Category: Happenings at MUIH

Ritual and Remembrance: The Power of Autumn Celebrations in Modern Life

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Autumn has long held a fascination for those who value reflection and nostalgia. The vibrant colors of changing leaves, the cooler temperatures that beckon us indoors, and the traditions that come with fall all contribute to a season rife with meaning. Among these traditions are two potent celebrations that shine a light on the importance of ritual and remembrance: Halloween and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). 

Originating from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, Halloween marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. The Celts believed that on this night, the boundary between the living and the dead blurred, allowing spirits to return to the earth. Rituals, including the donning of costumes, were employed to ward off any malevolent spirits.  

In modern times, Halloween has morphed into a celebration filled with costumes, candies, and frightful delights. But beneath the commercial façade lies a subtle, yet significant, nod to the past and the unknown. The practice of dressing up, carving pumpkins, and even telling ghost stories retains a semblance of our collective history and the human desire to connect with and remember our ancestors. 

Día de los Muertos
While Halloween dances with the unknown, Día de los Muertos embraces it. Originating in Mexico but celebrated across Latin America, this festival is a colorful and joyous tribute to the deceased. Altars, or “ofrendas,” adorned with marigold flowers, candles, photographs, and favorite foods of the departed are set up in homes and cemeteries. The intention isn’t to mourn but to celebrate life and the belief that death isn’t an end, but a continuation of the journey.  

The Role of Integrative Health 
 In our fast-paced world, the need for meaningful rituals and moments of remembrance has never been greater. As mental health challenges rise and societal pressures increase, many are turning to integrative health approaches and health and wellness coaching to find balance.  

Integrative health, which combines conventional medicine with alternative therapies, often emphasizes the importance of holistic well-being. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and traditional herbal remedies can be seen as rituals in themselves, tools that connect individuals to ancient wisdom and provide grounding in the present. 

Health and Wellness Coaching, on the other hand, guides individuals in creating personalized strategies for healthier lifestyles. Through this process, many rediscover the power of daily rituals—whether it’s a morning walk, journaling, or a mindful eating practice. These rituals, while modern, serve the age-old human need for consistency, reflection, and connection. 

Bridging Past and Present Through Ritual and Reflection
As autumn unfolds and we engage in festivities like Halloween and Día de los Muertos, let’s remember that at their core, these celebrations emphasize the beauty of life, the mystery of death, and the importance of memory. Just as we turn to integrative health and wellness coaching to address modern challenges, we can also draw inspiration from age-old traditions to find grounding, purpose, and connection in today’s world. In embracing both, we bridge the gap between past and present, ensuring that the rituals and memories that have shaped us continue to guide and enrich our lives. 

The Natural Wonders of MUIH: The Western Herbal Dispensary

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The quest for holistic health and wellness has led many to explore alternative and natural remedies. The Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has long been a pioneering institution in the field of integrative health, and one of its standout resources is the Western Herbal Dispensary. This herbal haven is a treasure trove of botanical wisdom, offering a range of benefits that cater to the diverse needs of its community. In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of the Western Herbal Dispensary and why it’s a vital resource for those seeking a more holistic approach to health.

Access to a Wealth of Knowledge

MUIH’s Western Herbal Dispensary is staffed by highly trained herbalists and practitioners who possess a wealth of knowledge about the medicinal properties of plants. This expertise ensures that visitors receive tailored recommendations and guidance on selecting the most suitable herbal remedies for their specific health concerns. Whether you’re a seasoned herbal enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of natural healing, the dispensary offers a valuable educational experience.

Customized Herbal Formulations

One of the standout benefits of the Western Herbal Dispensary is the ability to access personalized herbal formulations. The staff at the dispensary takes into account individual health goals and specific requirements, crafting bespoke remedies that target unique health challenges. This tailored approach goes a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of herbal treatments.

High-Quality, Ethically Sourced Herbs

MUIH places a strong emphasis on sourcing herbs of the highest quality, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices. This commitment to sourcing premium ingredients ensures that the herbal remedies created at the Western Herbal Dispensary are both potent and environmentally responsible. By choosing these products, visitors can feel confident in their healing journey while also supporting sustainable practices.

Complementary Healthcare Solutions

The Western Herbal Dispensary doesn’t operate in isolation. It’s an integral part of MUIH’s broader approach to integrative healthcare. This means that visitors can access a variety of complementary therapies and services that align with their herbal treatments. Whether it’s acupuncture, nutrition counseling, or yoga therapy, MUIH offers a holistic approach to well-being.

A Community of Support

The Western Herbal Dispensary at MUIH isn’t just a place to pick up herbal remedies; it’s a community that fosters support, learning, and growth. Visitors can connect with like-minded individuals who share an interest in natural health, forming a network that can provide emotional support and camaraderie on their wellness journey.

Empowerment Through Knowledge

MUIH’s commitment to education extends beyond the classroom. The Western Herbal Dispensary empowers visitors to take control of their health by providing them with knowledge about the herbs and remedies they use. This educational aspect is invaluable for those who wish to understand the healing properties of plants and incorporate them into their daily lives.

Enhancing Overall Wellness

The Western Herbal Dispensary is more than just a resource for addressing health issues; it’s a hub for enhancing overall wellness. The remedies available here can be used for preventive health, helping individuals maintain their well-being and vitality. This proactive approach to health is at the heart of MUIH’s philosophy.

The Western Herbal Dispensary at MUIH stands as a beacon of natural healing and integrative health. Its benefits extend far beyond the dispensing of herbal remedies, offering visitors a holistic approach to well-being, empowering them with knowledge, and connecting them with a supportive community. It is a unique and valuable resource of the Herbal Medicine academic programs, which provides the tools and space for students to get hands-on experience creating, formulating, and compounding herbal preparations. The dispensary is also a source of high-quality, custom-compounded formulations produced for clients of the MUIH Natural Care Center and clients of MUIH alumni. Whether you’re seeking a personalized herbal remedy, education on botanical healing, or a network of like-minded individuals, the Western Herbal Dispensary has something to offer. It is, without a doubt, a valuable resource for those embarking on a journey toward holistic health and wellness.

Embracing Health Literacy: The Power of Herbal Medicine and Nutrition in Personal Advocacy

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October’s Health Literacy Month is a global advocacy initiative that underscores the importance of understanding and interpreting health information. As we reflect upon the essence of health literacy, two modalities stand out for their profound influence on personal health advocacy: herbal medicine and nutrition. These pillars, deeply rooted in nature’s wisdom, empower individuals to take charge of their health and make informed decisions that resonate with holistic well-being. 

The Essence of Health Literacy 

Health literacy encompasses the capacity of individuals to obtain, process, and understand fundamental health information and services, enabling them to make informed decisions. This involves: 

  • Deciphering Health Information: Grasping key details about one’s health conditions, medications, and management strategies. 
  • Navigating the Healthcare System: Understanding the intricate workings of the healthcare landscape. 
  • Open Dialogue: Facilitating transparent communications with healthcare providers to address concerns and receive tailored advice

Integrative Medicine & The Wider Spectrum 

Integrative medicine, marrying conventional and alternative treatments, accentuates holistic health, considering the entirety of an individual—mind, body, and spirit. Such an approach encourages patients to actively participate in their wellness journey, often integrating preventive practices with symptom management. 

Herbal Medicine: Nature’s Healing Touch 

An age-old practice, herbal medicine taps into the curative power of plants, offering a natural, holistic approach to healing. 

Key Insights: 

  • Natural Remedies: Predominantly using plant-based ingredients, herbal medicines tend to have fewer side effects and promote holistic healing. 
  • Preventive Focus: Numerous herbs bolster the body’s natural defenses, paving the way for preventive healthcare. 
  • Tailored Healing: Herbal treatments can be personalized, considering individual health needs and challenges. 

Nutrition: The Cornerstone of Wellness 

Undoubtedly, nutrition forms the bedrock of health. It’s a testament to the adage, “You are what you eat.” 

Key Highlights: 

  • Balanced Intake: A diet rich in essential nutrients supports optimal bodily functions and vitality. 
  • Combatting Chronic Ailments: Appropriate nutritional choices can serve as a shield against chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart ailments. 
  • Conscious Consumption: Mindful eating promotes healthier eating habits, cultivating a more informed relationship with food. 

Synergizing Herbal Medicine and Nutrition 

  • Enhanced Awareness: Gaining insights into herbal medicine and nutrition empowers individuals to make health decisions that align with their personal beliefs and objectives. 
  • Constructive Conversations: Knowledge fosters meaningful engagements with healthcare professionals, allowing patients to seek integrative health solutions. 
  • Wholesome Approach: Both modalities prioritize holistic health, addressing the root causes of issues rather than just managing symptoms. 

MUIH: Championing Health Literacy and Advocacy 

Maryland University of Integrative Health stands as a beacon in integrative health education with its distinguished herbal medicine and nutrition programs. MUIH’s holistic curriculum cultivates well-informed advocates equipped with both traditional wisdom and modern insights. As Health Literacy Month unfolds, MUIH’s role in fostering informed health decisions and personal advocacy shines ever brighter. 

Hispanic Heritage Month: Importance of Family and Food

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hispanic heritage month

Latin, Spanish and Hispanic cultures are renowned for their rich traditions, vibrant celebrations, and deep sense of community. Among the core elements that define these cultures, two stand out as paramount: family and food. In this article, we will explore the profound significance of family and food in Hispanic cultures and how they intertwine to create a unique and cherished way of life.

Family: The Foundation of Life

In Latin and Spanish cultures, family is more than just a group of relatives; it is the cornerstone of one’s identity and support system. Families are known to be close-knit, often spanning multiple generations, and offering unwavering support in both good times and bad. The importance of family is embedded in the very essence of these cultures and permeates every aspect of life.

Familismo is a cultural concept deeply ingrained in Latin and Spanish societies. It emphasizes the central role of the family in an individual’s life. Family members are expected to prioritize their immediate and extended families above all else, and this value fosters strong bonds that endure throughout generations.

Celebrating Milestones Together

Family gatherings are frequent and filled with warmth and love. From birthdays to weddings to religious ceremonies, every significant milestone is an opportunity for family members to come together, celebrate, and reinforce their connections. These gatherings are characterized by laughter, lively conversation, and, of course, delicious food.

Food plays a pivotal role in Latin, Spanish and Hispanic cultures, transcending mere sustenance to become a form of expression, tradition, and connection. The cuisine of these regions is diverse, flavorful, and steeped in history.

Traditional Dishes: A Taste of Heritage

Each Latin American and Spanish region boasts a unique array of traditional dishes. From paella in Spain to beans and rice in Mexico, these dishes are a celebration of cultural identity and heritage. Preparing these recipes often involves passed-down family secrets and techniques, preserving a sense of continuity.

And meals are not just about nourishment; they are a means of bringing family members together. Whether it’s a casual weekend barbecue or an elaborate holiday feast, sharing meals is a cherished bonding ritual. It’s a time when stories are shared, traditions are passed on, and familial ties are strengthened.

Along with family gatherings, festivals have become a large part of tradition with food being at the center. Hispanic cultures are known for their vibrant festivals, and food is an integral part of these celebrations. From Dia de los Muertos in Mexico to La Tomatina in Spain, festivals often feature traditional dishes that showcase the unique flavors of each region.

Cultural Identity in Food

The bond between family and food in Latin and Spanish cultures is undeniable. These two elements intersect in myriad ways, reinforcing the importance of both. For many, preparing traditional dishes is an act of love and devotion to family. The effort and care put into cooking are tangible expressions of affection. Grandmothers, in particular, are often revered for their culinary skills, passing down recipes through generations.

Family recipes are a means of preserving tradition and cultural identity. They carry with them the stories of ancestors and the flavors of home. Teaching the next generation to prepare these dishes is a way of ensuring that the culture lives on. Family gatherings, centered around food, provide opportunities for reconnecting and strengthening familial bonds. These gatherings are essential moments for storytelling, laughter, and the sharing of life’s joys and sorrows.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting the love, nourishment and importance that family and food provide and enrich the lives of those who embrace these cultural values. As we celebrate these enduring traditions, let us recognize and appreciate the importance of family and food in Latin and Spanish cultures, and perhaps, in our own lives as well. After all, there is nothing quite like the warmth of a family’s embrace and the taste of a well-prepared family recipe to bring joy and meaning to our lives.

Co-Curricular Learning: A High-Impact Practice for Academic and Career Success

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online learning

Christina Sax, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs  

An MUIH graduate education includes three types of learning experiences. They combine to develop holistically prepared integrative health professionals: 

  • Curricular learning 
  • Co-curricular learning 
  • Extra-curricular learning 

Curricular learning is the primary means of learning in an MUIH academic program. This occurs in courses, and it is the traditional type of learning that you think of when consider earning a degree. This involves acquiring, mastering, and applying knowledge and skills specific in a particular field.  

Also important are two types of parallel learning experiences that occur outside of courses – co-curricular and extra-curricular learning. Both broaden learning and add value to the degree. These informal and optional learning experiences play a key role in supporting students’ professional, career, and personal development. 

Co-curricular learning occurs through structured activities designed to complement and extend the formal curriculum. These activities align with the degree and are part of the overall program-specific learning experience. They support the formal learning that occurs in courses. At MUIH, co-curricular learning occurs through activities such as the research symposium, student journal and research clubs, health equity speaker series, integrative grand rounds, telehealth and healing presence mini-enhancement courses, professional and continuing education courses, career community roundtables, and guest speakers, webinars, and workshops focused on timely and practical topics in the field of integrative health and practice management. 

Extra-curricular learning occurs through activities that provide the opportunity to cultivate personal knowledge and skills that support academic and career success. This learning goes beyond preparation for a particular occupation. It equips students with transferrable skills and strategies that allow them to be agile, resilient, and successful in a variety of occupations and settings. At MUIH, extra-curricular learning occurs through activities designed to build resilience and wellness, an understanding of your learning style and personality type, strategies for focused work, time-management and study skills, and understanding and respect of the cultures and unique perspectives of others. 

What are the benefits of co-curricular learning? 

Co-curricular activities give students the opportunity to extend what they learn in their degree program. They are designed to reinforce and enhance course learning and work. They also support students’ achievement of their Program Learning Outcomes and the University Learning Outcomes for all students. Such experiences exist beyond, and in interaction with, formal learning in courses. 

  1. Co-curricular learning is experiential. Students can hone the knowledge and skills gained in courses. They can put ideas into practice by engaging in practical settings with other integrative health professionals. Students have the flexibility to explore and try new ways of thinking, solving problems, and answering questions in a low-stakes and ungraded environment. They can generate new knowledge. These learning activities offer the opportunity to gain experience beyond reading, watching videos, and listening to others.
  1. Co-curricular learning creates personalization. Students can become a co-creator of their holistic curriculum and can personalize their learning experience. Because co-curricular learning activities are informal and optional, students can choose the experiences that match their interests and goals. Students can explore emerging areas of interest and subspecialities in their field that are not covered in their courses. Students can directly express their own values, goals, and interests, and connect them to their degree program.
  1. Co-curricular experiences are collegial. Students, faculty, and alumni are invited to participate in MUIH’s co-curricular learning activities. They engage as peer colleagues in a professional learning community. Students bring their unique and prior experiences and their program learning into the educational exchange. This community of practice offers the opportunity to engage with integrative health professionals from multiple fields. This diversifies students’ perspectives and strengthens their ability to understand and work with a wide range of professionals after graduation.
  1. Co-curricular opportunities are transformative. These learning experiences provide ever-expanding development opportunities. They broaden horizons and perspectives. Students can reflect on their inner talents and aspirations, such as their leadership qualities, creative skills, and comfort level with public speaking. They can discover an aspect of their field, a career path, and professional characteristics they did not know about before. These experiences help students sharpen skills and attributes that employers seek – critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills.

Why is co-curricular learning strategic for career advancement? 

Engagement in co-curricular learning experiences can enhance employability and career success. These activities prepare students for their future in practical ways. 

  1. Co-curricular experiences are future focused. They provide the opportunity to participate in authentic scenarios like those students will encounter after graduation. Students can build comfort and confidence in these situations while still in school. They can learn how to contribute and make the most of these situations in their career. Such scenarios include discussing patient or client cases with practitioners from other fields, debating the implications of peer-reviewed journal articles, sharing research findings through poster presentations, and questioning guest speakers from across the country about their care models.
  1. Co-curricular learning promotes a T-shaped education. Students gain depth and breadth. The formal curriculum (the vertical part of the T) develops a depth and a strong disciplinary core. Co-curricular learning experiences (the horizontal part of the T) develop breadth. A T-shaped degree provides deep knowledge, skills, and expertise in one area and a broad base of general supporting knowledge and skills. This foundation leads to an adaptable degree and professional. Graduates can apply and transfer what they have learned to different and changing settings and circumstances. Employers value these same attributes in a rapidly evolving workplace.
  1. Co-curricular engagement demonstrates professionalism. Your participation in optional co-curricular learning experiences signals to employers that you are committed to your ongoing professional and career development. It communicates that you are motivated and curious. It indicates that you take initiative and responsibility for your professional growth. Highlighting your participation articulates your personal brand and the distinctive value proposition you bring to an employer, collaborator, patient, or client. 

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