Clinical Herbalism, Therapeutic Herbalism, and Health & Wellness Coaching
“It may be easier in the short term to pop a pill to suppress a symptom, but getting to the root cause of disease is where real healing takes place. We all have the ability to improve our lives and levels of wellness regardless of where our suffering originates.”
What drew you to MUIH?
I was drawn to MUIH because of the integrated systems philosophy, an understanding that all things are connected and that optimum health is intrinsically connected to natural biorhythms and our relationship with the environment at large. I was also drawn to the fact that MUIH’s teaching philosophy combines a long history of multicultural traditional wisdom with current scientific research. It offers a broad-based perspective in ways of understanding.
What excited you about your academic field?
I am excited about so many things in the field of therapeutic herbalism and health and wellness. I love the idea of empowering people to achieve their maximum health and happiness by first exploring and then living their values and by obtaining balance in their lives. I also like the idea of health care based on a whole person approach and personalized herbal formulas targeted to support the body in its own healing capacity. It may be easier in the short term to pop a pill to suppress a symptom, but getting to the root cause of disease is where real healing takes place. We all have the ability to improve our lives and levels of wellness regardless of where our suffering originates, and I believe this is possible using a bio-psycho-social or whole-person model as found in clinical herbalism.
Has there been a course you’ve particularly enjoyed?
I really loved the field work on endangered medicinal plants deep in the forest of Ohio. We were able to take our classroom learning of photochemistry and pharmacology and foundations of health and wellness out into the field to gain a deeper understanding of how the health of our eco system is directly linked to our own health. We were provided a real opportunity to observe the “soil to clinic” aspect of herbalism. Our field work was also an opportunity to develop deeper bonds with our classmates and professors that I believe will ultimately last a lifetime.
Can you speak about the faculty here?
The faculty is amazing and passionate about what they are teaching and hold a diverse array of skills. Not only are they leaders in the field of herbalism but they are very well connected to modern day pioneers, actively advancing the field of herbalism across the world and I feel honored to have been taught by all of them. I look to my professors as wise mentors guiding a new generation of herbalists so that we will be able to expand on this important work and share it with others as they have done for us.
Can you talk about your experience with online learning?
I was concerned about going to an online format for some of my classes because I thought I would lose the benefits gained from rich classroom discussions. But instead, the online format I believe has taken classroom discussions up several notches. In an online format everyone has the ability to research topics before submitting comments into a discussion group. At the end of an assignment or discussion I have several authoritative resources for a given subject as well as the unique insights and opinions of my classmates. This format not only allows for a broader coverage of information within a course but I can work from home at times most convenient for me.
What’s your best MUIH memory?
My best memory is coming into class one weekend when all of my classmates were feeling overwhelmed and stressed out to the max. Our professor sensed the overwhelm in the classroom and instead of continuing with our lessons as planned she took us all outside to the open field by the herb garden. We formed a circle holding hands and she began to tell us what it means to be an herbalist and how privileged we are to have such opportunities to positively impact the lives of others. Another one of our beloved instructors came outside to reflect for a few minutes before he was to teach a large incoming class. He saw our group and quietly came over and joined in the circle. We all went back inside ready to focus and get to work with a sense of renewed energy. I realized then that a large part of our education at MUIH is to gain new perspectives and work collaboratively and sometimes that requires appropriate moments of pause in order to realign with our ultimate goals.
How will you use what you’ve learned here?
I began integrating my newly learned perspectives regarding health and wellness within my first few trimesters here at MUIH. I am currently Director of Healthcare Interiors at a Baltimore architectural firm (designing the interior architecture of hospitals) and began to draw deeper connections between the design of the built environment with the potential to positively impact the health and well-being of patients, families and healthcare staff. I unexpectedly was able to apply the healing power of design to current projects based on the EBD principles and traditional healing philosophies I was learning about in my Foundations of Health and Wellness class.
My long term goal is to open a clinical herbal practice and apothecary and to work as a healthcare team member in an integrative medical practice. I am seeing such positive results in the work we are doing with therapeutic herbalism in the Natural Care Center at MUIH that I want to continue on with this clinical work.
What would you say about MUIH to a prospective student who is interested in attending?
Attending MUIH will broaden your perspectives regarding health and wellness regardless of which discipline you choose to study. You will make life long connections with other like-minded students in this very unique University and you will join the many graduates whose goal it is to maximize quality of life through attitude, attention, and connection to nature. I believe, as do many others, that MUIH is at the cutting edge of a paradigm shift in the way health care is delivered in our country.
What is the one word that comes to mind when you think of MUIH?
Bethany Ziman is a graduate of MUIH’s Master of Science in Therapeutic Herbalism and Master of Arts in Health and Wellness Coaching. She is currently enrolled in the Post-Master’s Certificate in Clinical Herbalism.