Why they Call it Blood Pressure by Canadian doctor and author Gabor Mate -- advisory board member

Many CBC listeners were chagrined to learn last week that radio personality Shelagh Rogers is taking a break from her national morning program, Sounds Like Canada.   Although Ms. Rogers is rumored to be exhausted from hassles with CBC management, the ebullient radio host insisted, “It is not a stress leave. It is because I have high blood pressure."

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THE REASONING FOR SEASONING, more by Preeti Sharan, clinical dietition

Spices have been around for centuries and yet the Western diet is still adjusting to Tabasco, Chipotle and Curry. There is indisputable scientific evidence that almost all spices contain chemicals that have profound health benefits, thus protecting the body from numerous grave illnesses and in many cases acting as an efficient treatment for established diseases.

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KEEP YOUR GUT HEALTH by Ashlar medical dietition, Preeti Sharan

Which organ in the body has 100 million neurons and the greatest amount of the nerve transmitter serotonin?

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From the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma- stories

Why Stories?

Why Stories? Catastrophic life experiences such as those associated with the refugee experience, torture, and natural disasters, have long lasting effects on the survivor. Some of these events are linked to the historical memory of an entire nation or a society. Almost everyone throughout the world can associate some historical meaning with the cities of Hiroshima, Pompei; the date of September 11, 2001; the name Nelson Mandela. Other traumatic life experiences caused by human cruelty may remain hidden for centuries; maybe forever. Little is known, for example, of the suffering of those women raped during the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, or the fate of children in Afghanistan left homeless and without parents.

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trauma after medical events

Recently I picked up a couple of Diane Ackerman's books.  First  was: One Hundred Words for Love which is about her encounter with the potential and real devastation of strokes. In this case, it was her husband who had the stroke and what struck me was the obvious psychological trauma; hers and her husbands.  Trauma causing medical events is not a new subject for this site but I couldn't resist  reviewing the book here because it is so touching, real and grounded in solid understanding both psychologically (her own)  and of the literal brain. Ackerman had a deep understanding about  brain function from researching and writing an earlier book: An Alchemy of Mind.  Being a brain function freak, I began my reading with An Alchemy of Mind -- a lyrical treatment of often dry research, her book is rich and rife with metaphor.  For me, as both a poet and a traumatologist,  it was a much needed break into the poetic world. I recommend going along with Diane Ackerman on her exploration. 

Probiotics for depression?

Depression and gut bacteria.  Hmmm. Connection?  Yes.  This and much more in Scientific American Brain: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-neuroscience-of-gut...

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Post Traumatic Stress Injury and Unnecessary Suicide

While I was frying potatoes for dinner the other night,  there was a report on the news that a well known Iraqi vet had killed himself.  This was a man who for years had helped so many of his buddies manage symptoms of PTSD while suffering himself. The operative word here is “manage” symptoms. Methods that cure or relieve symptoms of PTSD are not yet highly known and yet are short term and easily applied by a trained lay person. Without this knowledge, what is left is managing symptoms.

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Who We Are

                  

We make art in order not to die from the truth.

Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts is a U.S. 501c3 non-profit arts organization designed to serve the personal story and address the trauma it may contain. Our work is educational and skills driven -- grounded in thirty years of community based experience.

We use photos, interviews, and teach guided writing (Writing Through the Body).  For those people for whom revealing identity is unsafe, we use multi-media memorial building to contain and share the story in an abstract or symbolic form. Our goal is Witnessing and facilitating the creation of a coherent narrative for our students toward well-being and resilience. 

Following from our initial work with Story, we collaborate with students to create a culturally relevant Self-Care program facilitated by them and supervised when necessary by skilled professionals.

We invite you to invite us to your community.