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Long Time Resident Dr. Leslie Korn Publishes 2nd Book

December 14, 2012

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Long time Banderas Bay resident Leslie Korn has published her second book, "Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature and the Body."

The book provides a comprehensive approach to the treatment of traumatic stress using natural medicine and was heavily influenced by more than 25 years of her work and study of healing in the Banderas Bay region. Korn read from the book at the PV Writers group in 2010 and soon thereafter found a New York publisher.

Following 12 years of living in Yelapa, where she directed a natural medicine health center, Korn returned to Boston in 1985 to attend Harvard Medical School where she studied and conducted research on public health, psychology, and traditional (indigenous) medicine. Afterwards she returned to Cabo Corrientes and the Bay area where she has worked since 1996.

The book is available at Taylor and Francis and on Amazon. The stunning book cover shows a photograph of the Zalate, the strangler fig that figures as a recurring theme in the book. The photograph was taken by PV resident and photographer, Paul van Vleck.

Hailed by Robert C. Scaer, MD, author of The Body Bears the Burden and The Trauma Spectrum, as a: "...unique review of the historical and cultural roots of trauma. Dr. Leslie Korn presents a thorough review of behavioral, somatic, and nutritional avenues to healing. Her depth of knowledge, clarity of presentation and rich fund of supportive references make this a unique contribution to the literature addressing the understanding and healing of trauma."

Excerpt: I began touching people therapeutically in Mexico when I lived in the jungle beginning in 1973. The first people who came to my palapa, which overlooked the Pacific, did so because they were in pain or they hoped to relax the mental strain that contributed to their insomnia.

Palapas get their name from the coconut palm fronds, which the men cut, and measure, and then drag down the mountain by burro. They weave and tie the fronds to handcrafted ironwood frames, forming a huge straw hat over open space. The roof sways and lifts with the wind, breathing and absorbing moisture like nostrils, mediating the inside and the outside, which often merge during the wet months in the jungle.

I first worked with the Mexican-Indian women whose childbirths I had attended and who, because of the burden of multiple births and relentless work under the sun, often looked more like the mothers of their husbands than their wives. They brought their widely flattened sore feet and muscular shoulders, indented by the iron-like bras that cut deep grooves across the top of the trapezius muscle.

We shared village gossip and they were both honored and amused at my interest in traditional ways of healing. They told me that dried cow dung rubbed on the head cured baldness, and then offered to demonstrate on me. They told me stories they had themselves been told about snakes that lived near the cascadas and were known to be so dexterous that they could unzip your dress, get inside your pants, and get you pregnant. As we got to know each other better, they shared the trauma of their lives and loss of family members to the hardships of the jungle and sea: drownings, tetanus, amoebae exploding the liver, rape, and incest.

The women brought their little ones in when they fell off horses and hit their heads or fell out of hammocks or over the bow of the 40-horse-powered pangas as they hit the beach on an off wave, bruising the ever so tender sacral bone at the base of the spine. The men came in for treatment accompanied by their wives for the first session, just to make sure nothing untoward would take place.

They sought relief for a variety of problems that usually had to do with occupational accidents: diving and the residual effects of too much nitrogen in the blood. Some of the men did not survive. Those who did rarely went diving again, nor did they ever walk the same way again.

One night Ezekiel, an ever-grinning, gold-toothed carpenter, whose wife Ophelia made the best coconut pies in the village, was brought ashore. I was asked to his house where he lay in bed, inert and unable to urinate. I arrived amidst the crowd of neighbors ritually dropping emergency money onto his bed, body, and clothes. No one needed to mention that the delay in reaching the charter medical flight to Acapulco, still an hour's boat ride away over rough, full moon seas, was due to lack of money. And while Zeke's pockets were stuffed, his pants half on, belly exposed, and scarred from previous battles unknown to me, I placed needles in his abdomen according to Chinese tradition to help him relax while he waited...


Dr. Leslie Korn specializes in integrative mind body medicine for the treatment of PTSD and chronic illness. She did her graduate training at Harvard Medical School where she introduced bodywork to the department of psychiatry and conducted ethnobotanical research on Papaya. She began her research in Cabo Corrientes in 1974, and was a 2009-2010 Mexico Fulbright scholar. She currently divides her time between PV and Washington. To learn more about her work, visit DrLeslieKorn.com.

Click HERE to read more articles by Leslie Korn.