Category: Happenings at MUIH

Managing Stress and Mental Health Challenges while Pursuing Your Degree

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Pursuing an advanced degree can be a transformative and empowering journey, as students delve deeper into their chosen fields, develop advanced skills, and prepare for impactful careers.  However, the demands and expectations of graduate programs can sometimes bring about significant stress and add to ongoing mental health challenges.

Our faculty, staff, and students work to maintain a healing and thriving learning environment as we cultivate growth and affirmation in a supportive and nurturing space.

Common grad school challenges can be both academic and personal. Graduate students often face unique stressors including increased workload, heightened expectations, research pressures, and financial concerns, while balancing family, personal and professional responsibilities.

At MUIH, we recognize the importance of addressing these challenges and offer a range of support services to help graduate students successfully navigate the demands on their time and energy.

  • Individual Counseling: MUIH understands that graduate students may require personalized support to address their unique needs and concerns. Our individual counseling services provide a safe, confidential space for graduate students to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with licensed professional counselors. These counselors are trained to help graduate students develop coping strategies, build resilience, and foster personal growth in the face of academic and personal challenges. 
  • Support Groups and Group Sessions: Alongside individual counseling, MUIH offers graduate student-specific support groups and group sessions, creating a nurturing environment for students to connect, share experiences, and learn from one another. Facilitated by experienced counselors, these sessions cover a variety of topics such as time management, work-life balance, research stress, and cultivating a healthy mindset. Support groups can help graduate students build a sense of community, reduce feelings of isolation, and develop essential skills to manage stress and improve mental health. 
  • Referral Services for Comprehensive Support: MUIH believes in a holistic approach to mental health and wellness for our graduate students. Our referral services connect students with resources beyond our campus, ensuring they receive the support they need. Whether it’s finding a specialized mental health professional, exploring additional community resources, or connecting with other organizations, our referral services aim to provide comprehensive support for graduate students as they navigate their academic journey. 

MUIH’s individual counseling, support groups, and referral services are just a few resources available to help graduate students manage stress and maintain mental well-being as they advance in their academic and professional pursuits. In addition to the mental health counseling services offered by MUIH’s counseling and wellness staff, MUIH students are also eligible for free weekly yoga sessions, discounted telehealth at the Natural Care Center and a discount at the university’s herbal dispensary.  

MUIH’s campus community is devoted to nurturing our students personal, intellectual, and ethical growth . 

Regardless of your program, background, location and specific career goals, Career Services supports you in your journey. and provides students and alumni with career counseling, resources, entrepreneurial advice and professional opportunities.  

With a compassionate approach, effective support systems, and a commitment to fostering resilience, graduate students can overcome these obstacles and thrive. Remember, you are not alone, and together, we can master the waves of stress and mental health challenges as you pursue your degree. 

The Value of Health and Wellness Coaching During a Time of Loss

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Dr. Duston Morris, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Health and Wellness Coaching at Maryland University of Integrative Health, explains the role of coaching during a time of loss. He discusses how coaches can help clients deal with loss and grief, begin the healing process, and learn how to fully grieve so they can positively manage loss in their lives. 

How can a Health and Wellness Coach be supportive during a time of loss? 

Loss comes in all different forms. It can present feelings like sadness and helplessness. A Health and Wellness Coach can provide support during times of loss by helping clients realize that although we can’t control loss, we can learn how to fully grieve our loss and embrace bereavement as part of a healthy lifestyle. Exploring personal feelings related to loss and how those feelings are part of the healing process is something Health and Wellness Coaches can explore with clients, providing them with the support they need and deserve.   

For a Health and Wellness Coach, which scenarios constitute a loss? 

Many scenarios constitute a loss. It can be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a friendship, or a job. Typically, loss produces feelings like sadness, helplessness, loneliness, doubt, worry, and even confusion. Not processing loss and working through our feelings regarding loss can impact many different aspects of health and wellness. Health and Wellness Coaches recognize how loss can negatively influence the different dimensions of health and wellness. Helping clients recognize this process is one of the first steps toward healing.   

How can Health and Wellness Coaching facilitate the process of grief? 

Health and Wellness Coaches help facilitate the process of grief by offering their clients a safe and supportive space to share their thoughts and feelings openly. Our society teaches us that showing feelings like those associated with loss is a sign of weakness when being able to appreciate and appropriately express those feelings is a sign of strength and growth. Health and Wellness Coaches are supportive professionals that work alongside their clients to help them talk about their loss, and how to positively manage their loss by embracing their feelings and recognizing that as a healthy and appropriate process.  

Is there an average length of time a Health and Wellness Coach is most supportive in processing grief? 

There is no “normal” amount of time it takes to grieve. This is different for each person. Health and Wellness Coaches can be there as long as needed. The length of time necessary to deal with loss and grief effectively is determined by the client and based on conversations between the client and their Health and Wellness Coach during their coaching sessions.     

Does a Health and Wellness Coach use special techniques in the grieving process? 

Health and Wellness Coaches are trained to use many different coaching skills and techniques. However, when dealing with loss, the best things the coach offers are genuine compassion, empathy, and reflection. Loss is hard. Loss hurts. Most people just need someone who listens, understands, and provides a safe space to share all feelings without judgment. This is part of the healing presence that every MUIH Health and Wellness Coach is trained to practice. 

Integrative health professionals from MUIH can be found all around the world. To find a health and wellness coach within MUIH’s community resources, you can find a practitioner.  

To become a health and wellness coach, explore the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching program, which prepares students with foundational skills and expertise to help clients clarify and implement health and wellness goals and sustain life-changing behaviors. 

And learn about the Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching program, which builds upon foundational coaching skills through advanced coaching, group coaching, professional and business development, and research literacy skills that support contemporary coaching practice. 

What is Ghee?

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Let’s start with the source. If you want to make ghee you want to source organic butter from cows raised on “natural pasturage” preferable from Jersey or Guernsey cows, is a stable fat made from cream with a wide range of short, medium, and odd chain fatty acids that have anti-tumor effects as well as typical saturated (40-60%), monounsaturated and some polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is solid at room temperature butter contains fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D and E. Vitamin A and E have strong antioxidant properties that protect the health of the thyroid and adrenals glands that maintain the proper function of the heart and cardiovascular system.  Butter has short and medium-chain fatty acids (15%) and conjugated linoleic Acid (CLA) which has strong anti-cancer properties. It is rich in selenium, a vital antioxidant. Butterfat contains glycosphingolipids, which is the fatty acid that protects against gastro-intestinal infection, especially in the young and the elderly. This makes butter an excellent source for treating candida overgrowth. Another important natural component in butter is Lecithin, which helps assimilate and metabolize cholesterol and other fat constituents.  All these properties are only in the fat part of the milk. Butter and cream contain little lactose or casein and are usually well-tolerated even by those who are sensitive to dairy. 

Ghee is especially well-tolerated by most because the milk solids are removed. In traditional Indian medicine, ghee is considered the most satvic, or health-promoting fat available. Although you can purchase organic or hormone-free ghee, making it yourself is fun and easy. It takes only about 15 minutes from start to finish making it. As the ghee forms, the milk solids stick to the bottom of the pot, leaving only the pure stable fat, suitable for high heat sautéing. Check frequently after the gurgling stops. It’s a sign that the water has evaporated out and that the milk solids are beginning to brown. Because it is so rich in antioxidants and lacking in milk solids, ghee does not have to be refrigerated, which makes it great for travel and for use in herbal medicines. 

A few spices sautéed in ghee and added right before your dish is finished lends the most delicious flavoring. 

Butter is 80% fat and 20% water and milk solids; ghee is 99.9% fat.  

Making Ghee 

Makes 1 1/2 cups 

1pound unsalted butter, preferably organic grass-fed pastured cows 

In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter over medium low heat until it is melted completely, about 5 minutes. The butter will start to gurgle as the water evaporates. The top will cover with foam. Simmer uncovered on low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the milk solids start to brown on the bottom of the pot. Check after 10 minutes and frequently after that by pushing aside the foam and tilting the pan to see if the solids have browned. As soon as the solids turn brown turn off the heat and let the residue settle to the bottom. Pour the liquid through a double layer of cheesecloth into a heat-resistant container to catch any residue; discard the solids. 

How Online Learning is Opening Pathways to Integrative Health Degrees & Careers

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When it comes to higher education, online learning has been in the spotlight in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since the beginning of the pandemic in spring of 2020, online education has become an important way to deliver college classes while helping to keep students safe from the spread of disease. In fall 2020, over 14 million students in the U.S. were enrolled in online courses and programs, representing 74% of the total enrolled population (19 million).  

But the history of online learning goes back a bit farther than that. In fact, students across the U.S. have been taking advantage of online degree programs to advance their careers, change jobs, and fulfill personal goals for over 30 years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic (2018-2019), most colleges (79%) offered either stand-alone distance education courses or 100% online degrees. In fall 2019, over 7.2 million students in the U.S. were enrolled in online courses and programs, representing 37% of the total enrolled population (19.6 million).  With more than 35 years of experience in higher education leadership, Dr. Christina Sax, MUIH Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, explains that there are many reasons for the popularity and effectiveness of this method of learning.  

What are the benefits of online learning? 

“Online programs provide learners with flexible and convenient options to pursue degrees fulfilling their career and personal goals. Many online programs use an asynchronous model, meaning students do not need to participate in class on a certain day and time which allows the student to plan participation and study time around their work, family, and other obligations, rather than the other way around,” says Sax. Students can work at their convenience, which makes balancing school and life possible. This flexibility and convenience are especially welcomed by individuals with busy schedules, including job commitments, job travel, responsibilities as a parent or care giver, and military and first responder service. Online learners can participate in their courses without missing in-person classes because of their schedules. 

Online programs remove the barriers of distance and open new program possibilities that might have otherwise been inaccessible or highly inconvenient. Individuals who cannot relocate for education are no longer limited to the degrees offered by colleges and universities within commuting distance. Online education widens the degree fields and types available, including those in emerging and specialty fields that many universities do not offer.  MUIH is one of the few universities in the U.S. to offer and focus solely on integrative health degrees and its online programs provide such expanded opportunities for prospective students. 

Why is online learning strategic for career advancement?  

The modern workplace and careers are rapidly evolving and becoming more specialized. It’s predicted that up to 85% of the jobs that today’s students will have in the future haven’t been invented yet and that American workers will hold an average of 12 jobs by the time they retire. That means that working professionals will need new knowledge, skills, and degrees on an ongoing basis to navigate these transitions. “Online learning holds the key to career advancement in this environment. Online learners can access new and emerging careers through unique and cutting-edge degrees as they arise across the country, regardless of where they live and their geographic distance from those new degree programs,” says Sax. In addition, online learners can engage with a broad range of professionals in their field of study, expanding their learning. Classmates from across the U.S. and other countries bring more professional experiences and real-world models from their sector than would be available in an in-person class.  

How do online learning methods enhance the learning experience?  

The time that students engage with one another and with their faculty in online classes is not restricted to specific times, in contrast to in-person class meeting times. As a result, the online format allows for more dynamic interactions and participation. There is ample time and space for all students to participate in group discussions, comment on the work of others, share their experiences, share additional resources, and ask questions. Sax explains, “Online learning gives students time to actively reflect and organize their thoughts before answering a question or commenting. Online learning provides students time to articulate responses with much more depth and forethought than in a traditional face-to-face discussion where they must analyze another student’s comment and quickly craft a response on the spot, or otherwise lose the chance to participate in the discussion.”  

In addition, many online learners feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts on an online discussion board than sitting next to their classmates in an in-person course. This environment leads to higher-quality dialog and deeper learning. These robust and ongoing interactions and synergy are a unique hallmark of the value of online learning. 

The online learning format also allows faculty to supplement learning in ways impossible in a traditional face-to-face setting. Notably, there is the opportunity to invite experts from across the U.S. and other countries to join the course for co-teaching and extended discussions. A range of technology tools lets students interact with the course material and study in ways that match their unique learning style, rather than a one-size-fits-all model of in-person lectures and textbook reading. Technology tools also let students co-create and publish knowledge and learning materials.  

What are the benefits of online learning for creating multicultural settings and multicultural learning? 

By eliminating geographic barriers, online learning brings together a more diverse group of learners than a traditional in-person class. The students in an online class have a greater range of perspectives and lived experiences influenced by factors such as geographic micro-cultures and the racial, ethnic, age, gender, and socio-economic demographic composition of the class members. This environment provides the opportunity to create a multicultural setting and foster multicultural learning. Students from very different backgrounds and perspectives get to know one another through discussion boards, collaborative projects and presentations, and study groups. “This, in turn allows students to develop greater cultural awareness, cultural understanding, cultural competence, and cultural responsiveness. At MUIH, the Cultural Responsiveness University Learning Outcome underpins all programs, regardless of their delivery format: graduates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes to respectfully collaborate with individuals and groups of diverse and intersectional lived experiences, backgrounds, and identities,” says Sax. 

What should you look for when researching an online advanced degree program? 

Focusing on key factors can help you select a quality online advanced degree program and fulfilling learning experience.  

Accreditation: One of the most important factors is an institution’s accreditation status. Accreditation is a key quality indicator – it indicates that an institution maintains high educational standards and quality through continuous improvement. Accreditation by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is considered the highest level, and MUIH has earned such institutional and programmatic accreditations.  

Online Expertise: Institutions that have been offering online programs for a long time have had the opportunity to optimize the online learning environment through continuous improvement and to hone their skills and expertise in designing, delivering, and supporting online courses and programs. MUIH has offered stand-alone online courses and fully online and hybrid programs since 2013 

Designed for Online Learning: To receive a high-quality online education, it’s important to look for a program intentionally designed for the online format rather than quickly converting in-person courses to remote delivery using live streaming. MUIH’s online courses are developed through a thoughtful formal online course development process involving a design team. Robust online courses are created in a structured learning management system, Canvas, with online learning modules, course materials, live and asynchronous learning opportunities, and tools for engaging with fellow students and faculty. MUIH’s online courses and programs are guided by the international standards of Quality Matters and UPCEA’s Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership, and MUIH’s systematic diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) course review process. 

Consistent Learning Outcomes: Sax says, “An important indicator of the credibility and integrity of an online program is that students receive the same content and degree, regardless of whether the program was taught online or in-person. Programs with the same learning outcomes regardless of the delivery format indicate that the university adheres to high academic standards and that online programs are academically rigorous – and this ensures that your online degree is seen as credible and valuable in a competitive job market.” All MUIH programs have a defined set of program and course learning outcomes that state what students will be able to do upon their completion.  These are the same regardless of the delivery format of the courses; program outcomes are shown on each program’s webpage. In addition, MUIH has a set of University Learning Outcomes that apply to all programs. They articulate the common characteristics and essential learning outcomes that underlie all MUIH programs, and connect the curriculum to the skills and attributes employers seek after students’ graduation. 

Qualified Faculty: A quality and rigorous online learning experience has qualified, experienced, and dedicated faculty at the center of students’ learning experience. This is very different from some models that rely on students’ self-learning through course materials. MUIH faculty are multi-talented and bring knowledge, skills, experiences, and perspectives to their teaching. They are experts in integrative health and active professionals themselves and blend their real-time workplace experience into classes. They are committed to excellence in teaching and engage in ongoing professional training and development. They are professional mentors to students who have a passion for students’ success – while enrolled and after graduation. 

Student Support Services: It is important to find an online program that provides a full set of support services to meet students’ varied needs all online and without having to come to campus. MUIH provides all its student support services online, which are available to all students regardless of their program or location. This includes specialized support for new students, academic advising, academic success and tutoring support, counseling and wellness services, disability and accessibility services, career services (including for alumni), library services, financial aid, military support services, technology support, and community building activities.  

Do you have what it takes? What are the top 3 important characteristics of a successful online learner? 

Organized: Successful online learners are organized and prepared. They gather their course materials, look through their online classrooms, read the syllabus, know who their faculty are, and how to contact them for help before the course begins. They set up a learning environment that includes reliable access to a computer, a strong internet connection, and conditions that allow them to focus on their course. They take note of who they can go to for help – whether at the university or in their own lives – and they have that information ready. They have good time management skills and set up a comprehensive and detailed schedule. For their course, they schedule assignment due dates, sufficient time to read and study, watch course videos, participate in the online classroom, and work on assignments. Their schedule also includes designated times for work, family commitments, personal obligations, self-care, and downtime. 

Self-Motivated: Successful online learners are self-motivated and self-directed. They have an intrinsic desire for deep learning and understanding. They recognize that in online classes, especially at the graduate level, faculty are more “guide on the side, rather than sage on the stage.” Faculty help learners discover and create knowledge and steer them towards approaches that help them do so, rather than being the primary deliverer of knowledge to students. Successful online learners accept greater responsibility for their learning. They take the initiative for their learning, conduct additional research as needed, and don’t wait for faculty to tell them what to learn and do. They take advantage of the many different resources and learning opportunities that faculty present to them. They evaluate, reflect on, and question the information they are learning. They think about how their broader and long-term goals are connected to what they are learning in their courses. 

Engaged: Successful online learners are engaged and actively participate in their courses. They immerse themselves in their course learning. They build relationships with other students and faculty by introducing themselves and participating in online discussion boards and study groups. They ask and answer other students and faculty questions to enhance their learning and build bonds; they request clarification or guidance to avoid confusion. They are proactive in asking for help and reach out to others as soon as they experience challenges. They don’t hesitate to ask faculty for extra help if they have problems learning the material or fall behind in their assignments. They take advantage of all the learning opportunities that faculty provides and all the support services that the university provides.  

Maryland University of Integrative Health provides flexible and convenient online programs to pursue integrative health degrees and careers. Online degree quality is ensured through accreditation and rigorous academic standards, intentional design for the online environment using international standards, and faculty excellence in their field and in teaching. Online courses are student-centered and supported through a full range of online student services. Online learners engage with diverse perspectives and lived experiences, and can enhance their cultural awareness, understanding, competency, and responsiveness.    

Learning Outcomes: The Framework for Quality, Rigor, and Success

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Written by Deneb Falabella, Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation and Christina Sax, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs 

An important indicator of the integrity and quality of academic programs is that they are built on a defined set of learning outcomes. Learning outcomes state what students will be able to do after completing their courses and degree. They serve as the foundation for the curriculum, as the framework for consistent teaching and learning, and as a guide for assessing student learning. At MUIH, the learning outcomes are the same regardless of the online or in-person delivery format and which faculty are teaching the courses. MUIH is transparent in communicating the learning outcomes to students, faculty, and the public through its website, Academic Catalog, and course syllabi.  

MUIH’s learning outcomes are determined through an inclusive process involving the expertise of faculty and professionals in the field. This process ensures quality and rigor in learning outcomes, the curriculum, and teaching and learning. The academic department curriculum committees and faculty first develop learning outcomes with an eye to the critical and current knowledge and skills needed in the workplace in their field. These are then considered by the University Curriculum Committee, which is composed of representatives from all program areas as well as individuals with academic and assessment expertise. This committee provides feedback about the draft learning outcomes and endorses the final outcomes once they have achieved a set of educational quality standards. Finally, the learning outcomes are reviewed and approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.  

Together, these features are an indicator that MUIH adheres to high academic standards and that its programs are academically rigorous. This helps ensure the credibility and value of your degree in a competitive job market. 

MUIH has three layers of learning outcomes. These three types of learning outcomes are connected to one another and have increasing levels of specificity and detail. 

  • University Learning Outcomes (ULOs) 
  • Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) 
  • Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

University Learning Outcomes (ULOs) 

MUIH’s ULOs are written with the broadest scope and apply to all degree programs. They directly connect the curriculum to the university’s mission and vision, and its approach to integrative health. They articulate the common characteristics and essential learning outcomes that underlie all MUIH programs. While cross-cutting learning outcomes are common at the undergraduate level, MUIH is unique in having them at the graduate level. The ULOs identify and define elements that all students will know and be able to demonstrate by the end of their program. They lay the framework for all curriculum, how students will demonstrate their learning, and how learning will be assessed. They also connect the curriculum to the skills and attributes sought by employers after students’ graduation. MUIH has eleven ULOs: 

Business/Practice Management: Graduates apply best principles and practices in business management to sustain their livelihood while providing in-demand quality services to patients and clients.  

Cultural Responsiveness: Graduates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes to respectfully collaborate with individuals and groups of diverse and intersectional lived experiences, backgrounds, and identities. 

Discernment: Graduates analyze information from a variety of perspectives to make a reasoned judgment based on evidence and reflection. 

Ethics: Graduates apply ethical principles and standards in alignment with the guidelines of their profession to make decisions and take actions. 

Healing Presence: Graduates demonstrate professional qualities, relationship skills, and professional behaviors that support the innate wholeness of individuals and their capacity to heal themselves.  

Inter-professionalism: Graduates collaborate with individuals of other professions to address health and healthcare needs and maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values. 

Relationship-Centeredness: Graduates demonstrate awareness of self, individuals, and the community to develop shared goals, identify opportunities and barriers, and facilitate meaningful change. 

Research Literacy: Graduates access, evaluate, and apply the best available evidence to answer questions and inform decisions. 

Resilience: Graduates utilize personal assets, external resources, and positive coping strategies to adapt and thrive in changing environments. 

Scientific Principles: Graduates use knowledge of scientific concepts as part of analysis and decision-making in health and health care. 

Skillfulness: Graduates demonstrate proficiency in their field of study, integrating the knowledge and theories of their discipline into sound practice. 

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) 

PLOs provide more specificity than ULOs regarding what students will achieve within each degree program uniquely, based on the knowledge and skills needed in the workplace for the particular field. PLOs are published on each program webpage and in the Academic Catalog. The PLOs for all programs are also provided HERE. 

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) 

CLOs are nested within the PLOs and ULOs and represent the most specific and granular statement of learning goals. A scaffolding of CLOs across multiple courses supports the achievement of the PLOs and ULOs. In each of these courses, students are asked to learn to demonstrate their increasing level of knowledge and skill related to a PLO, and these multiple touchpoints provide opportunities to reinforce learning.   

For example, a program’s Discernment PLO and ULO are achieved through a series of discernment-related CLOs in multiple courses. Students are asked to learn to demonstrate an introductory level of discernment in early courses, a further developing level of discernment in midpoint courses, and a mastery level of discernment in later courses. CLOs are published in the course syllabi within the Canvas learning management system. 

MUIH Students Find Success After Graduation

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Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) is committed to supporting students in their journey to reach their career goals in integrative health. The Office of Career Services has been assisting MUIH students and alumni since 2017, with services such as career counseling, entrepreneurial advice, professional opportunities and more. 

In 2022, Director of Career Services, Robert Brooks, conducted an outreach campaign to all 2021 master’s degree graduates during their first year after graduation to aid anyone struggling to launch their integrative health careers as well as collect career outcome data from those currently employed or self-employed.  

Brooks explains “My process or philosophy is one of engagement. Long before graduation, I encourage students to meet with me, attend virtual career fairs, and prepare themselves to meet their future career goals.” This methodology allows Brooks to have an established relationship with many of MUIH’s graduating students, who are further along their career paths than they would have been otherwise. “Simultaneously, I am also engaging with employers by inviting them to post job leads, participate in virtual career fairs, and get to know our students in whatever format makes sense for them,” says Brooks. 

In Brooks’ outreach campaign, a “Next Destination Survey” was used initially to gather the career status from our 2021 graduates. The survey was sent in April, August, and December of 2021, followed by a continuous telephone and email campaign throughout the first post-graduation year. The rate of employment was calculated twelve months after graduation to provide graduates with enough time to pass any relevant licensure and certification exams.  

The career outcomes were classified into the following categories:  

  • Placed 
  • Not Yet Placed 
  • Prior Employment 
  • School 
  • CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialist) prep (for Nutrition graduates) 
  • Military 
  • Not in Workforce 
  • Unable to Contact 

The employment rate for our 2021 graduates was calculated by dividing those ‘Placed’ by the total number of ‘Placed’ plus ‘Not Yet Placed’. The rest of the categories were not counted in the statistics.  

What constitutes a placement? 

Graduates with a part- or full-time job in their field or anyone self-employed in a role related to their degree who reported earnings were counted as a placement. 

What constitutes prior employment? 

When a graduate decides to continue working at the position they held before enrolling, they are categorized as having prior employment. These are typically graduates already working in the health field who are enhancing their practice with their MUIH degree, or graduates who enjoy their current position and have no plans to change occupations. 

Career Results 

The outreach campaign included recent graduates from the acupuncture, health promotion, health and wellness coaching, nutrition, herbal medicine, and yoga therapy programs and each program’s career outcome was calculated separately.  

Overall, the Career Outcome Rate for our 2021 graduates was 81%. Out of the graduates categorized as placed, 58% found new positions working for someone else, including: 

  • 2 Yoga Therapist positions in the INOVA Cancer Care Institute 
  • Faculty positions at Penn State University, Emory University, and MUIH 
  • Grant Funded Yoga Therapy Researcher, funded through Florida Atlantic University 
  • Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Online Education 
  • Chef Educator at the University of Vermont Medical Center 
  • Society for Public Health and Education 
  • Sharecare 

63% of the graduates categorized as Placed are self-employed, with varying levels of progress.    

26% of Nutrition graduates (accounting for 9% of all graduates) are still in the preparation process for getting their Certified Nutrition Specialist designation, which is required to practice in Maryland and a few other states 

Read more in the full report under Post Graduation Employment in Student Consumer Information.  

Overall, the percentage of 2021 graduates employed within a year of graduation decreased slightly from 84% in 2020 to 81%, due in part to economic factors and poor forecasting by the online platforms and apps that hire remote health coaches, resulting in major layoffs. The pandemic continues to have an effect as well, with many of our graduates focused on finding remote work, which is the area that was affected most by the layoffs. 

When it comes to the challenges that have faced integrative health graduates and how they can be employed within the market, Brooks says, “During difficult economic times when there is an oversaturation of resumes flooding employer inboxes, employers especially look for the industry-recognized credentials such as NBC-HWC, CHES, CNS, and C-IAYT that MUIH programs lead to, as well as the graduate degree or certificate. Also, our graduates’ passion and determination help them to be resilient and continue to move forward with their career plans despite any obstacles.” 

After an in-depth analysis of the placement success for master’s degree graduates, there were other positive findings supporting the career outcomes. Many employment opportunities are available in integrative health modalities, and most graduates are finding them, even in the wake of a pandemic. However, graduates communicate the challenge of securing those jobs and that is where the support provided by the Office of Career Services leads our graduates down a path to success. Graduates had a better chance of success if they had fewer demands on their time and were comfortable with the ambiguity of non-traditional roles and a portfolio career while remaining resilient, determined, and self-confident.

The Enduring Legacy of the NADA Protocol

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Dr. Shannon Rojas

In the 1970’s following the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and soldiers returning home, communities all over the United States were suffering – especially marginalized, lower income Black, Brown and BIPOC communities.  In the South Bronx in New York, people were suffering in the wake of preventable diseases because of a lack of access to healthcare.  In an act of resistance, these communities began taking their health care into their own hands.  

It was there that community leaders began to mobilize, and an empowering spiritual and social revolution began. Through the studying of alternative methods and utilizing the whole person approach to healing (addressing body, mind, and spirit) that is core to many indigenous cultures, the protocol was developed. Led by the Black Panther Party and The Young Lords, activism, empowerment, and the use of alternative health care helped to propel these communities into a different and viable model for social consciousness, health, and healing. The study of acupuncture was central to this model and quest for health equity.  

Care was offered in what developed to be the Lincoln Detox/Recovery Program, where Dr. Michael O. Smith served as medical director and a major ally for the social consciousness and activism that was created within this annex of Lincoln Hospital. Serving as a drop-in community center that also provided medical care, Dr. Smith spearheaded more publicity and recognition around the need for care, and for the demographics served in this community. There, one would take a seat in a healing circle and receive 5 tiny needles in each ear.  Through this treatment, the 5-point protocol became a powerful tool for social change and consciousness.  

The 5-point protocol, also following the theory of the 5 elements, decreased cravings, anxiety, quelled anger, settled the nervous system, assisted with movement through grief and calmed the heart/spirit. Individuals received an opportunity to re-set, resolve and restore, raising their individual vibrations and that of the communities to which they belonged. Opportunities to build hope and start again were created. Changes began to occur and moved concentrically to families, to neighborhoods and into communities. The healing occurred one person at a time and continues. 

nata protocol

The protocol addressed a myriad of physical and behavioral health concerns and focuses on wellness and the art of being well, moving with intention, and practicing the art of listening and stillness amid chaos. The following are the spiritual descriptions of the 5-needle protocol:   

  • Point #1 – The Sympathetic Point – This Earth point correlates to serenity and works to calm the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It provides the calm and peaceful knowing that comes without doubt or scrutiny. It soothes the spirit, provides serenity (yin time); relieves fight, flight, freeze and fawn, and provides inner security. It slows the mind, calms circular thinking, and guides the body away from being reactionary and provides movement towards responsiveness. It brings forth the relaxed energy of late summer. This Earth point’s gift is empathy and creates firm ground to care for oneself and for others with grace and compassion.
  • Point #2 – The Shen Men Point – This Fire point, known as “Spirit Gate,” engenders a greater connection to self and others. It oversees the body’s circulation, the movement of blood, and the heart’s ability to love, exercise self-control, and communicate. It ignites the joyous energy of high summer. Love and a light heart are the gifts of this Fire point as it helps to guide us in how we circulate with ourselves and with others. It helps us foster a deeper relationship with ourselves as a bridge to deepening relationships with others and helps us to self-reflect and analyze our ability to be one with ourselves as a gateway to our connections with others.
  • Point #3 – The Kidney Point – This Water point helps to balance fear and courage, while providing calm and peace in the presence of “not knowing all the answers”. Its correspondence with winter’s powerful, yet quiet energy, helps to create a deep connection with both one’s ancestral wisdom and one’s inherent power. In balance, it provides us with the will to get through all difficult passages and has the fortitude to provide energy to fuel us through the most difficult challenges. This water point’s gift is stillness and intentional listening which help us to recognize the power of our inner knowledge and intuition, and the fortitude and will to move through difficulties with steadiness and strength.
  • Point #4 – The Liver Point – This Wood point is a conduit for the expression of free-flowing emotions and helps to clarify our thoughts. In balance, it allows for vision, creativity, hope, and planning. It assists us in seeing things outside of the box and to see things from different angles, giving rise to different considerations. Its spring energy reawakens the promise of tomorrow and increases the possibility for growth and change. One’s ability for transformation comes from this energy and helps to keep life moving forward. Hope is the gift of this Wood point.
  •  Point #5 – The Lung Point – This Metal point is associated with the ability to keep what is valuable and to let the rest go — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In doing so, space is provided for greater possibilities. Its corresponding season is autumn, and its connection is with grief and awe. Acknowledgment is this Metal point’s gift, inclusive of all things that have come before and passed. In balance, it allows us to navigate transitions, no matter how difficult, knowing that we must surrender to what is, and continue to move forward with life, in harmony. This point assists us with the true practice of moving with the rhythm of life: taking in and letting go, as we do with breath.  

The 5-needle wellness protocol is meant to support us throughout the day by bringing ease to life, privately, in community, and in whatever life circumstance or daily occurrence we find ourselves. We experience benefits such as better sleep, balanced mood, reduced fatigue, decreased pain, etc. This brings forth balance, ease, and peace. Treatments can last 20-45 minutes per encounter and can serve by being incorporated into one’s lifestyle/daily activities. It is geared toward daily activity/meditation and ongoing recovery. Whether by individual treatments or as a long-term goal or aspiration, one’s willingness and ability to be amidst stillness, creating a serene place, and allowing the heart to speak, as one listens, increases. 

As a result, in 1975, co-occurring with the beginning of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now MUIH), the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association was born and began serving as an educational and advocacy-driven organization. NADA is committed to training community leaders, members, and a variety of systems of care, on the social impact, necessary healing and empowerment of individuals that can be actualized with the use of the NADA protocol. The training is inclusive of the organization’s rich history in social change and consciousness and the importance of cultural responsiveness, in all facets of health care delivery. The training shines a light on the systems that work against all communities, contributing to the lack of access to health, therefore barring any semblance of health equity. 

Since the NADA organization’s inception, the use of the protocol has expanded. This evidence-based protocol is now used as an adjunctive treatment that works in concert with traditional methods of care addressing a myriad of behavioral health concerns and augmenting positive treatment responses to a host of other medically managed ailments. Its international and national presence is embedded in carceral states, educational facilities, health departments, medical centers, and community centers. Today, the protocol is utilized in the military, the VA (Veterans Affairs), general hospitals and is the foundation for the protocols utilized in Battlefield Acupuncture, Acupuncturists without Borders, and other trauma-informed treatment modalities. It is also a resource used in many settings where health care and wellness delivery occur. The protocol has historically been a gateway to community health, where seeds are planted, self-empowerment begins to sprout, and community liberation becomes the soil from which community growth and well-being can be cultivated. 

Because of the Lincoln Recovery Program’s revolutionary roots and status, it became a target for shut down by city and state officials. However, the legacy of Lincoln’s recovery is its power to continue its advocacy through the storytellers that came out of it. The Lincoln Recovery Center with or without walls, continues to impact change. I am one of those people who served there. That is how my acupuncture education began. In the trenches, I saw first-hand the power of transformation. The truth is embedded in history so that everyone recognizes the power of a people, a community when self-advocacy and education is at the core of revolutionary activities. It is truly a powerful movement when education is involved. Knowing what you are up against can allow you to mobilize efforts. That, coupled with the power of spirit, gives birth to all sorts of possibilities and is healing, in action, at its core.

Dr. Michael Smith and Bob Duggan, Founder and President Emeritus of MUIH, were contemporaries and friends. Both were committed to community and saw the healing potential when cultural responsiveness is deeply woven into the process. At the time, other faculty were also involved in weaving commitment to community into the acupuncture curriculum. From the very beginning, elevating all communities has been a part of the fabric of what we do at MUIH. This is a key element as to why so many, including myself, chose to study at MUIH. It is this commitment to the community to be a resource and an ally to the underrepresented and underserved. To be a vehicle for access while providing care in all communities, no matter the socio-economic standing. All communities should have the ability to choose integrative health models that speak to their whole selves. This is why I chose; we continue to choose MUIH.  

Acupuncture services are offered at the Maryland University of Integrative Health’s on-site Natural Care Center. In alignment with our commitment to community health and wellness, services are offered at the University’s internal and external clinic sites. 

Dr. Sharon Jennings-Rojas is the Department Chair for the Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Department at Maryland University of Integrative Health. Her 32-year career in the field includes a strong emphasis in community outreach, healthcare advocacy and healthcare access. In addition to her private practice, she also served as an acupuncturist for the Howard County Health Department from 2005 – 2012 and currently serves as the doctor of acupuncture and herbal medicine for the Howard County Detention Center where she cares for residents and staff. She trained as an AcuDetox Specialist at the Lincoln Recovery Center in 1991 and has been a NADA member for over 30 years. She now serves on NADA’s executive board and on the executive board for the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine.

The Community Health Initiative (CHI) program has been an integral part of Maryland University of Integrative Health’s (MUIH) acupuncture curriculum for decades. Our master’s level acupuncture students host FREE auricular (ear) acupuncture clinics each week during the trimester.  Join our meet-up group to stay informed on the schedule at all three locations in Maryland

5 Tips to Improve Your Heart Health

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heart health

February is American Heart Month, and while this is an important topic all year round, this is a wonderful time to raise awareness about making changes and choices to improve cardiovascular health. Understanding the root causes of heart disease can guide the development of preventative strategies, such as the use of integrative medicine and a holistic approach to self-care. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease mortality is increasing in working-age adults. As the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, it is crucial to be proactive about our heart health. Cardiovascular disease typically involves the development of plaque in the arteries that obstruct or reduce blood flow and can cause heart attack or stroke. Several factors contribute to plaque formation, including foods rich in sugar and cholesterol, excess stress, alcohol consumption, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.  

Depending on the specific illness, the symptoms of heart disease can show up as indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, excessive exhaustion, upper body discomfort, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet or ankles, excessive fatigue, fluttering in the chest, or chest pain and discomfort.  

How can we be more proactive in reducing our risk of heart disease? Here are some simple tips to consider to care for our hearts: 

  • “There are many aspects of heart health, and nutrition is part of it. We have an abundance of whole foods that are excellent sources of polyphenols. These are compounds found in whole foods and have antioxidant properties; they scavenge the free radicals which are formed in our bodies. Red wine in moderation, green tea, and chocolate are only a few to mention,” says Eleonora Gafton, Program Director Whole Foods Cooking Labs, and Associate Professor at MUIH.
  • Adopt healthier behaviors such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. As Gafton explains, “Even when something is good for us, we need to be mindful and not overindulge. In addition, our body makes its antioxidants like CoQ10, one of the most potent antioxidants that support our heart muscles. Most of us know about the supplement, yet we also have foods high in CoQ10, like wild-caught salmon.”
  • “Herbal medicines can offer a variety of benefits for supporting heart health. Hawthorne (Craetagus oxycantha) has a long history for supporting a healthy heart, and has been examined for its hypotensive and antioxidant effects. It is a safe herbal medicine and well tolerated, and a good place to begin if you want to add in extra support and prevention,” says Bevin Clare, Program Director Clinical Herbal Medicine, and Professor at MUIH.  
  • Monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels to keep your blood pressure under control. Increase your fiber, omega 3-fatty acids, fruits, nuts, avoid fatty foods, red and processed meats. Having regular checkups with your doctor can help to monitor and manage these health markers.
  • Learn to manage stress through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Have a supportive social network that you can rely on. Get the proper amount of rest by practicing good sleep hygiene and having a sleep schedule. Sleep tips include keeping your bedroom dark, taking a warm bath, and avoiding screens, such as smart phones, in the evening.  

Remember, these changes should become new habits for life. Following these tips can significantly reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. 

For 40 years, patients have received healing experiences from the Natural Care Center, the student’s clinic at Maryland University of Integrative Health. To craft a personalized nutrition plan, experience relaxation with yoga therapy and acupuncture techniques, and achieve balance with herbal medicine, call 443-906-5794 or visit  

What is Qi?

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what is qi

By Jeanie Free, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctorate of Acupuncture student at MUIH on What is Qi?

From the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective, Qi is the life force in the universe that moves constantly. It may sound mysterious, talking about something invisible. However, Qi, the vital essence, manifests in both physical matter and energy.

Think about the universe and the constant gravitational forces that have kept the planets in orbit around the sun for billions of years. It is the power of Qi energy. 

“Qi is energy produced by each cell, the binding force between those cells  

and the work they produce: the sum of all metabolisms.” – Dr. Daniel Keown.  

Qi energy is in all living organisms and manifests to support the function of each organ in humans and maintain the intrinsic energy that supports the homeostatic mechanism (e.g., regulating body temperature, hormones, or blood sugar in the body).  

TCM also looks at the balance between Yin and Yang where Qi is the Yang quality in the body and blood is the Yin counter part. The nutrients in blood nourish and support Qi while Qi takes the lead and directs the blood flow. When Qi and blood are sufficient and work well together, an optimal health state may be achieved. 

One way to conceptualize Qi and blood flow balance is to think of water pressure (Qi) and water supply (blood) in your home. When the water pressure (Qi) is insufficient, you experience weak water flow. With sufficient water pressure and low water supply (blood), you will also experience low water supply and hear air in the pipes. This is the concept of “internal wind.” The internal wind causes disharmony of the physical health with manifestations such as tremors, vertigo, severe dizziness, and numbness. 

How to help regulate and boost Qi? 

Qi Gong means “energy work” or “energy exercises.”  The Qi Gong exercises strengthen the circulation within our body with our mindful intention to achieve health, spiritual clarity, and longevity. You might have heard of the saying “Where the mind goes, the Qi follows.” This means that where we place our intention, awareness, and focus is where the Qi energy will settle.  

In other words, everyone has the capacity to regulate their own energy in the body. It takes practice to strengthen the body, mind, and spirit coherence with the Qi energy.  

How can Acupuncture Help? 

Acupuncture is a technique using hair-thin needles to access various acupoints on the body to promote natural healing by clearing blockages and stimulating the flow of Qi and blood based on the diagnosis. Some acupoints are used to promote relaxation which is very important to optimize whole-person healing.  

MUIH offers auricular treatment to the community at no cost. For individualized in-depth care, the Natural Care Center (NCC) on campus offers affordable treatment options as well. For more information, please visit: or contact 

Jeanie Free, is a licensed acupuncturist currently studying for the Doctorate of Acupuncture program at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). She is on a mission to deliver self-care awareness to help clients restore and maintain harmonious health on a whole-person level. 

Yoga Therapist vs. Yoga Instructor. What’s the Difference?

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Dr. Suzie Carmack PhD, MFA, MEd, NBC-HWC, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, who serves as the Department Chair of Yoga and Ayurveda, and Assistant Professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health, is an award-winning yoga therapist and #1 best-selling author who conducts presentations all over the world.  

In a recent interview, Dr. Carmack unpacks the differences between a Yoga Therapist and a Yoga Instructor: 

What is the difference between the training required for Yoga Therapists versus Yoga Instructors  

As their names imply, there are fundamental differences between Yoga Therapy and Yoga Teacher (Instructor) training programs.   

Yoga Teachers are trained to be educators — to lead groups in studio, gym, school, and community settings in the teachings and practices of yoga, much like a guide leads you through a museum. The timeline of a Yoga Teacher training can vary, ranging from a one-weekend workshop to a 200-hour or a 500-hour program.  

Different programs are available because there is no nationally accredited certification for yoga instruction; however, there is a registry that is run by the Yoga Alliance in which teachers can register as an RYT 200 or RYT 500. These designations imply that the registered yoga teacher has completed a Yoga Alliance-approved program of either 200 hours (RYT 200 Teacher) or 500 hours (RYT 500 Advanced Teacher). Although Yoga Alliance has curriculum standards that their approved programs must meet, each program has some flexibility in how they deliver their training program based on those standards. Each program can also choose to focus on a unique style or practice of yoga – for example, one program may focus on bringing yoga to schools while another program may focus on yoga for athletes, or supporting mental health.  

Most RYT’s (Registered Yoga Teachers) have been trained to become an expert in a particular style of yoga and may or may not have been trained to modify and adapt that style’s choreography and communication for the unique health, medical, and well-being needs of each individual student.  

By contrast, Yoga Therapists are trained in 800-hour programs to be patient- and client-centered in their delivery of yoga therapy in one-on-one and smallgroup settings. Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practices of Yoga” (IAYT Website) All Yoga Therapy programs are approved by our nationally accrediting body, the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and yoga therapists who complete these programs and take a national board-style exam earn the Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) credential. Although there is also some variety in the ways that IAYT-approved programs deliver their training, in terms of format and style or focus, all programs are required by IAYT to train Yoga Therapists to develop a program of care that is tailored to their clients’ unique health, medical, and well-being needs 

Is there an overlap between these two career paths? 

All Yoga Therapists are also Yoga Teachers, but not all Yoga Teachers are Yoga Therapists. Allow me to explain: 

All IAYT-approved Yoga Therapy programs require trainees to begin with at least 200 hours of Yoga Teacher (Instructor) training and 100 hours of experience teaching yoga. So, one can’t become a Yoga Therapist without first becoming a Yoga Teacher. On the other hand, not all Yoga Teachers continue their training after their RYT 200 or RYT 500-hour credentials to become Yoga Therapists.  

Although some Yoga Therapists move out of Yoga Teaching once they earn their C-IAYT credential, others choose to overlap their Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher roles. In the latter scenario, a Yoga Therapist may dedicate several days per week to their private practice of Yoga Therapy in a community or healthcare clinic setting and dedicate additional hours weekly to teaching yoga (as a Yoga Instructor) in studios, gyms, and schools.  

How much time does a client typically need to practice with a Yoga Therapist and Yoga Instructor to note a difference in their health? 

It may sound toogoodtobetrue, but it has been my experience as a Yoga Therapist and as a Yoga Teacher that clients immediately notice a difference in how they breathe, move, and engage with the day. Although people tend to think of yoga as a practice that requires a yoga mat, there are many ways to practice yoga in our lives and this means that it is a practice of transformation that creates change within the practitioner in how they feel and how they live. 

That said, beginners (first-time yoga practitioners) are advised to start with a well-trained Yoga Instructor or certified Yoga Therapist and not try to go it alone and on their own. I have friends who play golf who say you should only start playing golf with a trained golf professional so you can avoid common mistakes and make the practice your own. The same holds true for Yoga! 

What are some common health needs where a Yoga Therapist is recommended? 

We know that 70 – 80% of the public has at least one chronic health condition, and yoga therapy can be helpful for all of them! That said, most Yoga Therapists focus their private practice on working with clients and patients with a particular medical condition, such as heart disease, anxiety, or chronic pain 

Is it often the case that a person who benefits from Yoga Therapy can also improve their health by  participating in Yoga classes? 

This depends on the client/student. In some cases, Yoga Therapy can help the client modify their practice of yoga so that they feel more empowered to adapt their practice to their own needs when taking a yoga class. In other cases, yoga classes may be contra-indicated for the client. For example, a prenatal client should not be attending a hot yoga class, because she is practicing for two, and her unborn baby does not yet have the same ability to thermoregulate (deal with extreme differences in temperature) as Mom does. In a similar way, a client with anxiety and depression may need a trauma-informed practice adapted to their unique mental health needs, and not all classes are trauma-informed. In addition, yoga teachers guide a group, so they do not always have time to give individual attention to participants. And, because of health privacy concerns, many students in yoga classes may not feel comfortable sharing their unique health needs in the ‘open forum’ of a class setting. 

What personal aspects contribute to the success of a yoga therapist or instructor? 

We are living in an exciting time for yoga. In the last five years, the number of yoga practitioners has grown to 20% of the U.S. population alone, and in the last three years, the number of research articles focusing on yoga has grown exponentially too. With all this demand comes the need for yoga instructors and yoga therapists with a wide variety of skill sets and demeanors, who can meet the clients they are meant to serve in their own unique way. As I say in my book Genius Breaks, every person has a genius within them, including Yoga Therapists and their clients as well as  Yoga Instructors and their students. Both fields focus on integrity, inclusivity, and the willingness to meet clients where they are. For example, I am a “type A” person, and I love working with senior and servant leaders who struggle with perfectionism. Yoga and its gift of self-compassion help me with my perfectionism daily, and I love paying this forward for my clients. In this way, every yoga teacher and yoga therapist can bring their full selves forward, and their students and clients will benefit! 

How would you compare the costs between a Yoga Therapy session and a Yoga class?  

I am glad we can bring this difficult but important topic up and out into the open here. 

Because yoga is a practice that helps people to “let go of stress,” it may be surprising for anyone reading this to hear me say that pricing is an issue that causes significant stress for both Yoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists. Some Yoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists choose to offer free or discounted classes or sessions as part of their service (philanthropy) to the world. Meanwhile, other Yoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists choose this field as their career and charge anywhere from $10 per class or more (teaching) to $150 per session or more (yoga therapists). Some yoga teachers and yoga therapists fall somewhere in between – charging for most of their sessions and classes and donating or discounting a portion of them. (This is like most small businesses – who must earn revenue to stay afloat but also believe in giving back). 

It is my belief that we should be charging more for both services, and that is why I do. About 20 years ago, I attended a talk with author and speaker Carolyn Myss, where she gave an example, “If you wanted to hire a lawyer that had 20 or more years of experience and specialized training in your unique problem, you would think nothing of paying $500 or $1000/hour — if you had the means to do so, right? So why do we healers not ask for what we are worth?” Before hearing this, I had burned myself out giving yoga away for free to clients and in community settings. Although I enjoyed helping, I realized I was undervaluing my worth and the worth of this yoga practice. I took this as a personal challenge and started asking for more of an investment from my yoga class students and yoga therapy clients. Years later, I learned that this was good not only for me but for them; the science of consumer behavior teaches us that as people invest more financially in a problem, they are more committed to solving it.  By asking for more from my paying clients, I also have more ability to ‘give back’ through my service work and philanthropic efforts. 

MUIH’s Master of Science in Yoga Therapy Program

MUIH offers the first and only master’s degree in yoga therapy in the U.S. Graduates are prepared with the comprehensive foundation in the theoretical, scientific, and experiential training of yogic teachings and practices needed to provide a therapeutic relationship in conventional health care and medical settings. Graduates apply and integrate the teachings and practices of yoga with contemporary science and evidence-informed practice to evaluate the needs of clients and to design balanced and effective programs tailored to address their individual health challenges. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Committee of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).

Top 10 Easy Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter by Amy Riolo

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stay healthy this winter

In our recent live discussion, How to be Healthy This Winter, Sean Rose, Sarajean Rudman, and Sherryl Van Lare from the Maryland University of Integrative Health shared numerous ways to feel healthy in winter.  This blog reveals 10 easy ways to use herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and nutrition to stay in top shape all season long and beyond!  

As temperatures turn colder, strategies to stay healthy become even more critical. The global medical community is currently challenged with curing new viruses and conditions without known cures. Boosting our immunity is a powerful way to take charge of our health and prevent illnesses. Whether you are looking to stay healthy or recover from an illness, herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and good nutrition can help. 

Try making the following tips a part of your daily ritual: 

  1. According to Ayurvedic principles, consume more warm and oily foods during winter to balance the cold, windy, and dry season. It is essential to eat at the warmest time of day – at midday – when the sun is brightest.  
  1. Make meals a ritual – mindful and intentional eating will aid your body’s digestion and allow you to absorb nutrients. 
  1. Herbal Medicine tries to counteract the coldness and dryness of winter by boosting metabolism and increasing circulation to stay warm. If you often have cold hands and feet, boost your circulation by moving your body, and drink warm foods and tea or tisanes to warm yourself from the inside out.
  1. Food provides our body with the nutrients and information it needs to function. Carotenes, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin D help to stimulate our immune response in several ways. Eat foods that contain all colors of the rainbow to receive the variety of nutrients that you need to stay healthy, and consult your nutritionist or health care professional to see if supplements are right for you. 
  1. Use herbs in steams and potpourris. Simmer a mixture of cinnamon sticks, citrus peels, clove buds, and star of anise on the stove and let the scent permeate your space. Evidence shows that the volatile oils released into the air from steam could have antimicrobial effects if someone feels sick.
  1. Cinnamon and ginger are spicy and warm, and those tastes tell us they will warm us up. They can be used often in your daily winter recipes or as needed!
  1. Drink warming herbs and spices! Cardamom, black pepper, rosemary, and turmeric have warming qualities and can be blended into tisanes. Adaptogens such as holy basil, ashwagandha, and medicinal mushrooms can help the body’s immune response.
  1. Control excess mucus with cooked oatmeal, flax seed tea, cinnamon, and mullein which contain mucilage and can help reduce excess mucus.
  1. Slowing down is important in winter. Nature goes dormant in winter because there is less energy in the air. It is important for us to do the same.
  1. Eat foods that are in season. If you reside in a colder environment, these might include onions and garlic, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, winter squash, apples, and citrus. Pumpkin seeds, elderberry, citrus peel, and rose hip also provide a variety of components that help us stay healthy in winter.

Please visit for more information about our herbal medicine, nutrition, and Ayurveda programs. Be sure to access our recipes for more nutritious and delicious ideas as well.  

Why It’s So Difficult to Keep New Year’s Resolutions –and What You Should Do Instead

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Looking for ways to make and keep New Year’s Resolutions? The start of a new year is an excellent opportunity for reflection, evaluation, and recharging ourselves with the memories of all we have accomplished and learned during the last twelve months. This is also the perfect time to rethink, evaluate, and set new goals. In other words, it is the ideal time to build new habits and improve in many aspects of your life. So why do resolutions get such a bad rap?

We often struggle to keep our new year’s resolutions. Sometimes we get discouraged because setting resolutions can be easy but maintaining them and achieving them throughout the year can be tricky.  Still, setting a vision of what you want to accomplish during the new year can give us a clear map and guide us to a self-care plan. We must make time for ourselves to nurture our bodies and minds.

Why is it challenging to keep new year’s resolutions?

Often our resolutions are based on what we think we should do rather than what we really want to do or what is possible for us to do. We set goals that are impossible to achieve or that don’t align with our values. We may raise our expectations too high and wind up disappointed when we can’t meet them. Our brains are programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain, so it is difficult to modify old habits that are hardwired, fulfill a purpose, and generate satisfaction, even if they are no longer serving us. It is important to remember that change is challenging and staying motivated and disciplined can take time. 

Nowadays, there are many distractions, and maintaining a focused mindset to prioritize our goals can feel like you are swimming upstream. Some distractions generate joy and pleasure (hello, social media!). In this case, we must be strong and determined to overcome them, knowing that achieving our long-term goals is more important and meaningful.

Being organized and choosing a day of the week to plan your schedule and think about what you need to do to accomplish your resolutions can be extremely useful. 

First, we must aim to set our sights on a longing or a dream that makes us want to achieve our goals. Then, set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely or that will help us make progress towards our goal. Think about setting short-term goals and ask yourself how and when you will achieve them. Consider rewarding yourself for accomplishing small steps to keep you motivated. We must also learn to recognize our own beliefs that limit us; and for this, meeting with a counselor or a health and wellness coach can be of significant help

The best thing about a new beginning is to start again, rethink past behaviors and experiences, deepen something we already like, or try something new.

Aspects of your life that may be good places to focus a New Year’s resolution include

  • Moving your body for energy and flexibility
  • Feeling safe and comfortable in the places where you work and live
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone for personal development
  • Consumption of food and fluids for nourishment
  • Finding ways to rest and recharge
  • Relationships with family, friends, and coworkers
  • Increasing your connection to spirit and soul
  • Harnessing the power of the mind for healing

In many ways, looking back on the past helps us understand ourselves better and make positive progress forward. It also aids in identifying skills we already possess but may not be aware of. Because of this, it’s never too late to get to know yourself and determine what changes may be good for you.

MUIH’s Professional Continuing Education has designed a FREE and Ultimate Resilience Reset Journal that can help you calibrate and organize your life with different planning methods, meaningful reflections, build healthy habits, and help you succeed with your goals throughout the year.

To deepen your personal development and help others along their journeys, Maryland University of Integrative Health offers two complementary master’s degrees. Our Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching prepares students to aid individuals in introspection, goal setting, behavioral change, accountability, and goal achievement. Our Master of Science in Health Promotion prepares you to design, implement, and manage community and workplace health education programs and/or identify community health barriers and advocate for community health initiatives.