling and rhythmic movement intended to allow the mind and body to free itself of previous experiences and beliefs. The client wears minimal clothing to their level of comfort.  The practitioner moves rhythmically with the purpose of generating the sensation of free and fluid motion from within the body.

The second part of a Trager session incorporates movements that are referred to as Mentastics or mental gymnastics.  The goal of the 60 to 90-minute movement session is to remove physical and emotional blocks. Thereby improving the individual's energy level, mobility, and mental state.  The following video by practitioner Larry Zwolinski is an outstanding example of the Trager  Massage Approach.

Trager Massage Approach
with Larry Zwolinski

To truly understand Milton Trager's gift to us today we need to grasp the significance of his movement process "Mentastics".  The Trager practitioner helps to develop a movement routine that benefits the client and is reproducible by the client on their own at home.  The goal of practicing movement daily is to help the individual feel freer and joyful while experiencing improved mobility.

Trager Massage Approach: Mentastics

This first video on mentastics is a continuation of the series produced in 1986 on Dr. Milton Trager's life work. In this short clip, Dr. Trager describes what Mentastics is to him and gives a small demonstration.  The movements that Milton began using at the age of 18 helped to open, unwind and free his body's ability to move around his environment free of limitations and pain. Milton was born with a congenital spinal deformity that left him weak until he moved purposely and healed his own mobility. 

Trager Massage Approach: Mentastics

The next video was produced by N Bayfield a Trager Practitioner.  It describes the process of the Trager Approach from a current perspective in the 21st Century.  Bayfield explains the Trager Approach concerning mental conditioning and gymnastic movement.  The focus of the method is to bring conscious awareness to how the body feels as a result of performing the movements.

References and Resources

(1) "The Bodywork Tree:Exploring The Bounty Of Bodywork" By Karrie Osborn;Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2008. Copyright 2008, Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals.




(5) Video 1 YouTube Uploaded on Dec 2, 2010

Part 1 - Interview with the late Dr. Milton Trager describing "The Trager® Approach". Rosemary Broccoli, M.A., C.A.S. works with individuals and couples providing spiritual counseling and relationship coaching.

Category Education License Standard YouTube

(6) Video 2 YouTube Uploaded on Dec 2, 2010

Part 2 - Interview with the late Dr. Milton Trager describing "The Trager® Approach". Rosemary Broccoli, M.A., C.A.S. works with individuals and couples providing spiritual counseling and relationship coaching.

Category Education License Standard YouTube License

(7) Video 3 a YouTube

Published on Apr 28, 2014

Larry Zwolinski is a Certified Practitioner of the Trager Approach and a Licensed Massage Therapist in Evanston, Illinois.
or 847-409-3791

The Trager Approach is moving the body in easy natural ways to provide opportunities for space, freedom and openness. As the client lies comfortably on a padded table, deep long standing patterns in the body's tissues begin to unwind. These patterns come from traumas, postures or other incidents experienced by the client.
Clients receiving this work report wonderful feelings of mobility, lightness and peace.


Category People & Blogs License Standard YouTube License

(8) Uploaded on Dec 2, 2010

An excerpt from the 1986 introduction to the Trager® Approach, highlighting the Mentastics® aspect of the work. This show Dr. Trager doing a movement sequence.

Category Education License Standard YouTube License

(9) Published on Jul 2, 2015

TRAGER is an approach to easier movement based on massage-like moves and self-treatment moves. The moves are a type of movement meditation and allow the mind to focus on sensing. Benefits include more comfortable movement, hightened awareness and release of stress.

Category Film & Animation License Standard YouTube License Music

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