What is the Trager Approach?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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The Trager Approach is a type of bodywork and movement therapy developed by Dr. Milton Trager (1908-1997). It involves a two part practice: a passive session, usually carried out on a massage table, and an active session, known as Mentastics. Trager is designed to free the body, loosen up areas of tension, and improve the client's state of mind and physical well-being. Trager practitioners train under certified Trager instructors at workshops and classes all over the world.

The passive session requires the client to lie on a padded massage table, dressed for comfort and draped if needed. Because Trager involves a lot of movement and alignment of the body, most Trager therapists prefer that their clients wear loose, comfortable clothing. At the beginning of the session, the therapist takes a moment to meditate, clearing his or her mind so that the focus is on the body of the client. Then the therapist works with the client's body, gently massaging areas of tension and moving the limbs of the body in a natural way. The movements of Trager are designed to ultimately increase flexibility, reduce tension, and free the mind and body.


Mentastics involves replicating the free and easy movements that the client experienced during the passive session. Clients can work one on one with a therapist to develop a Mentastics session, or they can take group classes where an instructor will lead students through a series of excercises. Mentastics are designed to be incorporated into the client's own daily practice, recalling the experience that the client has on the table.

By combining passive table sessions and Mentastics, clients experience a sense of freedom, well being, and flexibility. The tension released by Trager sessions allows the client's body to move more easily, and also improves quality of life. Because Trager is a very gentle and individualized type of bodywork, it is suitable for a wide range of clients including the disabled and the elderly. Many disabled clients benefit from the increased physical freedom which is often the result of Trager sessions.

Trager sessions can last from 60-90 minutes, although most therapists prefer that clients start out with a 90 minute session. Like other types of bodywork, Trager is more effective if clients attend multiple sessions, taking at least one a month. The Mentastics personal practice is designed to be integrated into daily life for long lasting results.


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