Who was Milton Trager, M.D.?
The following brief bio was not based on the carefully researched and fascinating book on Milton's life, "Moving Medicine," by Jack Liskin, issued in late 96, but I believe it is essentially correct.
NOTE: In January, 1997, Milton Trager died. He would have been 88 in April. His wife, Emily, died a few month later.
Milton was a somatic educator, a specialist in body learning. He belonged to the generation that came after F. Matthias Alexander and included Moshe Feldenkrais and Ida Rolf.
At the time of his death, he lived with his wife Emily in a retirement community in Southern California. Despite a stroke and some related symptoms, he was still active at TRAGER trainings until a few months of his death.
Milton was a gymnast and boxer when he developed this potent way of body learning nearly seventy years ago. His hands-on bodywork started from a chance session he did for his trainer, his self-care movement from a gentling of his gymnastics.
The self-care moves may have started from a gymnastics session at the beach. His brother, Sam, said, "Who can leap the highest?" After some play, Milton was moved to ask. "Who can land the softest?" This sort of inner question or open question helps us get away from outer goals and into body learning.
He started the hands-on work by relieving his father's sciatic pain after his trainer convinced him he had special gifts in his hands. He then began helping people with polio, spasticity, and other physical conditions, and eventually got a degree in physical medicine ( approximately equivalent to physical therapy today). He earned his MD after he returned from World War II with GI benefits.
Milton continued to use The
TRAGER Approach even after he started a medical practice and already had
nearly fifty years experience in using and improving the method before
he developed ways to teach and communicate what he knew to other practitioners.
About twenty years ago, Milton started training others in the approach,
and The TRAGER Institute was started.
I believe The TRAGER Approach emerged from Milton's athletic gifts, from his hands. He trusted himself and did what his hands felt like doing. Except perhaps for the way I felt when he touched me, what I find most impressive about Milton is that he went through physical therapy school and then through medical school and still continued to trust his hands.