By: Kayla Calhoun (Guest Writer/Intern from Towson University, Class of ’19)
Let me set the stage for you. I walk down to the first floor of the Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM) building, which is a part of the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, and down the hallway off to the right of the main entrance until I make it to a sign that says, “Well Room”. The room is the size of a normal office, however, instead of a set of desk and chairs, there is a seated massage chair in the middle and yoga mats laid against the opposite wall. There is an aromatherapy diffuser emitting a soothing lavender scent, soft music coming from a speaker resting on a cabinet, and dim light, gently illuminates the area. I am standing in the doorway of CIM’s brand-new Well Room.
Massage Session Impressions
Many of our staff and faculty contributed suggestions for random acts of kindness that any of us can do throughout the day all year long. Below are a few of our suggestions. Additionally, we have some self-kindnesses listed to encourage self-care because it's difficult to take care of others if you don't take care of yourself.
Let's spread kindness!
By Lyssa Balick, MS
Insulin resistance is a condition where your body does not respond properly to insulin and as a result, your body cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Over time, this can make it hard for your body to control glucose and may lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of glucose and insulin circulating in their blood at the same time (1).
Both aging and lifestyle factors can affect the way your body produces insulin. Factors that lead to higher insulin resistance include:
While genetics and aging do have an impact, small changes in lifestyle factors can make a big difference.
By Elizabeth Parker, PhD, RD
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 recommends consuming a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of foods, which includes a variety of vegetables and fruits. But did you know that most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables? On any given day, Americans over the age of 2 years consume less than 1 serving of fruit and less than 1-½ servings of vegetables, far below the recommended intakes.
Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients and fiber that helps your body stay healthy. In addition to providing key nutrients, eating fruits and vegetables while staying within your body’s recommended caloric needs, can help you control your weight.
By Termeh Feinberg, PhD, MPH
When envisioning this blog post, it was challenging to decide where to begin because digestion is such a complex function of our bodies; there is no one size fits all approach, and when we are able to pinpoint strategies (natural or otherwise) that work for us, we are often beset with disappointment when our tried-and-true approaches stop being so effective. The gut, composed of ever-changing networks of bacteria, has such an influence on our physiology and resulting digestive health outcomes. Negative changes to these bacteria and their respective relationships, including environmental changes, are factors which influence our gut health. These and other changes result in discomfort among some individuals. There are a number of natural approaches employed (each with varying degrees of evidence) for strengthening one’s digestion, including:
By Michelle Pearce, PhD
Over one third of people in the US are on a diet. Even when diets are successful, 50% of people gain the weight back after 12 months or less. With 70% of Americans obese or overweight, we desperately need to find a way to better manage our weight and take care of our bodies.
Thankfully psychologists have figured out a more effective way of eating and managing our waistlines. What they have discovered is not a diet or a weight loss gimmick. It’s not about prioritizing one type of food over others or banishing a food group from your plate. In fact, it has less to do with what you eat than with how and why you eat. This more effective way of eating is called mindful eating.
By Kevin W. Chen, PhD, MPH
As part of traditional Chinese medicine practice, Qigong refers to the mind-body exercises that integrate breathing, mind, and body adjustments into one. Although not all Qigong forms were created for healing purposes, there are many documented health benefits from different Qigong practices, and heart health is one of the well-studied areas. In this short blog, I would like to summarize the known benefits of Qigong practice for heart health based on scientific literature.
By Michelle Peralta
It’s a new year and a new you! Many people make the mistake of having big goals without the proper stepping stones to reach them. Sometimes we do not know where to start or who to ask. Other times we can be so overwhelmed with the vast number of options available to us. Here is a list of phone apps tested by our team and friends that can provide you support as you live a healthier 2017 and beyond.
By Brian Morrison, DC
Don’t just sit there! “Sitting is the new smoking,” wrote Dr. James Levine in his book, Get Up!: Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It. In an L.A. Times interview, he proclaims: “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
I am frequently asked by patients which chair I recommend for their office or cubical. My reply? “The one you get out of!”
By Kalpana Shere-Wolfe, MD
This is a time of year where regardless of our cultural and spiritual backgrounds, we celebrate love, family, peace and hope. It can be easy to get swept away or overwhelmed with preparations, holiday meals, parties, and gift giving. As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season approaches, staying grounded and centered can be more important than ever. Meditation is a wonderful way to achieve this but as the yogis clearly understood stilling the mind is easier said than done. Sound is a wonderful tool for facilitating meditation – it can soothe, tame and center even the most chaotic and busy minds. Whether you are a novice or a long time meditator, sacred sound can keep peace, joy and light at the forefront of the holidays.
Sound is universal and timeless. Peoples from all beliefs, backgrounds and times – ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Shamans, American Indians, Aborigines and more - have used sound for healing and transformation. There are many examples of sound being referenced as a primordial force in our existence. In Vedic tradition, sound is considered a means to link with the Divine or Universal Force – “tasya vacakah pranavah”. The American Indians reference a Spider-Woman who created all forms of life and breathed life by singing Creation song. In the Christian tradition, the Bible states “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
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We have great classes for health professionals throughout the year.
Learn more here.
Healing Pathways: Self-Care for Healthcare Providers
April 11-May 20, 2018
Learn more here.
Yoga Teacher TrainingLearn more here.
Applied Integrative Medicine
A Hands-On Training for Healthcare Practitioners
Learn more here.
Self-Healing Retreat for Cancer Patients
May 13-19, 2018
Learn more here.
From the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School:
Join us as we participate in the 2018 International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health
May 8-11, 2018
Learn more here.