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"Hooking Up" to Healing - Good Vibrations

by Harry Dalford and Julie Kingston(more info)

listed in trager, originally published in issue 187 - October 2011

Dr Milton Trager believed that a vital part of the Trager Approach was to Hook Up in 'present moment awareness', to something greater that ourselves. The universal energy that he believed surrounds us all and which he referred to as a "vast ocean of pleasantness" was an important part of his Work. Dr Trager believed that staying in tune and present in a non judgmental questioning frame of mind led to more effective treatments. What Hook Up is, has been much debated in the Trager community. Dr Trager practised Transcendental Meditation with a strong sense of how it was to be in the non verbal, open minded state of present moment awareness.  In 1958 Milton had a conversation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi about his (Milton's) self care mindful movements, which he referred to as Mentastics and the feeling of Hook Up it gave him. The Mahrishi said "It is natural to go the state of greater happiness; whenever you are in Hook-up, you are in the super conscious."

Milton described Hook Up as state of peace which can be projected to the people around you and they will respond to the vibration. He said it was like the measles - you catch it from someone that has it. There was a relationship with the unconscious mind both of client and practitioner.

In today's terms it would probably be called entrainment, that feeling you get of quiet peace in a meditation, yoga or tai chi class. He believed that we lived in a world of energetic vibrations and we all respond to those vibrations. If we can project and cultivate peaceful vibrations, it could be a significant step towards peace in the world. The Trager Approach uses waves and vibrations in the table work and standing work. Modern physics recognizes that waves and vibrations are at the heart of the entire material world.

In 1975 Milton Trager participated in a study of Healers by Dr Thelma Moss using Kirlian photography to show the change in the energy field of during the process of a treatment.

Before kirlian scan
Before Hook Up


After kirlian scan
After Hook Up

Recently in Hartford Connecticut the University decided to conduct research into energy healing which ruled out the Placebo effect. They wanted to see if energy fields generated by the human hand (if they existed) could have an effect at a cellular level. Professor Gloria Gronowicz, a highly respected scientist, designed the study, which lasted over 3 years using a number of different healers; the published results were described by Professor of Medicine MA Chesney of the University of Maryland as an "association that defies explanation with what we currently know".

The experiment was for healers to work with petri dishes of bone, skin and tendon cells and see if they reproduced faster than the control group of lab dishes. The results were that cells grew faster and stronger than both the control which received no human influence and the control that received sham healing. In fact they grew at double the rate and bone cells also absorbed more calcium. Previous studies into healing have been dismissed on the grounds that improvements were due to people believing they felt better, rather than receiving any benefit from the healer, the results being psychological induced or placebo. This led her to ask the question what would happened with cancerous bone cells - would they also be stimulated to quicker growth? Amazingly, the cancerous bone cells didn't grow. The healers had no idea of what the content of the petri dishes were.

Professor Gronowicz concluded that people can have a real effect on bodies and this perhaps explains why people with strong social networks are healthier than isolated individuals. Rather than being purely psychological, perhaps the energetics of human interaction improves health. The study was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.

I studied philosophy at university and also Yogic philosophy, and became interested in the theory that sound lay at the very foundations of the universe, harmonics under-lying matter and perhaps the idea that the universe was 'sung' into existence might have some possibilities. Leonardo da Vinci famously illustrated human proportions and musical ratios which he discovered in an ancient text by Vitruvius. A while ago I came across Cymatics - the patterns formed by differing frequencies. There was an illustration of the pattern of the cell resonance of a turtle, which produced a pattern identical to the turtle's shell. All living things have cells that resonate at certain frequencies; even planets resonate. Mathematical equations produce wonderful patterns if converted to harmonics, particularly the equation for the big bang theory.

Apparently whale song speeded up sounds like bird song and has distinct harmonies and repeating phrases. Also, being interested in drumming and the recent research into the health effects of sound and rhythms, I was wondering if Trager Hook up somehow resonated with the body? The waves that travel through the clients body; what would they sound like?

Anyway, all this got me thinking about Hook Up. Is it a form of energy healing? Is Hook Up and the experience of meditation one and the same thing? That sense of present moment expansion and oneness with the universe, is this meditation or is it Hook Up? Would we all benefit from regular meditation as part of our ongoing development?

Certainly there is mounting evidence for mindfulness as a technique that has proven abilities to improve health. Like Trager, mindfulness pays attention to the sensations in the body helping people to become more aware of their own biofeedback mechanisms.

Does Trager work without Hook Up?  I think it probably does on a physical level, but I know when I have had a massage from someone who was clearly inattentive that it doesn't give the same feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. There seems to be many different thoughts on Hook Up and I wonder what it means to students and practitioners of Trager; some instructors mention it more than others. Some people would rather distance themselves from energy healing concepts.

My opinion is that Dr Trager, back in the 1950s, used the word Hook Up because that is how it felt to him, in the same way some people might say Reiki, spiritual healing, energy healing, chi healing. So is the ability to connect to some deeper part of the brain and some external feeling of oneness an essential part of wellness and healing? I hope more research will happen in these areas.

In Dr Trager's own words:
Hook up is a natural state of being,
Do not make is special or mystical.
For me it is like meditation.
For other it is similar to religion.
It is Peace: It is a perfect state of being.

Milton Trager MD  Trager Mentastics. Movement as a way to agelessness. Trager International. 2008.


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About Harry Dalford and Julie Kingston

Harry Dalford BEng(Hons) IPTI LTP is a former Paratrooper, sky-diver, skin-diver and rock-climber who practises and teaches Aikido. He is a self-employed, Engineer/Surveyor/Builder and practises Trager in the self-built studio he shares with his partner of 15 years Julie Kingston. He is the current Chairman of Trager UK, and is also the Trager UK Newsletter Writer/Editor. He may be contacted via Tel: 01483 894741;            

Julie Kingston BA(Hons) LTP BWY MIPTI MICHT IHHT VTCT became a British Wheel of Yoga Teacher in 1993, went on to study CranioSacral Therapy, Life Coaching, Indian Head Massage and Swedish Massage.  She has two grown-up children and practices Trager and other therapies in her home studio. She is also a partner in a drumming company, Drumheads Live organizing community, education and corporate djembe drumming events. She is currently UK representative and the Trager International vice president on the Council of Trustees of Trager International, and has also served on the TUK Board of Directors. She may be contacted via Tel: 01483 894741;


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