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Treating Anxiety Through Nutrition

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Treating Anxiety through Nutrition

Written by By Dr. Ann Ije, ND

What is anxiety? 

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

What role do neurotransmitters play in anxiety disorder?

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

Nutrition and Anxiety Support 

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

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

Natural Care Center (NCC)

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

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

References: 

Uma Naidoo, M. D. (2019, August 28). Nutritional strategies to ease anxiety. Harvard Health. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-strategies-to-ease-anxiety-201604139441 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders  

The Benefits of Massage for TMJ

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Written by Missy Steger, LMT

How Does TMJ Develop? 

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

Symptoms of TMJ 

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

How Massage Helps  

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

I Feel Your Pain 

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

Natural Care Center (NCC)

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

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

References

Dimitroulis, G. Management of temporomandibular joint disorders: A surgeon’s perspective. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/adj.12593) Australian Dental Journal. 2018;63 Suppl 1:S79-S90. 

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint & Muscle Disorders. (https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tmj) Accessed 4/23/22. 

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

The Practice of Mindful Eating – Exploring the Research

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By Keegan Abernathy MS, CNS, LDN

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

Mindful Eating vs. Mindless Eating

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

What Is Mindful Eating?

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

Researched Effects of MB-EAT

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

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

Natural Care Center (NCC)

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

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

References:

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

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

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

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

Legal Tips for Integrative Health Professionals: Why it Pays to be Legally Covered

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Legal Tips for Integrative Health Professionals: Why to Pays to Be Legally Covered

By: Lisa Fraley, MUIH Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) Guest Faculty, JD, CHHC, AADP, Legal Coach®, Attorney, Speaker & #1 Best Selling Author

If you’re like most holistic health entrepreneurs, you’re probably thinking:

The last thing I want to do is deal with the legal stuff in my business.
Why are lawyers so expensive anyway?
Do I REALLY need to have legal documents on my website and for use with clients?

Can’t I just grab something cheaply off of the internet? Or better yet, can’t I just copy my friend’s legal document?

I know, I know. It’s not everyone’s idea of fun to get your legal documents in place. (Especially if you’re getting them without any Legal Love™ coming your way.)

You just want to:

  • focus on what you do best – working with clients and changing the world.
  • get what legal doc is fastest, easiest and cheapest, so you don’t have to spend too much money (or really ANY money).
  • buy some really cheap legal doc from an online service or use someone else’s document in your field.

Aren’t all legal docs essentially the same anyway?

Nope! They aren’t all the same.

Like with most things, when you’re trying to take a shortcut or the easy way out, you get what you pay for. The cheap version breaks. It gives out. It ends up being flimsy. It doesn’t hold up.

The same is true when it comes to legal documents.

Legal Love Tip™: Copying your friend’s legal document could make it worse. 

Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. It may not even fully cover you.

If your friend cut and pasted the wrong language from the internet or used someone else’s document, you could be exposed.

You could be getting a chopped up, piecemeal document (that neither you nor they know is piecemeal).

You could use a document that doesn’t even apply to you.

You could copy someone else’s legal document and make it worse than not having one at all.

One health coach client came to me to have me review her Client Agreement… only it was a template she got off the internet for a CONSTRUCTION company. She had no idea it was full of language that made no sense for a health coach and that could hurt her. I kid you not.

Even if a document was initially prepared by a lawyer, I can’t tell you how many times people try to edit their own legal documents and make mistakes.

Both of you could end up using legal language that doesn’t sufficiently cover either of you which can leave you open to giving refunds or dealing with conflicts and confrontation from clients or other people.

  1. It could be a violation.

Unbeknownst to you, copying a friend’s document is actually taking (some might say “stealing”) work that someone else paid for.

You might be violating their copyright rights. You might be using the document without permission.

Even if they say “it’s okay” to copy their document, it might not be okay. They could be violating copyright laws by giving it to you. Don’t put them or yourself in that position.

  1. It can be bad karma.

Copying someone else’s work probably isn’t truly in alignment with your core values and the type of person you want to be.

It can be bad juju. It can be low-vibe.

It’s not showing respect for your work or business or for other people’s work or business.

Did you know that when you put legit contracts and terms in place, you support your sacral chakra?

Your sacral chakra is your 2nd chakra down in your hip region “where all of the good stuff lives”, as I like to say. When you use high vibe (not copied!) legal documents, you’re aligning yourself with expansiveness, abundance, and boundaries associated with the sacral chakra.

You’re showing respect for your business – and as you do so, other people will tend to show your business trust and respect too.

Here’s to taking the time to get the right legal documents and legal tips for integrative health professionals for YOUR business by doing it right and honoring yourself and your biz – and not copying others’ docs.

As a MUIH PCE Partner*, we’re excited to extend a special 10% discount to the MUIH Community on all Legal Love trusted DIY Legal Templates with the promo code MUIH at checkout! 

With Legal Love™,

P.S. Hear more about these reasons and also receive 3 tips for choosing the right documents for you in this previously-aired Legally Enlightened Podcast Episode HERE. And if you need help with getting legal docs for your biz, just hit reply and let us know. We’re always happy to help or to refer you to another attorney who can help you.

Easy legal steps for entrepreneurs and small business owners – with lots of Legal Love™.
Get free legal tips, DIY legal templates and online legal courses at lisafraley.com

Legal Tips for Integrative Health Professionals

Legal Tips for Integrative Health Professionals

*Affiliate Disclosure:  MUIH receives a referral commission on all purchases made through the MUIH partner link with the exclusive MUIH partner discount.  There is no additional cost to you by using this link, and your generous support allows us to offer more Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) programming in the future.

Why Sports Nutrition is Changing and Becoming a Required Subspeciality

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by Dr. Oscar Coetzee – Associate Professor/Clinician/Researcher

What is Sports Nutrition?

Nutrition is one of the fastest growing professions in the world according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. It will grow as a profession between 15% – 22% in the next five years, and it is estimated due to the chronic illness in the USA, the demand will outweigh the supply. The integration of the Functional Medical Paradigm all over the world in education, is setting nutritional professionals apart from any other medical specialty, as the true success of functional medicine lies in the nutritional intervention and lifestyle modifications. Thus, many subspecialities are forming in nutrition, and the one still on the outside looking in, is sports nutrition. 

The Importance of Sports Nutrition

Every aspect of sport performance enhancement today is at the highest level through the evolution of computer science and high-level biomedical research. Yet, in sports nutrition it is still about macros and calories, and pretty much a one size fits all approach. Some diets like Carbohydrate loading, Ketogenic or Paleolithic and certain nutraceuticals are highly touted for sports performance, but none of these have been truly investigated through proper research in the scientific literature. Bio-individuality seems to be left out when it comes to sports nutrition specifically. Various electrolytes, antioxidants, fatty acids and branched chain amino acids are frequently promoted as the all-encompassing nutrients for top athletes. But are they? Is it possible that for one athlete a specific amino acid or antioxidant can be a friend and for another a foe? As a part of my practice, I have worked with professional athletes for more than 15 years. I have sculpted my assessments and interventions through trial and error and created a new area of sports performance that I term Psychonutrigenomics. In collaboration with Diagnostic Lab Solutions, my team and I have been able to take sports performance, sports nutrition and sports immunity to a level of total athletic individuality. Through the implementation of this approach, we have had various international victories and successes, taking our athletes to the peak of individual achievement. 

It is time that we march to a different drummer, time to truly evolve the field of sports nutrition and performance by integrating the individual assessments of metabolic, physical, genetic, biochemical and psychological markers. As an example, mental clarity and anxiety control can come from proper nutrient absorption through the conversion of amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine. They convert into neurotransmitters (NT) serotonin and dopamine, which in turn convert into some catecholamines like epinephrine and norepinephrine. These NT and catecholamines have everything to do with focus, motivation, concentration and athletic performance and they require iron, vit. C and B6, and SAMe.  These micronutrients can only be obtained through food and supplementation, of which most humans in the USA are deficient. In addition to this, some people have issues genetically in converting these, and others are just in a state of malabsorption due to overtraining or intestinal permeability, thus they cannot have these intermediates convert properly. The science of nutritional assessment has come very far, and today we can determine if you have a genetic shortcoming, if you are immunocompromised, if you are malnourished, if you have an energy conversion deficit or all the above. 

In order to evolve athletes to optimal performance from a bio-individual perspective; the athlete needs to be assessed at 5 levels:

  1. Psychology of performance – assessing personality performance profiling. 
  2. Proteomicsthe large-scale study of proteins, and their involvement in human performance. 
  3. Metabolomicsthe scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites, the small molecule substrates, intermediates and products of metabolism, as it relates to energy and athletic performance. 
  4. Nutrigenomicsthe scientific study of the interaction of nutrition and genes, especially with regard to the optimizing performance.
  5. Microbiomesthe study of the totality of microorganisms and their collective genetic material present in or on the human body and the effect on human performance, recovery and immunity. 

In partnering with Diagnostic Solutions Lab, we incorporate various functional tests, to determine the origin and baseline of each athlete, in order to design the appropriate intervention strategy not only for performance but also recovery, something that is very often overlooked in professional athletes. 

Various tests we use from DSL to assess the above criteria: 

  1. The GI-MAP’s accuracy and reliability allows practitioners to create personalized treatment protocols to address gut dysfunction. Although qPCR is becoming more commonplace in in-vitro diagnostics (IVD), DSL is the only laboratory in the United States exclusively using qPCR technology for advanced comprehensive stool testing. This technology is used routinely in clinical and academic research because it provides highly-accurate quantification, as well as high levels of sensitivity and specificity. Standard PCR technology doesn’t offer the same level of sensitivity, or the ability to express precise numerical results.
  2. GenomicInsight provides a global view of the interconnectedness of SNPs and offers access to information that reveal lifestyle and therapeutic recommendations that may influence a gene’s expression and function. The role of genomics and epigenetics is recognized as an important tool in monitoring, preventing, and treating dysfunction. Furthermore, medical literature supports that epigenetics (the impact of the environment on gene expression) plays a critical role in human health. GenomicInsight with Opus23 Explorer identifies how the function or dysfunction of one gene impacts the expression and function of a separately-related gene or SNP. 
  3. Labrix introduced neurotransmitter testing in 2012, meeting the need for non-invasive solutions for practitioners who wanted a more comprehensive view of the body’s functional neuroendocrine status. Doctor’s Data neurotransmitter testing utilizes HPLC Triple Quadrupole MS/MS technology which is proving to be the most sensitive and accurate methodology for measuring urinary neurotransmitters. This testing has higher sensitivity and has stronger results reproducibility than has been available through other methodologies; this gives you far greater confidence in the reported results.
  4. Functional Blood work overview. All our athletes are also screened through their CBC and CMP panels from a functional perspective to review any underlying, or early-stage chronic inflammation or metabolic issues that can inhibit performance. Looking at conventional blood markers and assessing them based on optimal levels.  Too often people fall into “normal” ranges on their blood work performed by their doctors, and although they feel sick, they are told everything is normal.  By taking a deeper look, and combining regular blood work with additional functional markers, a more comprehensive assessment can be made regarding one’s current performance and in the future. In a 2019 review article by Pedlar et al. they found that serial blood test data can be used to monitor athletes and make inferences about the efficacy of training interventions, nutritional strategies or indeed the capacity to tolerate training load. Via a profiling and monitoring approach, blood biomarker measurement combined with contextual data has the potential to help athletes avoid injury and illness via adjustments to diet, training load and recovery strategies. Since wide inter-individual variability exists in many biomarkers, clinical population-based reference data can be of limited value in athletes, and statistical methods for longitudinal data are required to identify meaningful changes within an athlete. 
  5. Organic acids are chemical compounds excreted in the urine of mammals that are products of metabolism. Metabolism is the sum of chemical reactions in living beings by which the body builds new molecules and breaks down molecules to eliminate waste products and produce energy – understanding energy is vital in athletes. Organic acids are most commonly analyzed in urine because they are not extensively reabsorbed in the kidney tubules after glomerular filtration.  Thus, organic acids in urine are often present at 100 times their concentration in the blood serum and thus are more readily detected in urine.  

How to Use Sports Nutrition in Practice

Once we have reviewed all the above information, we can build a nutritional protocol for athletes, around their genetic makeup, assisting in the weaker areas of the genetics, through a strong nutritional prevention strategy. We can assess inflammation, metabolic energy status, and the levels of immune suppression by looking at the other markers, and design intervention strategies to address those issues. 

This level of scientific precision and assessment on an individual nutritional level, is not going to be the exception but the rule for future professional athlete intervention. The change of a higher level in the standard of care has already begun for competitive athletes and weekend warriors. Using these tools at our disposal will help us in the future better understand the different needs of different kinds of athletes, and the level of stress and depletions these sports put on our bodies. 

Maryland University of Integrative Health is one educational institution that is taking the lead in enhancing this new subspeciality.It’s Masters of Nutrition and Integrative Health also trains the future nutritionist at a level of superior functional assessment by investigating all the above biochemical assessments in some of their core courses. The best way to become a good sports nutritionist is to have a very good base education in the overall nutritional sciences. 

In conclusion as biochemist Dr. Roger J. Williams states in his book “Biochemical Individuality”: There is no such thing as an average person, we are all genetically and biologically unique. But when sperm meets egg, our characteristics are not locked in stone, bad genes do not necessarily cause disease by themselves, and nutrition and environment can alter the outcome.

Resources

Pedlar, C.R., Newell, J. & Lewis, N.A. Blood Biomarker Profiling and Monitoring for High-Performance Physiology and Nutrition: Current Perspectives, Limitations and Recommendations. Sports Med 49, 185–198 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-019-01158-x

Integrative Health at MUIH

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Integrative health is commonly defined as the coordinated use of multiple health approaches in health care, and it also describes a holistic perspective of what it is to be healthy.

At MUIH, we promote integrative health as a holistic approach to health and well-being. We consider the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual domains of health and wellness. We also consider a range of contributing factors including the environment, personal behaviors, and genetics. Our educational and clinical practices are grounded in a whole-person and relationship-centered perspective that supports collaboration between the patient and the healthcare team. We aim to empower individuals to become informed, take personal responsibility, tap into their inner resilience, and choose the best options for themselves. We use approaches that are evidence-informed and tailored to each individual.

Trauma Recovery in Our Collective Pandemic Experience

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Trauma Recovery in Our Collective Pandemic Experience

We have been living under the spectre of a global pandemic for a long time. To varying degrees and in diverse ways, we are all feeling it. Whether you are grieving lost loved ones, suffering long stretches alone, rising to the demand of being a front-line worker – even if you are enjoying the chance to slow down – the constant bandwidth of following protocols wears at resilience. 

Continue reading…

Consider Becoming a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition

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At the Maryland University of Integrative Health, our Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) program is one of the only two doctoral programs in the country offering advanced training and education in integrative and functional nutrition. We encourage any registered dietitians, nutritionists, and other clinicians who are interested in advancing their nutrition-related skills and knowledge to apply for a DCN. You’ll be inspired by what this advanced degree can do for your career and the communities you serve.

What is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition?

A doctorate is an advanced degree that signifies a person has developed mastery in their given field of study. As a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition, graduates of the MUIH DCN program achieve the highest possible degree available in their field. Successful graduates are recognized as topic experts with enhanced credibility.

How can a doctorate advance my career?

A DCN is an advanced clinical degree, which provides a professional with applied skills and cutting-edge knowledge that can be used in clinical settings, academic settings, and research settings, specifically as they relate to integrative and functional nutrition. This is a great way for RDs, RDNs, and other clinicians to contribute to the growing body of scientific literature related to nutrition, advance the field of nutrition as a whole, and help patients, organizations, and communities within the clinical practice setting.

Professionals who have earned a DCN are able to:

  • Conduct nutrition assessments and care plans for individuals and groups
  • Serve as educators in higher education
  • Serve as nutrition consultants for organizations, including government agencies and nonprofits
  • Deliver clinical care in conventional and functional medicine practices
  • Conduct clinical research
  • Publish original research in peer-reviewed journals

Job Opportunities for Doctor of Clinical Nutrition

Earning a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition degree allows someone who is already working as a RN or RDN to make a major shift or advance in their career. As a certified expert within the field of integrative and functional nutrition, DCN professionals can find themselves making a contribution in a variety of settings, including:

  • Schools and universities
  • Health care systems, including hospitals and community clinics
  • Private practices
  • State, local, national, and international health departments
  • School systems
  • Athletic and recreational organizations, including professional sports teams

Because a DCN provides a professional with such a breadth of knowledge, many graduates are also able to offer their skills and expertise in a variety of positions and professions, instead of remaining within one full-time position. This provides individuals with greater flexibility and enhanced networking opportunities.

Doctor of Clinical Nutrition Salary

Given that a DCN provides such expansive career flexibility, the possible earning potential of a DCN is expansive, as well.

RDs typically earn around $55,000 annually, and RDNs typically earn between $65,000 and $75,000. As an educator with a DCN degree, this salary can jump to $80,000 or more. In private practice, nutritionists with doctoral degrees can earn upwards of $100,000 to $200,000 a year.

The Path to Becoming a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition

The path to becoming a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition varies depending on where you begin your journey. At MUIH, we make it easy to help you get started and fulfill your admission and degree requirements.

Master’s Degree Pathway:

Master’s degree applicants must hold one of the following two credentials: Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) by the Board of Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS) or Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN) by the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board (CNCB).

Alternatively, Individuals with a Master’s degree in a clinical field nutrition who have fulfilled all required prerequisites are permitted to apply to DCN programs. Prerequisites at MUIH include:

  • Nutrition (9 graduate level credits including macronutrients, micronutrients, and life cycle nutrition )
  • Biochemistry (6 graduate level credits)
  • Physiology or Anatomy and Physiology (3 credits at graduate or undergraduate level acceptable)
  • Clinical, Life or Physical Sciences (12 credits – graduate or undergraduate level acceptable, including biology, botany, micro-biology, nutrition science, and organic or inorganic chemistry; in addition, three credits of statistics/research literacy may be applied towards the 12-credit requirement)

Registered Dietitians (RDs) Pathway

In addition to fulfilling basic application requirements, Registered Dietitians who wish to pursue a DCN must also:

Upon successfully completing the DCN, RDs may also earn eligibility to sit for the Registration Exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.

Doctor of Clinical Nutrition Courses

MUIH offers a range of evidence-based, up-to-date courses that invite students to learn, research, and hone their clinical skills in functional and integrative nutrition. Expect to develop mastery in innovative topics such as:

  • Immune, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, endocrine, metabolic, and neurological systems as they relate to nutrition and lifestyle
  • How to conduct a nutrition focused physical exam
  • Epigenetics and bioethics as it relates to nutrition
  • Detoxification
  • Designing research and participating in academic journal writing

Conclusion

Never before has the role of nutrition been more important in improving both individual and community health. As leaders in their field, Doctors of Clinical Nutrition are able to help people identify the root causes of their disease symptoms, understand how their environment and lifestyle influences their well-being, and learn how a holistic and personalized approach to nutrition can optimize their quality of life. Successful DCN candidates are also able to advance the field of nutrition as a whole, both as researchers and as educational leaders who can guide future professionals into an exciting and growing career.

Contact MUIH today to learn more about our DCN program, apply now, or register for one of our Doctor of Clinical Nutrition Program Webinars!

Wondering How to Become a Yoga Therapist? Here Are Our Top 10 Tips

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This holistic mind-body practice has been around for thousands of years and is currently used all over the world by people from all walks of life. Yoga has an impressive list of health benefits—from reducing stress to relieving low back pain—and has even been studied as an adjunct treatment for chronic health conditions like anxiety disorders, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obesity.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, yoga has even been shown to help people quit smoking and improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Clearly, yoga has the potential to change lives for the better!

If you’ve been thinking about turning your love of yoga into a career that allows you to help others, becoming a yoga therapist might be a perfect step for you.

What is a Yoga Therapist?

This might be helpful to remember—all yoga therapists are yoga teachers, but not all yoga teachers are yoga therapists.

Here’s what we mean:

To become a yoga teacher, you have to undergo at least 200 hours of certified training. A person who aspires to become a yoga therapist must undergo this 200 hours AND fulfill advanced training at a certified accredited school.

To earn their certification, a certified yoga therapist must complete at least 800 hours of rigorous training (in addition to the 200 hours needed to become a yoga instructor) that provides an even deeper understanding of anatomy, physiology, and yoga theory, as well as topics that bridge the gap between Eastern and Western philosophies of medicine and healthcare.

Yoga therapists must also log at least 100 clinical hours working with clients, generally done in one-on-one or small group settings.

The end result? A yoga therapist is a highly trained individual who can guide and instruct people through yoga sessions that are coached in a more therapeutic setting. These professionals are skilled at modifying and adapting their yoga sessions to the specific and sometimes sensitive needs of their clients, including those who are dealing with prior trauma or mental health issues.

Working with a yoga teacher can be excellent for your well-being. But due to their advanced training, yoga therapists are better equipped to help clients learn how to manage or reduce chronic health symptoms, improve their quality of life, and develop greater personal empowerment.

You might think of this as the difference between venting on the phone to a friend versus discussing personal issues with a licensed mental health counselor. Both avenues may help, but the latter is likely to provide more significant and lasting benefits. Such is the experience of many people who work with certified yoga therapists.

Now the question is:

How do you become a certified yoga therapist? Here are 6 tips to get you started.

Tip 1: Regularly Attend Yoga Classes

Before investing time and money into a yoga career, you want to make sure you like yoga! Look up classes in your area and start attending regularly. It’s also a good idea to start taking a personal inventory by asking yourself questions like:

  • Why do I want to become a yoga therapist?
  • How much can I afford to invest in my training?
  • What style of yoga and/or what groups of people do I want to work with?

Tip 2: Get Involved

Once you’ve started regularly attending yoga classes, the next step is to ask your yoga teacher or mentor for advice about how to get started. At this stage in your journey, you should establish yourself in your local yoga community and find your preferred style of yoga.

Tip 3: Become a Certified Yoga Teacher

Remember, becoming a yoga teacher is only the first stepping stone to becoming a yoga therapist. That means you’ll need to apply for and complete at least 200 teacher training hours in a certified yoga program. You’ll also want to make sure you explore which types of yoga you want to specialize in (e.g., Vinyasa, Hatha, power, hot, Sivananda Ashtanga, etc.).

Yoga therapy programs require a teaching certification through a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS®) or its equivalent. The specific certification you’ll earn depends on the number of teacher training hours you complete and other factors. Teaching certifications include:

  • Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT®) 200
  • RYT® 500
  • E-RYT® 200, RYT® 500
  • E-RYT® 500

There are also specialty certifications you can choose to pursue, including Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT®) and Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT®).

Note: RPYT® and RCYT® do not satisfy the full 200 hour requirement to become a certified yoga teacher.

Tip 4: Start Teaching

Most yoga therapy courses ask that you have at least one year of teaching under your belt before you apply. So, once you’ve become a certified and licensed yoga teacher, it’s time to start teaching! Teaching is the best way to hone your skills, expand your networking opportunities (handy for references, which you’ll need to apply to yoga therapy school), and help you clarify where you’d like your yoga career to take you.

You can find a job as a yoga teacher by word-of-mouth referrals, networking with your yoga colleagues, or even looking up local listings.

Tip 5: Choose the Right Yoga Therapy Program

As is the case for all higher education tracks, not all yoga therapy programs are the same. So, once you’ve been teaching yoga for about a year and are ready to start your yoga therapy training, you’ll need to do your research and make sure you find the right one for you.

When selecting a yoga therapy program, be sure to ask about things like:

  • Program costs and scholarship opportunities
  • Prerequisites and course credits
  • Program format and schedule
  • Job opportunities for graduates
  • Will this program allow you to work in a clinical setting?

As an example, the Master of Science in Yoga Therapy at MUIH offers an integrative hybrid experience for students who have earned a minimum of 200-hour Teacher Training through a Yoga Alliance 200-hr registered school program or its equivalent. We’re proud to say that 86 percent of our recent graduates are employed or self-employed within a year of graduation.

Tip 6: Decide Where You Want to Work

There are so many different ways to practice yoga therapy, which makes it a great option for people who like to have some flexibility in their careers. As a yoga therapist, you can find work in a clinic, gym, institutional setting, or school. You can even start your own private practice.

Conclusion

Yoga therapists are highly skilled professionals who are trained to teach yoga in a therapeutic setting in individual or small-group settings. Yoga therapy is an increasingly popular field with many career opportunities for people who are interested in holistic healing practices within the context of Western medicine.

For more information on how to become a registered yoga therapist and what yoga therapy programs are like, check out the Master of Science in Yoga Therapy at the Maryland University of Integrative Health! We have also added a Post-Master’s Certificate in Therapeutic Yoga Practices. To decide which program is best for you, review our chart to find your fit!

The Difference Between a Yoga Therapist and a Yoga Teacher

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What’s the difference between a yoga therapist and a yoga instructor?

 

Yoga Therapist Yoga Instructor
Audience Work one-on-one and in group settings with clients in a therapeutic relationship. Work with groups of people and teach general yoga classes.
Approach Help clients address health concerns and achieve relief from physical and emotional pain through the practice of yoga. Helping clients to cultivate greater wellbeing through the practices of yoga. Teach students how to perform yoga poses and practices.
Focus Focus on the individual goals and needs of clients and use therapeutic practices tailored to mitigate symptoms, restore wellness, improve function, and avoid re-injury.  Focus on yoga poses and alignment, breathing, meditation, and relaxation for general maintenance of well-being and exercise.
Emphases Emphasize personal empowerment of clients in self-care. Emphasize correct yoga technique.
Progress Measure the impact of therapy over time and adjust therapeutic practices based on clients’ progress. Provide opportunities for the structured and regular personal practice of yoga.
Collaboration Collaborate with other health care and medical practitioners to provide integrated care. Collaborate with other yoga instructors in learning and designing classes.
Settings Private practice, conventional health care and medical settings, hospitals and hospital systems, and health and wellness centers. Yoga studios, fitness clubs, gyms, and corporate settings.

 

Which Type of Yoga Therapy or Yoga Program is Best for Me?

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MUIH’s Post-Master’s Certificate is best if you …

  • See yourself primarily as a licensed health care provider in a field other than yoga.
  • Want to add therapeutic yoga practices to your current licensed health care work.
  • Want to incorporate yoga’s mind-body protocols in individualized plans tailored to clients’ needs.
  • Want to continue in your licensed field in conventional medical and health and wellness settings.

 

MUIH’s M.S. Yoga Therapy program is best if you …

  • See yourself primarily as a yoga therapist.
  • Intend to establish a private practice as a yoga therapist.
  • Want to work one-on-one and in groups with clients in a therapeutic relationship using yoga therapy.
  • Want to develop individualized yoga therapy plans tailored to clients’ needs
  • Want to develop group yoga series for populations with specific needs.
  • Want to work in conventional medical and health and wellness settings as an integrative health professional.

 

A Yoga Teacher Training program (not offered by MUIH) is best if you …

  • See yourself primarily as a yoga teacher/instructor.
  • Intend to teach yoga classes.
  • Want to work with groups of people.
  • Want to use standardized sequences of yoga poses.
  • Want to work in studio settings.