Posts by: Carly Barrett

From Burnout to Balance: Navigating Life’s Stressors Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

   |   By  |  0 Comments

Interview with Beth Romanski, MUIH Director of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE), Integrative Health Coach and PCE Resilience Retreat Facilitator.

What does burnout look like?

“Burnout” was originally categorized as a workplace phenomenon that is a result of chronic workplace stress.  

According to a 2021 survey by Mental Health America, most employees are experiencing the early signs of burnout and 99 percent agreed workplace stress affects their mental health^1, so this is a widespread condition that has expanded to include aspects of both professional and personal life. 

There are various instruments to assess burnout, but generally the three dimensions of burnout are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment.  Behavioral signs can include poor sleep, apathy, feeling isolated, being overly reactive; Emotional signs may be constant anxiety, fear, sadness, and irritability or anger; Cognitive signs can be exhibited by difficulty concentrating and over-analysis or rumination of events; and Physical signs can manifest in pain, chronic health conditions and fatigue. 

All of this can lead to increased mental distance, feelings of negativism or cynicism and reduced professional efficacy in one’s job.

More frequently, particularly during the pandemic, people were experiencing a state of “languishing” – the feeling of meh, bleh, fogginess, emptiness and lack of motivation and general malaise.  

What causes burnout?

There is no one “cause” for burnout – there can be a multitude of systemic conditions within our societal constructs and organizational structures that contribute to burnout.  

Burnout usually occurs from a slow build-up of chronic, unmanageable stress.  However, there is another form of burnout that is caused by work that is unrewarding.  Interestingly, the early signs of burnout are exhibited by excessive ambition, pushing yourself to work harder and neglect of self and personal needs.  

Avoiding Stress Isn’t the Answer…

Everyone responds to stress differently – and not all stress is necessarily “bad” – stress is a reality of life.  Rather than trying to avoid all stress or feeling like a failure if you experience stress, it may be more useful to find ways to understand our individual stress triggers and our limits to manage and adapt to stressful situations more proactively. As an Integrative Health Coach and through the training and coaching programs I facilitate through MUIH PCE, participants are guided to regain a state of equilibrium and ultimately flourishing by setting their individual wellness goals which can cover a wide variety of wellbeing domains (i.e., nutrition/nourishment, movement/physical activity, rest/recovery, play/creativity, self-reflection/spirituality, career/purpose, financial, relationships, environment, etc.).

Avoiding burnout can’t all be placed on the individual; employers need to take responsibility for their employees wellbeing to cultivate a culture of wellness with healthy employees, first by establishing structures that support wellbeing and by modeling healthy behaviors themselves (i.e., not sending work emails to employees on weekends).

How can someone recover from burnout?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health, yet prioritizing your wellbeing is the first step. The term “resilience” is typically associated with bouncing back from stressful situations; but ideally, we can work towards the state of not having to “recover” from a continuous cycle of burnout to develop sustainable and proactive healthy habits. 

Start Where You Are…

This can involve creating your personal “menu” of self-care practices – ranging from 1–15-minute daily practices to longer practices of 1 hour to weekly or monthly.  Many of us feel guilty about prioritizing our health and feel like “self-care” is out of reach – so I prefer to redefine “care of self” to other terms like rejuvenation, renewing, recalibrating, resetting – or even setting healthy boundaries (i.e., not checking work on weekends or saying no to a volunteer project or removing non-essentials off our too full plate). Shifting our perspective focus on what we CAN control – our mindset – can be helpful when things seem overwhelming.  Practicing positive self-talk and self-awareness has been shown to enhance resiliency.  We can make small daily investments in our wellbeing bank, such as eating a healthy meal, prioritizing sleep, not checking work on weekends, playing a game, or getting together with a good friend.  As a Health Coach, I like to focus on progress, not perfection, and to give myself and others self-compassion along the way.  It takes time and practice and may not always be a linear process. If we do our best on any given day and start small with tiny actions, these daily little investments in our health add up to big results. Lastly, seeking support from others can be quite effective in facilitating sustainable behavior change to maintain healthy habits.  This can be friends, family, coworkers, a health coach, or a mental health provider.  We need to realize that taking a step back and realizing your limits is an act of courage and unless you prioritize your life, someone else will.


Ready to Invest in Your Wellbeing?

Download our FREE PCE Resilience Reset Journal and contact the MUIH Office of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) at to discuss a customized Regaining Resilience training program for your team or organization! 

Blog Interview Bio:

Beth Romanski is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach founder of MyHealthyTransitions Health Coaching and Co-Host of the Wellness Warriors Radio podcast and Diplomate of the American Institute of Stress.  Beth is Director of Professional and Continuing Education and adjunct faculty member at Maryland University of Integrative Health, a leading academic institution solely dedicated to integrative health programs.  

Beth understands first-hand the stress of work/life expectations and believes there’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to health.  Beth takes an educational and empowering approach to facilitate positive habits that support holistic wellbeing and sustainable results, with the mindset that “being healthy doesn’t have to be hard.”  


Learn more about MUIH PCE:


Mental Health America. (2021). 2021 Mind The Workplace Report. Alexandria, VA. 

Lucangeli, D. SOS Joy Wanted. Psychiatria Danubina, 2021; Vol. 33, Suppl. 11, pp 42-43.

Five Herbs for Fall

   |   By  |  0 Comments

herbs for fall

Author: Donna Koczaja, MS, RH(AHG) is a Registered Herbalist and a graduate of MUIH’s Herbal Medicine program. She is the owner of Green Haven Living, LLC, where she helps individuals achieve their wellness goals using herbs. She also occasionally helps out at the MUIH Herbal Dispensary – a healing place of its own. Learn more about Donna, what she does, and why she does it at

Fall is underway!

The days and nights are cooler, the air is crisp, and nature is preparing to hunker down for the winter. When I think of “herbs for fall”, I think of roots and seeds, and warm, spicy herbs for the chilly nights.

In the cycle of the seasons, it is natural to correlate roots (and seeds) with autumn – the natural decline of the growing season. This is because the herbaceous parts of plants begin to die down and start to put their energy into fortifying the roots to overwinter and re-emerge in spring. Traditionally, fall is the peak time to harvest root herbs for this reason – their nutrient and medicinal content is maximized at this time.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the root herbs I tend to associate with fall are also warming, spicy, and hearty – just the ticket for those cooler, darker days. To that end, here are 5 herbs that I would consider essential partners as we head into fall:

Ginger root (Zingziber officinalis)

No list of warming, fall root herbs would be complete without ginger. In fact, renowned British herbalist, Simon Mills, often says that if he had to pick only two herbs to use, ginger would be one of them! (Hint: His other go-to herb is at the end of my list!).

Ginger is perhaps best known for its anti-nausea effects. Remember when your Mom gave you ginger ale for an upset stomach? Mild, gentle, and zingy, a warm, ginger tea is quite soothing. Pregnant women sometimes use it for morning sickness, and cancer patients can also benefit.

Not a one-trick pony, ginger also boasts anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is a great febrifuge (induces sweat to help break a fever). And it tastes great!

Burdock root (Arctium lappa)

Continuing with the root theme, burdock is a hearty, earthy herb primarily used to enhance digestion. In particular, burdock root promotes the production and secretion of bile from the liver and gall bladder. Bile is necessary for fat digestion, so it would be useful to have burdock root handy for the Thanksgiving meal and other upcoming holiday festivities. As a bonus, burdock is also helpful in maintaining bowel regularity, and even assisting when bowels are, well, ‘not so regular’.

Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis)
I consider dandelion root a sister herb to burdock, because its medicinal properties are similar. Both the leaves as well as the root are used medicinally (and sometimes even the flower – not just for dandelion wine!), but each plant part has slightly different properties. Sticking to my ‘roots’, though, like burdock, dandelion root also increases bile production and secretion. It’s slightly bitter, and as a general rule bitter herbs enhance digestion by stimulating digestive enzymes. Think about when you taste something very bitter – does your mouth water? That’s actually very good, because saliva breaks down carbohydrates right at the beginning of the digestive tract.

Cardamom seed (Elettaria cardamomum)

The therapeutic part of cardamom is actually the small seeds enclosed in a larger seed pod. It’s classified as an herbal aromatic due to its spicy, warm, and even tingly taste. Yet it’s quite different from ginger (but pairs well!). Cardamom is a common ingredient in herbal chai teas, giving chai that distinctive, spicy flavor. Medicinally, cardamom is considered a ‘carminative’, which is a fancy word meaning ‘relieves gas and bloating’. It helps to relieve spasms in the gut, which in turn breaks up painful gas bubbles. Like burdock, a must-have for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Cinnamon inner bark (Cinnamomum cassia, C. verum)

You guessed it – cinnamon is Simon Mills’ other go-to herb. Not a root or a seed, but an important fall herb nonetheless. Like ginger, it’s spicy and warm, but it’s more sweet. In addition to flavoring your muffins and other delectables, it has a wealth of health benefits. I use cinnamon as a very mild circulatory and/or digestive stimulant, and its mild astringency means it is also indicated for loose bowels. I also use it for my clients who need a little help with regulating their blood sugar. And, of course, like most herbs and spices, cinnamon is also anti-inflammatory. I love the taste of all things cinnamon, and I suggest using it liberally in cooking. In fact, cinnamon is also a natural preservative, so adding it to baked goods can prolong their shelf life as well as make them extra tasty!

Why I love these herbs for Fall

These are just 5 of my favorite herbs for fall. All are very safe for regular, daily use, and are very easy to find. Many health food stores have bulk herbs at reasonable prices – buy some and try blending your own teas to taste. Root, seed, and bark herbs are best simmered in a covered pot over direct heat for about 20 minutes before straining and enjoying.

Powders are great to sprinkle on your oatmeal, yogurt, or applesauce. Just keep in mind that burdock and dandelion roots are slightly bitter. But it’s well worth the taste – the bitter is actually what makes these herbs so effective!

Finally, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom are also wonderful additions to fall-favorite baked goods such as pumpkin breads and muffins. Add a therapeutic punch to your autumn traditions!

Steps to Getting Your Ayurveda Certification Online

  |   By  |  0 Comments

Developed over 3,000 years ago in India, Ayurveda is among the world’s oldest forms of healing. The belief system behind Ayurveda is holistic and straightforward: To achieve and maintain wellness, one must first balance the mind, body, and spirit. An Ayurvedic wellness practitioner does not seek to treat any condition, but rather to support overall health through a combination of mental health, herbal medicine, yoga, nutrition, and personal transformation. Interesting in getting your ayurveda certification online?

In the United States and other western countries, Ayurveda is classified as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Like acupuncture and massage therapy, Ayurveda is gaining acceptance as healthcare institutions continue researching its efficacy as a form of preventative medicine. If you’re passionate about Ayurveda and interested in practicing it, you should consider ayurveda certification online and follow these steps. 

#1 Learn About Ayurveda Certification Online

Although there is a National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), there are no licensing requirements in the United States in order to practice Ayurvedic medicine. However, you may need a business license if you plan to start your own practice. If you wish to work under another practice, like an integrative healthcare clinic, you may need to gain some experience as an apprentice before you can start seeing patients of your own. 

#2 Choose Your Degree Program

You can choose to earn a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Ayurvedic Wellness Practices to learn a solid foundation in modern Ayurvedic practices. You can also choose to start your learning in a short-term training program through our Professional and Continuing Education courses, or you can pursue your Bachelor of Science in Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery from one of the specialty Ayurveda schools in India. Most western students choose one of the former options and, upon successful completion, you’ll earn a certificate and have a solid foundation for becoming an Ayurvedic wellness practitioner.

The MUIH Ayurvedic Wellness Practices program is rooted in the traditional system, but incorporates a progressive scientific perspective and clinical study to explain how Ayurveda can improve a patient’s lifestyle and wellness through nutrition, yoga, the mind-body system, and other techniques. By the end of the program, you will be prepared to help patients achieve and maintain functional health and apply Ayurvedic principles to enhance their wellbeing.  

At MUIH, you can obtain your post-baccalaureate certificate through a completely online degree program, which offers convenience no matter where you are in the world. The program starts in the fall and lasts two trimesters.

#3 Plan Your Career Path in Ayurveda

As you begin on the path to earning your certificate as an Ayurvedic professional, you need to spend time planning your career path. With a certificate, you can choose to start your own practice, join an existing practice, work in the context of modern medicine at a hospital, become part of an integrative healthcare clinic or use the knowledge in conjunction with your other healthcare services.

At a clinic, you’ll work alongside other CAM practitioners (like massage therapists and acupuncturists) to offer complementary services to patients. The great thing about an integrative healthcare clinic is that it allows you to share expenses and patients with other practitioners, which creates a collaborative, supportive work environment. 

If you plan to open your own practice, you’ll want to look into local licensing requirements for owning a business and study up on business law and tax reporting requirements. Most Ayurvedic practitioners who plan to run their own clinic will pursue some form of business course or education to help prepare them for the administrative side of healthcare. 

Ready to Get Started? 

Aside from a clinical setting, you can pursue a career as an ayurvedic wellness counselor, instructor, or researcher once you obtain your Ayurveda certification online. In truth, the possibilities are endless. Some students even pursue other certificates or degrees in tandem, allowing them to offer multiple holistic services to patients.

If you’re interested, the Maryland University of Integrated Health has multiple programs to choose from. So, if you want to take the next step and earn your online ayurveda degree, consider the MUIH Ayurveda Certificate. In just six months, you can get on the path to a life-changing career. 


Is learning ayurveda online effective?

Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to healing by focusing on the mind, body, and spirit. Because of this unique approach, Ayurvedic practices can be easily taught via online instruction. A combination of textbook learning, videos, live seminars, and illustrations allows students to effectively learn the principles of traditional Ayurveda from the convenience of their home. 

How to study ayurvedic medicine

Ayurvedic medicine is best studied through a structured training program, like the MUIH post-baccalaureate certificate program. With an experienced instructor and robust lesson plan, students will learn integral details from traditional Ayurvedic medicine alongside the progressive scientific understanding of key principles and techniques. 

How to become a certified ayurvedic practitioner

While there is no certification or licensing requirements to become an ayurvedic practitioner, graduates of the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Ayurvedic Wellness Practices program are eligible for certification as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant with the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA)

How Do I Get into a Career in Ayurveda?

   |   By  |  0 Comments

Holistic medicine is increasing in popularity, making it ideal for venturing into a new career opportunity. Some therapies like Ayurveda are among the most ancient of treatments and help people with a range of problems across the globe. But where do you start, and how do you study for a career in Ayurveda? Here’s how to begin the journey.

Research the Subject

If you thought Ayurveda was a treatment in a beauty salon, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Ayurvedic medicine is thousands of years old and entrenched in history and culture. It’s essentially a science of its own. If you aspire to work in Ayurveda careers, start researching the subject to know what is involved. In particular, start looking into the training required and how you can get qualified.

Become a Qualified Practitioner

If you want to get into the field of Ayurveda, it is important to train as a practitioner and get a recognized qualification. Furthermore, it is essential to make sure your training and qualification are recognized professionally, especially if you want to develop your career in Ayurveda. Investing time in an education program for a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate will not only give you the qualifications you need but will help you network with others connected to the specialty. Researching courses and degrees is vital if you are looking at becoming an ayurvedic practitioner. Graduates of the program are eligible for certification as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant with the Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA).

Use Ayurveda in Your Life

If you want to get into the field of Ayurveda, one of the best ways to learn and develop is to embed the Ayurvedic lifestyle into your everyday life. There are nutritional guidelines, for example, so practicing the dietary traditions will help you develop and reflect on supporting clients in your career. Your health will also get the benefit of using Ayurvedic medicine nutritionally. Do also look for education programs that include modules in nutrition so you can grow your portfolio as you develop your career in Ayurveda.

Don’t Forget Your Existing Experience.

Some people bring experience from an existing career pathway to Ayurveda. All this life experience helps build holistic careers and businesses in the ayurvedic industry. For example, if you have worked in conventional healthcare, you’ll understand illnesses and have good communication skills. You can work in integrated health with holistic physicians and combine specialties too. Working in administration will have equipped you to write business plans and keep records in good shape. Wherever you have worked before, there will be elements of the work that are transferable to the field of Ayurveda.

Write a Business Plan for a Career in Ayurveda

If you plan to develop a career in Ayurvedic principles, write a plan so you can see the steps you need to take to get there. You need to include financial details to work out course fees, how much you need to save, where your clients will come from, advertising plans, and where to practice. Once you have a plan, you can map your progress, and it will focus your attention on building your career as an Ayurveda practitioner and business success.

Network with Others

Networking is vital when starting a new career, especially with a specialty like Ayurveda. When you start meeting others, you can learn from their experiences and share skills. For example, by reaching out to existing practitioners, you could find someone willing to allow you to get some practical experience. As you develop your career, there are opportunities for business partnerships, diversifying, and working in niche areas. Professional online forums with ayurvedic practitioners are another example of networking and learning. Networking with others helps you progress in your chosen field and enables you to ask yourself is Ayurveda a promising career.

Remember to Learn Continually

With Ayurvedic education, your learning opportunities don’t stop once you have finished studying for your qualifications. There is always something new to learn, such as expanding your specialty to integrate ayurvedic nutrition into everyday lifestyle habits or teaching. Working with massage therapists is another opportunity. Look for conferences and seminars to learn new ways of working and update your skills. Again, there is always something new to learn as you progress with Ayurvedic health. MUIH has a fantastic resource for Professional and Continuing Education

Stepping into the world of Ayurveda is an exciting journey and one that will help many other people in addition to your career development. Getting a credible qualification is vital to work professionally and grow your career creatively. Take that first step by reaching out to us today to discuss complementary and alternative medicine and our Ayurveda program.

Overcoming Burnout and Building Resilience

   |   By  |  0 Comments

overcoming burnout

What does burnout resemble?

It is increasingly common to hear the word burnout among friends or colleagues. We have heard expressions such as “I’m about to have a break down”; “Today I feel burned out!”; “I quit my job because I was burned out”, among others, and we have wondered what people are trying to express or mean behind the word “burnout”.

The term “burnout” is understood as a consequence of chronic stress and is often related to disappointment, exhaustion, fatigue, over-stress, lack of passion, feeling in the wrong place, a type of suffering that can easily lead to impulsive decisions, complaining or a constant negative attitude.  

Professionals on burnout

In reference to the meaning of the word “burnout”, we can find quotes from famous people such as the Dalai Lama, who says: “When dealing with those who are suffering a lot, if you feel burnout setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is better, for everyone’s sake, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.”

Another interesting quote found is from Marissa Mayer, who was very influential in the development of Google, she mentioned, “I have a theory that burnout has to do with resentment. And you overcome it by knowing what it is that you’re giving up that makes you resentful.”

Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time commented, “Burnout occurs, not because we are trying to solve problems, but because we have been trying to solve that problem over and over again.”

It is easy for everyone to construct a definition of burnout based on his or her own experience. However, psychologist Herbert J. Freudenberger, who was one of the first to develop a comprehensive study of “burnout”, defined it as a “state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by professional life, a consequence of severe stress.”

How do we know if we have burnout?

How can we know if we suffer from burnout? Burnouts manifest in different manners and there are different signs that allow us to identify them. Behavioral signs can include poor sleep, apathy, feeling isolated, and being overly reactive. Emotional signs may be constant anxiety, fear, sadness, and irritability or anger; difficulty concentrating, and over-analysis or rumination of events can exhibit Cognitive signs; and Physical signs can manifest in pain, chronic health conditions, and fatigue. Early signs of burnout are over-ambition, striving for more work, and neglect of self-care and personal needs.

All of this can lead to increased mental distance, feelings of negativism or cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy in one’s job.

What causes burnout?

There is no single “cause”, but burnout usually results from a slow accumulation of chronic, unmanageable stress. Chronic stress is the accumulation of micro-stressors, some examples are traffic jams during the commute to work, arguments with a partner, implicit bias and discrimination, unrealistic deadlines, negative comments from the boss, social media, TV news, overflowing email inbox, back-to-back Zoom meetings, insensitive comments, difficult conversations, chronic back pain, unexpected bills to pay, and many others.

Stress can be ambiguous and its meaning or what it represents may be different for each person, but stress can be defined as a “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension,” or “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources that the individual is able to mobilize.”

In our daily lives, we must deal with stressful and demanding situations. That is why, instead of trying to avoid stress, we must learn to find its triggers in order to better adapt and respond to stressful situations in a more proactive way.

Employers must take equal responsibility for the well-being of their employees and must address stress in the workplace. They must create an environment that reduces stress and provide their employees with tools to learn how to engage in healthier behaviors at work.

According to Harvard Business Review, there are 6 causes of burnout, or areas where you might experience imbalances such as workload (feeling overloaded), lack of control (lack of autonomy, access to resources), rewards (whether they match your amount of effort), community (how supportive the relationships around you are), fairness (receiving fair treatment), and values (similar to your leaders).

What is resilience?

We all have different coping mechanisms to deal with difficult situations or times when we have experienced burnout. As we learn more about ourselves and become more aware of how our minds and bodies respond, the positive choices we make will contribute to us developing resilience to stressful situations.

Today, we hear the word “resilience” more often. Sometimes we do not know what it stands for until we experience it. We also wonder what it means and where it applies. The impact of stress compromises health problems such as fatigue, appetite change (overeating/not eating), depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, insomnia, and high blood pressure, as well as other related health problems. When there is a problem, unfortunately, that is the time when we start looking for different health and wellness solutions. The acceptance of wanting to have a healthy lifestyle and live better makes us resilient and is a key factor to start thinking about self-care to improve our health and wellness.

The term “resilience” is bouncing back from stressful situations. Ideally, work towards the state of not having to “recover” from a continuous cycle of burnout. This will help to develop sustainable and proactive healthy habits. Small, specific actions add up to big results.

How can I create resilience?

Shifting our perspective to focus on what we CAN control – our mindset – can be helpful when things seem overwhelming. Practicing positive self-awareness has been shown to improve resilience. We can make small daily investments in our wellness bank, such as eating a healthy meal, prioritizing sleep, not checking work on the weekends, playing games, or meeting up with a good friend.

Focus on progress, not perfection, and give others and ourselves self-compassion along the way. If we try our best daily and start with small actions, these small investments can translate into big results. Finally, seeking support from others can be highly effective in facilitating sustainable behavior change to maintain healthy habits. These can be friends, family, co-workers, a health coach, or mental health professionals. You must realize that taking a step back, being aware of your limits is also an act of courage.


Mental Health America. (2021). 2021 Mind The Workplace Report. Alexandria, VA. Lucangeli, D. SOS Joy Wanted. Psychiatria Danubina, 2021; Vol. 33, Suppl. 11, pp 42-43.

Contributor Bio:

Beth Romanski is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach founder of MyHealthyTransitions Health Coaching and Co-Host of the Wellness Warriors Radio podcast and Diplomate of the American Institute of Stress. She is an adjunct faculty member at Maryland University of Integrative Health, a leading academic institution solely dedicated to integrative health programs.

Beth understands first-hand the stress of work/life expectations and believes there’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to health. She takes an educational and empowering approach to facilitate positive habits that support holistic wellbeing and sustainable results. She believes the mindset that “being healthy doesn’t have to be hard.”

Treating Anxiety Through Nutrition

  |   By  |  0 Comments

Treating Anxiety through Nutrition

Written by By Dr. Ann Ije, ND

What is anxiety? 

According to NIH, anxiety is an ordinary phenomenon that most people go through during difficult periods in their life. There are many life altering situations that can bring about anxiety on any given day for people. Some situations that often bring about anxious feelings are standing in front of a large crowd to recite a speech, driving a highway, taking a very important exam, a job interview, moving to a new location, meeting new people, or making an important decision. The examples of anxiety mentioned above normally occur transiently and the feelings soon disappear. However, the inability to stop worrying or being anxious in the face of fear may point towards a more serious problem. People who suffer from anxiety disorder feel anxious or worried all the time, and that feeling tends to worsen over time. Symptoms relating to anxiety disorder can interfere with daily activities such as schoolwork, job performance, and home life. Keep reading to learn how you can be treating anxiety through nutrition. 

What role do neurotransmitters play in anxiety disorder?

Neurotransmitters play a very important role in the manifestation of anxiety. The three neurotransmitters that are linked to anxiety disorder are serotonin, epinephrine/norepinephrine, and GABA. Low levels of serotonin, which can occur due to heightened emotions can lead to anxiety. When there is too much norepinephrine/epinephrine or “adrenal rush” it can cause symptoms like increased heartbeat and sweating causing one to become increasingly anxious or stressed. Finally, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it down regulates anxiety and associated symptoms, causing one to be less anxious and in a calmer state.   

Nutrition and Anxiety Support 

Now that we discussed what anxiety is and the neurotransmitters involved in anxiety and its regulation, we should discuss how nutrition affects anxiety and how you can be treating anxiety through nutrition. Did you know that 95% of serotonin is found in the gut lining? There seems to be an intimate connection between mood, nutrition, and our digestive tract. An anti-anxiety diet consists of foods containing high amounts of magnesium, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, and B vitamins. Magnesium is a mineral that produces calming effect and can be found in leafy greens such as Swiss chard, spinach, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Oysters, cashews, and egg yolks are some examples of zinc containing foods. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and other nuts and seeds may provide an anxiety reducing effect. Probiotics in kefir, yogurt, and miso, and kimchi help feed the gut microbiome which supports overall gut health. Lastly, avocados and almonds are a great source of B vitamins.

These food recommendations are not meant to deter anxiety sufferers from using medications as treatments, but only serve as a great addition to any anti-anxiety protocol. Talk to your healthcare provider about including a great nutrition plan in your treatment of anxiety for increased chances of success in overcoming challenges relating to anxiety disorder and treating your anxiety through nutrition.

Natural Care Center (NCC)

Looking to see a Nutritionist at the Natural Care Center to meet your nutritional needs? Integrative nutritionists use science-based diet and nutrition therapies to support your personal health and well-being. They recognize that individualized nutrition is essential to health and their integrative approach is not limited to one dietary theory. And for more than 40 years, the Natural Care Center at Maryland University of Integrative Health, which includes our student teaching clinic and professional practitioners, has provided powerful, meaningful, and effective healing experiences for patients and clients that arrive with a wide array of health challenges.

During your first visit at the NCC, your practitioner will gather information about your health and personal history, review your dietary preferences and health concerns, and assess your nutritional status. Together with your nutritionist, you will craft a personalized nutrition plan to start you on your path to greater health and vitality.To talk with someone about making an appointment, call 443-906-5794 or email .


Uma Naidoo, M. D. (2019, August 28). Nutritional strategies to ease anxiety. Harvard Health. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from  

The Benefits of Massage for TMJ

  |   By  |  0 Comments

Written by Missy Steger, LMT

How Does TMJ Develop? 

The most common cause of Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) pain is from grinding and clenching the teeth. This occurs mostly when sleeping or during stressful moments in the day. Other causes can be from arthritis, overuse, injury, and structural issues.  One of the most popular treatments is a mouth guard from the dentist that protects the enamel of your teeth. With constant grinding and clenching, the tooth itself can wear quickly leading to tooth loss and nerve damage. As for clenching our teeth when stressed, our brain gets a feeling of satisfaction from feeling the two layers of teeth together. This is a self-soothing behavior that unfortunately damages our teeth. The mouth guard places a layer of material between the teeth so that brain cannot get that stress relief it is looking for. Over time, our brain will find another outlet. Other forms of treatment may involve antidepressants, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories or anti-depressants. (Dimitroulis, 2018)   

Symptoms of TMJ 

If you suffer from this, you know about the headaches, neck pain, and loss of function. TMJ Syndrome effects muscles of the skull and neck such as the temporalis, masseters, pterygoid group, sternocleidomastoid, scalene, splenius group and the occipitals. The referral pain from these muscles can lead to various types of headaches, neck pain, muscle stiffness, clicking and popping of the jaw, tinnitus (ear ringing), mock sinus infections, dizziness, and blurred vision. (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research).  

How Massage Helps  

As a licensed massage therapist, I will work with the muscles related to the jaw from multiple angles to address the pain and dysfunction from the tight muscles related to the temporomandibular joint. I may even put on gloves and go inside the mouth to address tight bands of fiber and trigger points in the smaller muscles directly related to the movement of the jaw. This 30–60-minute massage may also entail working on local muscles of the face and scalp, as well as the neck and shoulders to address all associated musculature and referral pain patterns. (Flagg, 2009). Massage can also support various treatments by communicating with your medical team for an integrative approach.  In my treatment room I treat the patient, not just the symptom, so each appointment will begin with a thorough intake to provide an individualized treatment plan.   

I Feel Your Pain 

Patients are always asking me “Can you feel it?”. My answer is usually “If you are feeling it, so am I”.  This is because I feel with my hands, and then react to what is under them and what a patient’s body is communicating from a particular technique.  In this case, I also have a particular empathy as I understand what this type of pain syndrome feels like.  Not only am I prone to clenching and have been wearing a mouth guard for years, but I also suffered from a traumatic injury to the jaw dislocating it from the joint.  Being a patient myself, I have a deeper compassion and understanding as I work with those seeking relief.   

Natural Care Center (NCC)

Looking to see a Massage Therapist at the Natural Care Center? Therapeutic or medical massage employs a variety of modalities in order to address underlying conditions, injuries, pain, or stress. Techniques such as lymphatic drainage, shiatsu, deep tissue, and other focused treatments are used to achieve specific goals set by the patient and massage therapist.

During your first visit at the NCC, your massage therapist will review relevant information and formulate massage sessions that target to your specific needs. To talk with someone about making an appointment, call 443-906-5794 or email .


Dimitroulis, G. Management of temporomandibular joint disorders: A surgeon’s perspective. ( Australian Dental Journal. 2018;63 Suppl 1:S79-S90. 

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint & Muscle Disorders. ( Accessed 4/23/22. 

Flagg, Retta. (2009). Massage for TMJ Syndrome (live). 

The Practice of Mindful Eating – Exploring the Research

   |   By  |  0 Comments

By Keegan Abernathy MS, CNS, LDN

Nutritional science typically explores the effect nutrients, foods, and eating patterns have on human biochemistry and health. But what about how we eat? In this post, I will explore the practice of mindful eating and its researched effects on health and psychology. 

Mindful Eating vs. Mindless Eating

To understand what mindful eating is and how it works, it is helpful to understand its opposite behavior. We can categorize a very common way of eating as mindless eating. This occurs when we are not aware of our experience of eating. There are many factors that can induce mindless eating such as stress, difficulty regulating emotions, being distracted while eating, or eating too quickly. Social situations, culture, and familial conditioning also play a role in how mindfully we eat (Wansink, 2010). Food choices can become more challenging when we haven’t eaten all day which means it is easier to eat mindlessly. 

What Is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating happens when we are fully aware of the experience of eating. It includes noticing the flavor, satisfaction, smell and feel of food being eaten. When eating mindfully, one can notice internal states such as hunger level, satiety, and physical fullness (Kristeller et al., 2014). There tends to be self-reports of increased pleasure and satisfaction from food with the practice of mindful eating (Kristeller et al., 2014). Mindful eating can happen naturally, but its occurrence can be limited by learned eating habits, emotional states, and distractions (Wansink, 2010). Cultivating mindful eating as a new habit can occur with the support of training and practice. The Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT) is a studied approach to eating mindfully. This training is a non-dieting approach to eating that teaches participants to become aware of the complexity, choices, and experiences that occur while eating (Kristeller et al., 2014). 

Researched Effects of MB-EAT

Several studies have been conducted exploring the effects of MB-EAT. Kristeller & Hallett (1999) performed a single-group, extended baseline follow-up design that included 18 participants, most of whom were obese middle-aged women with binge-eating disorder (BED). After MB-EAT intervention, binge episodes decreased from 4 per week to 1.5. Measures of depression and binge severity also decreased. In a randomized clinical trial, 194 adults with obesity were randomly placed into a 5.5 month program that either included MB-EAT or did not include MB-EAT (Daubenmier et al., 2016). While there were no substantial differences in weight loss between the groups, cardiometabolic markers such as fasting glucose and lipids were improved in the treatment group receiving MB-EAT.

Please note that this post is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional care by a physician or other qualified medical professionals. It is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you are interested in nutritional support, consider reaching out to the Natural Care Center for consultations by calling 443-906-9754 or emailing  

Natural Care Center (NCC)

Looking to see a Nutritionist at the Natural Care Center to meet your nutritional needs? Integrative nutritionists use science-based diet and nutrition therapies to support your personal health and well-being. They recognize that individualized nutrition is essential to health and their integrative approach is not limited to one dietary theory. And for more than 40 years, the Natural Care Center at Maryland University of Integrative Health, which includes our student teaching clinic and professional practitioners, has provided powerful, meaningful, and effective healing experiences for patients and clients that arrive with a wide array of health challenges.

During your first visit at the NCC, your practitioner will gather information about your health and personal history, review your dietary preferences and health concerns, and assess your nutritional status. Together with your nutritionist, you will craft a personalized nutrition plan to start you on your path to greater health and vitality.To talk with someone about making an appointment, call 443-906-5794 or email .


Daubenmier, J., Moran, P. J., Kristeller, J., Acree, M., Bacchetti, P., Kemeny, M. E., … & Hecht, F. M. (2016). Effects of a mindfulness‐based weight loss intervention in adults with obesity: A randomized clinical trial. Obesity24(4), 794-804.

Kristeller, J. L., & Hallett, C. B. (1999). An exploratory study of a meditation-based intervention for binge eating disorder. Journal of Health Psychology. 4(3), 357-363.

Kristeller, J., Wolever, R. Q., & Sheets, V. (2014). Mindfulness-based eating awareness training (MB-EAT) for binge eating: A randomized clinical trial. Mindfulness5(3), 282-297.

Wansink, B. (2010). From mindless eating to mindlessly eating better. Physiology & behavior100(5), 454-463.

Gastrointestinal Inflammation & Licorice Root

   |   By  |  0 Comments

licorice root

Written by: Dr. Haneefa Willis – Johnson, Western Herbal Dispensary, Assistant Manager

Licorice Root for the use of Gastrointestinal Inflammation

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are small enzymatic molecules that are produced by cells in the mucosal lining of the intestines as well as activated innate immune cells. ROS enzymes: superoxide (02-), hydroxyl (OH), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) are pivotal in fighting infection and wound healing however it is essential that epithelial exposure to ROS is balanced. A breakdown in the antigenic signaling pathway can result in a hyperinflammatory response. A toxic level of ROS production jeopardizes the integrity of the intestinal lining & efficient pathogen removal leading to chronic gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation (Aviello, 2017). In adults (>18 y/o), the occurrences of GI inflammation have risen by 0.9% since 1999 (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2019). Conventional treatments include aminosalicylate (5-ASA) drugs, immunomodulatory agents like corticosteroids, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from an antigen-matched donor (Aviello, 2017).

Alternatively, Licorice root Glycyrrhiza glabra is a traditional medicinal plant that has exhibited an impressive propensity to combat inflammation activity (Eichenfield, 2007). A major phytoconstituent of Licorice is the bitter-tasting triterpenoid saponin, glycyrrhizin. Numerous therapeutic capabilities of glycyrrhizin have been linked to antiviral, antibacterial, antihepatotoxic, and cytoprotective effects (Murray, 2020, p.642-643). Additionally, evidence-based laboratory research shows that glycyrrhizin also balances the excessive accumulation of neutrophil-mediated ROS (Akamatsu, 1991). Neutrophils are innate immune cells that activate in the presence of an antigen or allergen (Hosoki, 2016). Researchers Akamatsu, Komura, and Niwa (1991) looked at the three main functions of neutrophils (1) mobility to a target, (2) ability to ingest a target, and (3) generation of ROS each in assay systems concentrated with 0.05, 0.5, and 5.0 mg/ml of glycyrrhizin. Akamatsu et al. (1991) found that the presence of glycyrrhizin at any concentration made no impact on the neutrophil’s mobility or phagocytic capacities. However, they found a significant decrease (P <0.05) in the neutrophil-mediated ROS production (O2-, OH, H202) which directly correlated to the glycyrrhizin concentration. The inhibition of neutrophil metabolism of ROS in the presence of glycyrrhizin can reduce the damaging effects seen in chronic gastrointestinal inflammation by limiting a hyperresponsive immune system (Akamatsu, 1991). Together, this finding and the scientific discovery of bitter taste receptors (T2R) in the GI lining clarifies the medicinal benefits observed clinically in a wide variety of cultures that expand thousands of years (Wu, 2002).

This newsletter article is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional care by a physician or other qualified medical professionals. It is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you are looking for help in your journey, we recommend you seek out a qualified MUIH herbal practitioner that can personalize herbal formulas specific to your needs. Contact us at (410)888-9048 ext. 6676 or for more information. Licorice root is not for use in persons with hypertension, liver disorders, edema, severe kidney insufficiency, low blood potassium, or heart disease.

MUIH Herbal Dispensary

Interested in purchasing herbs from the Herbal Dispensary at MUIH? The dispensary provides herbal teas, powders, and liquid extracts that are custom compounded to the unique specifications of practitioners who have tailored these products to meet the individual needs of their clients. Email  to request an account. Sign into your account here.

Herbal Medicine Programs at MUIH

MUIH’s one of a kind herbal medicine programs recognize and respect the power of nature and herbs in promoting health and wellness, by integrating cultural traditions and contemporary science and research. Graduates support the growing consumer use of herbal medicine in community health and wellness, clinical, research, manufacturing, and retail settings. The Herbal Dispensary at Maryland University of Integrative Health is a unique and valuable resource of the Herbal Medicine academic programs. The dispensary provides the tools and space for students to get hands-on experience creating, formulating, and compounding herbal preparations.


Akamatsu, H., Komura, J., Asada, Y., & Niwa, Y. (1991). Mechanism of Anti-Inflammatory Action of Glycyrrhizin: Effect on Neutrophil Functions Including Reactive Oxygen Species Generation. Planta Medica, 57(02), 119–121. doi:10.1055/s-2006-960045

Aviello, G., & Knaus, U. G. (2017). ROS in gastrointestinal inflammation: Rescue Or Sabotage?. British journal of pharmacology, 174(12), 1704–1718.

Eichenfield, L. F., Fowler, J. F., Jr, Rigel, D. S., & Taylor, S. C. (2007). Natural advances in eczema care. Cutis, 80(6 Suppl), 2–16.

Hosoki, K., Itazawa, T., Boldogh, I., & Sur, S. (2016). Neutrophil recruitment by allergens contribute to allergic sensitization and allergic inflammation. Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology, 16(1), 45–50.

Murray, M. T. (2020). Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice). Textbook of Natural Medicine, 641–647.e3. doi:10.1016/b978- 0-323-43044-9.00085-6

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). (2019). Inflammatory Bowel Disease Prevalence (IBD) in the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved June 27, 2021, from

Nguyen GC, Chong CA, Chong RY. National estimates of the burden of inflammatory bowel disease among racial and ethnic groups in the United States. J Crohns Colitis. 2014;8:288–295. DOI: jcc/article/8/4/288/386357external icon. Accessed May 2, 2018.

Wu, S. V., Rozengurt, N., Yang, M., Young, S. H., Sinnett-Smith, J., & Rozengurt, E. (2002). Expression of bitter taste receptors of the T2R family in the gastrointestinal tract and enteroendocrine STC-1 cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99(4), 2392–2397.

Meditation for Beginners

   |   By  |  0 Comments

meditation for beginners

Meditation for Beginners

The word meditation is an open door. There are different ways of practicing it, which can also be traced back to ancient rituals and philosophies. However, for the most part, they all serve the same purpose, namely to reach different states of consciousness and to live in the present moment. It increases well-being and develops a sense of fulfillment in life. Beginners in meditation will quickly see the results.

The practice of Yoga is conduit to meditation. The completely guided practice through asanas, breathing exercises, repetition of mantras, aims or prepares the different bodies (mind, body, and spirit) to reach states of meditation and awareness. When done repeatedly, it leads to a transformation that brings benefits in mental and physical aspects.

Let Go of Expectations

If you are just starting out, or want to try meditation, it is important to have no expectations, and never think about whether you are practicing well or not. It takes time to learn to relate to your mind, to your thoughts and to let them decant. It takes discipline to keep practicing. There are also different tools where you can help yourself. For example, today there are apps with guided meditations. Attending a yoga studio, meditations, even taking an online course on meditation, like MUIH Professional and Continuing Education’s Meditation for Everyone Masterclass, can help a little more to understand meditation. Over time you will experience, what suits you best and what you feel comfortable with, the journey itself is the goal, not the outcome.

How to Begin Meditation?

Create the habit of setting aside 30 minutes a day for meditation practice.

Create a comfortable space where you can sit and dedicate some time to yourself. Have a space to sit in silence, recognize, and learn your breath. Remember that the most important space to take care of is your inner space. Wear comfortable clothing.

Having cushions and a mat can create comfort. If you sit in meditation posture, make sure your hips are higher than your knees. You can keep your eyes closed, put your inner sight in the middle of your forehead, shoulders away from your ears, back straight, all these practices help you to concentrate on your breathing. Recognize the length of your inhalation and your exhalation.

Another common way to practice meditation is to go for a walk and begin to recognize your steps; where you’re looking, your breathing, what you hear and perceive. This is the beginning of building the foundation for mindful meditation practice.

Chanting mantras or repetitive prayers are also ways to focus and exercise your mind and empty it of thoughts. This exercise can help you to increase your concentration and be present in the moment.

What Do You Gain from Beginning Meditation?

The practice of meditation has many benefits, such as mental and physical changes. After a few sessions, it can reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and help the digestive system. Practicing meditation can be very helpful in the release of stress.

Start living mindfully and focus on the present moment. For example, savoring more when you eat, or simply looking at and appreciating nature. Your level of perspective on life will increase; this allos you to make better decisions.

Increase imagination and creativity. Discovering new hobbies, enjoying art, and finding new opportunities can be stimulated through meditation. It boosts productivity and helps you stay focused.

When you practice yoga, you also experience meditation and openness. It is a good discipline to allow negative emotions to pass by. This helps to eliminate blockages in your body to prevent future pain and emotional and physical imbalances. It relaxes and releases tensions in your muscles.

Meditation for beginners, and for everyone, is an empowering practice, it helps you cultivate acceptance, and with constant practice, your brain will be trained, and you will learn to cultivate patience, tolerance, and resilience. It will help you overcome and adapt to different challenges and situations in life.

With discipline, you learn to create an inner connection. This means that your intuition and sense of perspective will become more evident, developing the ability to listen to your inner self, following your calling or rediscovering your purpose, slightly redirected to achieve what you are meant to do or live in life.

The habit of daily meditation will help you develop the habit of self-care. Having time to listen to your inner voice, integrate your learning, create a sense of responsibility, and grow in many aspects of life.

Next Steps to Learning Meditation

For the next step, take a deep dive into a personal mindfulness and meditation practice while developing the teaching skills to share with others. To learn more about how to find a mindful Meditation practice for you and your clients and patients, join our online, self-paced Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) Meditation for Everyone Masterclass. Certified by the American Institute of Stress, this experiential course provides hands-on practice for a wide variety of meditation styles. You can incorporate these into your daily life or your clinical practice.

Learn more and enroll at! Explore all PCE offerings at

International Women’s Day

   |   By  |  0 Comments

international womens day at MUIH

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day—March 8th—a day celebrating the vast achievements of women across the globe. There are several ways to get involved in 2022, both in person and virtually. In honor of both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the DEI Committee encourages you to get involved by participating in events or taking time to engage with unfamiliar content. Here are just a few ways to do so:

March is Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time when we celebrate the progress forged by countless women whose courage and sacrifices have contributed to the fight for securing equal rights, equal treatment, and equal opportunity for all women. This month, Maryland University of Integrative Health honors the extraordinary women from every country who are leading us to a better world for future generations of womenWomen who have fought for equality and against the status quo, and who have broken the bonds of discrimination, partiality, and injustice for the benefit of all. These women created a legacy that continues to inspire generations of women to live with confidence, to have a positive impact on their communities, and to improve our world every single day.

The theme for 2022 is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” an appropriate them to honor the lives of women that have impacted our history such as Margaret Chung, the first American-born Chinese woman doctor, civil rights leader Vel Phillips from Wisconsin, and Susan La Flesche Picotte, the first American Indian woman doctor. We hope you will take the opportunity during this month to explore some of the remarkable contributions made to our world by women.

The DEI Committee also brings you the March 2022 Calendar of Observances to highlight observances this month. The attached document provides a list of some observances along with a brief description and a link to further information on the observance noted. The calendar may also be accessed through our website.

Interested in More Student Activities at MUIH?

Whether you take your classes online or in-person, we cherish your presence and participation within our MUIH community. We offer many ways to engage with our community and we welcome you to get involved! Enrich your student experience – join us! Learn more about the activities we have on campus and virtual. And check out our Student Affairs resources to make the best of your student life here at MUIH!

Why Health Literacy is Important

   |   By  |  0 Comments

why health literacy is important


Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) Department Chair of Health and Wellness Coaching, Duston Morris, recently published research on health literacy education in Speech Language Pathology (SLP) programs. Dr. Duston Morris is a certified Health Education Specialist and Health Coach. He has been practicing and teaching in community health, public health, health and wellness, fitness and recreation for more than 25 years, and his research agenda explores the relationship between exercise, physical activity and other healthy lifestyle characteristics, the benefits of active infrastructure, and interprofessional education for healthcare students. Download the full publication here.

The Study

This study was part of a larger study that explored how SLP leaders (i.e., program administrators and faculty) implement health literacy education in SLP training programs. Health literacy skills are a vital aspect of an individual’s quality of life and well-being and low health literacy is related to low life expectancy and higher prevalence of disease and illness.

The Outcome

Historically, healthcare providers have overlooked the health literacy skills of their clients. Findings from the study reported that more than half (56%) of SLP leaders implemented HLE within their SLP programs. However, only 4% always teach students why health literacy is important and 75% never instruct students to encourage clients to ask questions. Although HLE occurred in SLP programs, use of HLE varied greatly across different programs. This research points to the importance of incorporating health education in healthcare training programs. Health and Wellness coaching programs should review their training protocol to ensure that students learn how to improve their own health literacy and are able to effectively assist their clients with health literacy education.

Study Health and Wellness Coaching at MUIH

Interested in learning more about studying Health and Wellness Coaching to help clients better implement health in their education programs? Visit our Health and Wellness Coaching Academic Programs to learn more about growing your future as a coach. As a student, you’ll learn the evidence-based approach and set of skills that empowers individuals to tap into their own inner source of motivation to restore and preserve health and well-being. Graduates are prepared for credentialing by the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).