The cause of essential (low-frequency) tremor is unknown and its relation to physiological (high-frequency) tremor is unclear. We assessed essential tremor in one patient before and after a stereotactic thalamic lesion. The procedure changed the size of the tremor in the right hand but not in the left. Persistence of a low-frequency component suggested that essential tremor was an additional feature superimposed on physiological tremor in this patient. The focus of essential tremor seems to be an autonomous central generator that is independent of physiological tremor mechanisms.