Posts by: stagemuih

Spring is Springing

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Birds are singing, spring is springing! Nature is constant only in its harmonious balance of Yin and Yang and the cycle of the seasons. Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing” is a term first used by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and is really just a concise wording for ‘getting back to nature,’ or taking some time in the wilderness. Call it what you like, shinrin-yoku gets us back to who we are intrinsically. It gives our mind a chance to reassess our needs according to evolutionary knowledge, and to conserve vital resources for when they are absolutely necessary.iii

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Understanding Seasonal Allergies with Chinese Medicine

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Chinese medicine understands the human body as an expression of the natural world. From this perspective, the movement of fluids in the body is similar to the movement of water that we see in nature. Influenced by the warming of the sun, water from the sea steams upward to form clouds that drift over the land where rain restores the rivers and streams.

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Licensed Medical and Therapeutic Massage Services at the Natural Care Center

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The Natural Care Center at Maryland University of Integrative Health is pleased to announce that is has added two licensed medical and therapeutic massage therapists to its clinical staff. Services will be available beginning January 16, 2018, and an introductory discount is available for MUIH students, faculty and staff.

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Student Spotlight: Christine Cherpak

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I was drawn to Maryland University of Integrative Health because it satisfied my thirst for an innovative curriculum combining rigorous coursework, research, and experiential training. Maryland University of Integrative Health’s foundational principles of interconnections, holism, transformation, diversity, and resilience underscored my commitment to facilitate optimal nutrition and health; attending to one’s whole body, including physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual realms, as opposed to a body composed of parts in need of “fixing.” Nutrition is an art and science. Maryland University of Integrative Health understands this and integrates such a philosophy into its program offerings.

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Cultural Holiday Celebrations

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The month of December is filled with several religious and spiritual celebrations and a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate multiculturalism at MUIH.  We wish all members of our community a joyful and peaceful holiday season.

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Professor Emerita Sister Charlotte Kerr Recognized as Public Health Advisor by Former US Senator

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Sister Charlotte Kerr’s vision of healing has always included care of the whole person and care of a world broken in many pieces. In the 1980s she accepted then-Senator Barbara Mikulski’s invitation to be an advisor in shaping public health initiatives that go beyond the conventional model of health care. In that role she participated in the first Senate hearing on integrative health and served on two Presidential Commissions. Earlier this year, Senator Mikulski presented to Sister Charlotte a certificate of appreciation for her many years of service, stating:

“This citation is presented in recognition of your strategic advice and advocacy on behalf of the American people to improve their health and well-being through public policy initiatives in the areas of integrative health and achievement of wellness. The United States Senate thanks you and the Sisters of Mercy for their efforts and support to help so many for so long.”

Senator Mikulski noted that Sister Charlotte brought to each occasion the concept that true healing must include the spirit as well as body-mind, that she encouraged all to think in new ways and of new possibilities, and that members of Congress were more effective and mindful because of her presence and participation. In a letter accompanying the citation, the Senator stated, “. . . your work has had a transformative impact on federal health policy.”

Sister Charlotte’s was also recently acknowledged by Surgeon General Vivek Murphy in a Certificate of Appreciation “for outstanding service on the Presidentially-appointed Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health, and contributions to the implementation of the National Prevention Strategy.”

A registered nurse, acupuncturist, Professor Emerita at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), and public health consultant, Sister Charlotte sees patients in the MUIH Natural Care Center in Columbia, Maryland.

Read Sister Charlotte’s bio here.

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

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Emphasizing prevention and wellness, and engaging the wisdom of nature to promote the body’s inherent healing ability, naturopathic doctors diagnose and treat disease and use traditional therapies combined with modern medical practices to help restore, maintain, and improve health. Naturopathic medicine can be used as a primary care approach, as a complement to conventional medicine and other forms of healthcare, for disease prevention, or for health and wellness support. Naturopathic doctors are experts in natural medicine, utilizing many modalities such as clinical nutrition, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and botanical medicine, along with sensible concepts such as a healthy diet and lifestyle, regular exercise, and relaxation and stress management techniques.

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Tending Ourselves: Self-Care Strategies for Sustainable Work-Life Balance

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Creating a sustainable work-life balance is an ongoing challenge for many, even those who love their jobs. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and are feeling frazzled, it may be time to reflect upon your current self-care regimen. Rather than face burnout, try these simple strategies to help restore balance and productivity in your daily life.

1. Practice mindfulness

A regular mindfulness practice is an effective and inexpensive way to combat burnout. Both Transcendental Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction have been shown to help, as have some less-structured meditation programs, (Luken & Sammons, 2016; Elder, Nidich, Moriarty, & Nidich, 2014). Finding the time to learn and practice meditation can be challenging. While searching out a local class or teacher is the best way to get started, apps like Buddhify and HeadSpace are great options for those who are not able to access in-person classes.

2. Don’t skip sleep

Sleep deprivation can adversely affect cognition and generally contributes to physical and mental stress. One study of university faculty found that getting less sleep was related to higher levels of burnout, (Padilla & Thompson, 2016). It can be tempting to sacrifice sleep for work or personal time, but most people find that they can think more clearly after a good night’s sleep. Prioritize your sleep, and you may find that you’re better able to cope with life’s challenges.

3. Prioritize

Over months and years, many people find that they’ve lost sight of the tasks or goals that attracted them to a job in the first place. One study of medical faculty physicians found that those who spent less than 20 percent of their time on what they considered to be the most meaningful aspect of their work were the most likely to experience burnout, (Shanafelt et al., 2009). Reconnect with the parts of your job that bring you joy. If you spend most of your time on tasks that are not personally meaningful, meet with your boss or other colleagues to discuss ways to reconfigure your roles. Get better at saying “no” to focus on aspects of your job (or life!) to which you’d like to devote your time.

4. Fuel up and move your body

We recommend scheduling snacks and meals while at work, and eating them away from your workspace. Leaving your desk while eating provides an opportunity to get your body moving and may also help prevent mindless snacking. Some of our favorite snack recommendations: a small piece of dark chocolate; nuts and seeds; fresh fruit; and spicy, sour, or tangy foods. Savor the flavors as you nourish yourself and take a few moments to rejuvenate. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar so that your snack/meal breaks don’t slip off your radar. Try our recipe for Purple Sweet Potato Bars for a healthy and easy-to-pack snack.

6. Maintain a daily rhythm

Circadian rhythms are behaviors or physiological patterns that happen approximately every 24 hours. They help our bodies anticipate and respond to changes in the environment. For example, if you eat at predictable times your digestive tract can produce enzymes in anticipation of an upcoming meal. By creating a degree of predictability in your daily rhythm, you can support your circadian processes. Waking up and going to bed at about the same time each day will help to synchronize your body clock. Similarly, eating and exercising at predictable intervals can help as well. Many people notice a significant difference in energy levels when they follow these basic guidelines.

Start Simple

Start with a few small changes rather than a complete revamp. You’re more likely to stick with small shifts, which can result in significant improvements to physical and mental well-being over time. We also recommend doing your part to create a culture that promotes work-life balance. Don’t normalize or glorify “busyness,” and be sure that you are respectful of other peoples’ need to engage in self-care. Remember that focusing on your own health isn’t a detriment to your work. By choosing to engage in self-care, you are creating a more sustainable path forward for the sake of yourself, your personal and professional communities, and those affected by your work.



Bevin Clare
Professor, Herbal Programs
Maryland University of Integrative Health

Camille Freeman
Professor, Nutrition
Maryland University of Integrative Health


Elder, C., Nidich, S., Moriarty, F., & Nidich, R. (2014). Effect of transcendental meditation on employee stress, depression, and burnout: a randomized controlled study. The Permanente Journal, 18(1), 19–23.

Luken, M., & Sammons, A. (2016). Systematic Review of Mindfulness Practice for Reducing Job Burnout. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy: Official Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association, 70(2), 7002250020p1-7002250020p10.

Padilla, M. A., & Thompson, J. N. (2016). Burning Out Faculty at Doctoral Research Universities. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 32(5), 551–558.

Shanafelt, T. D., West, C. P., Sloan, J. A., Novotny, P. J., Poland, G. A., Menaker, R., … Dyrbye, L. N. (2009). Career fit and burnout among academic faculty. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(10), 990–995.