The best form of fulfillment comes from the amount of joy you may experience from helping those that need it without expecting anything in return. We are brought here to be in connection with each other.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Martin MSOM L.Ac, LMT.
Elizabeth Martin is a licensed acupuncturist that focuses on the four pillars of Chinese medicine: acupuncture, manual therapy like cupping and massage, herbal medicine, and meditative modalities such as Qi Gong to treat emotional imbalances. She specializes in treating woman’s health, allergies, cancer, anxiety, and more. Elizabeth is the owner of Hands On Acupuncture in Long Island, NY. Her practice focuses on educating our patients in the holistic modalities that can complement western medicine and bridge the gap between Western and Eastern Medicine.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Iwas a Martial Artist for 7 years, so the Asian culture always intrigued me. I had gotten injured in competition and after my primary care doctor told me it would be a six-month recovery, my instructor told me to try acupuncture. I tried acupuncture and I healed in less than 6 weeks. I was intrigued by Chinese Medicine and have always been an out-of-the-box thinker. It has been amazing to be able to have a job that I love that is helping others on a large scale. I have also personally been through childhood trauma and it was through the work of holistic and Chinese medicine that I have been able to live a mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fulfilling life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
One of the best things that have happened to me in my career is that I have the ability to change people’s lives. Over and over I have people that come into my office looking for relief from things that a lot of times cannot be identified with Western medicine. I treat a lot of cancer patients that are going through treatments like chemo and radiation. Unfortunately most of the time those treatments can come with side effects. I had a particular patient that came in with burning neuropathy pain all over her body — her tongue was numb and she was really scared that she was going to lose all feeling in her body. I was able to calm her anxiety and after her first session of acupuncture, she felt tremendous pain relief. She has been a patient at my practice for 7 years. It has been incredible to help others in a way to bridge the gap with Western medicine.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
I would suggest that you practice what you preach: get regular acupuncture yourself and massages or do other forms of self-care weekly. It is important to take care of your body and mind so that you can be strong enough to heal others.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Always start with your why, develop your why, and make sure to find the team that has similar whys. My “why” is that I want people to have options when it comes to healthcare. I think there is not just one way to do things. I believe in bridging the gap between Eastern and Western medicine so that people have more choices when it comes to healthcare and their bodies.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Start with Why- Simon Sinek. This book really gave me a perspective on why it is that I am doing what I am doing and how I can use my way to impact others and to bring in the right people to have me fulfill my mission.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The upcoming fears of an impending coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
- Have a morning and evening self-care routine, and do it the same every day/night. Every morning I wake up at 6 am before my kids and drink my cup of earl grey tea while I strategize for the day. I exercise and often write on my calendar. I then get dressed, brush my teeth, wake up the kids and get them ready, we eat breakfast, and we are off for the day.
- Meditate- take at least 15 minutes daily to do some sort of breathing exercise. Kundalini yoga is my meditation of choice because it allows you to reprogram your subconscious brain. You can do mediations that are only 3 minutes long and they can help to change your entire mood for the day.
- Journal. When you express how you feel on paper, it can be a huge emotional release and can help you let go of the emotional burden you may be experiencing. It also helps you to reflect back to that moment. My therapist told me about this technique — when you are having anger or any type of strong emotion towards someone that you should write a letter to them (but don’t send it), and talk about all the ways they hurt you and how you wished they would have shown up. Writing the letter helps your mind process the emotions you were feeling and it allows you to recreate the subconscious reality by releasing.
- Get Acupuncture and Massage. This is a forced time for you to take care of you, where you can lay your mind and thoughts to rest by moving your lymph and your Qi through your body. When you are sick, in pain, or have low energy, this is your body’s way of saying it is off balance. I love getting acupuncture weekly to calm my emotions, regulate my period and it keeps me in check. If I am not able to get to the acupuncturist I perform acupressure on myself.
- Connect with your community/friends. The best form of fulfillment comes from the amount of joy you may experience from helping those that need it without expecting anything in return. We are brought here to be in connection with each other. A community is a network of people that should be coming together to form a society of those that serve. Have you ever been in line at a Starbucks and the person in front of you pays for the person behind? It is those small acts of random kindness that go a long way and actually help to fill your soul when you do them for others. There is a children’s book that I love that explains this so perfectly: “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Check-in on them and ask them how they are doing. Send a text, a GIF or emoji, or better yet call them to follow up. Most of the time, anxious people can just feel so overwhelmed that they just hid in their own world.
- Listen: Allow them to express themselves without interrupting them. Sometimes anxiety just needs to be expressed and people just need someone to vent to. Allow them space.
- Ask them what they need support with. Find ways to make their life easier, see if you can shop for them, watch their children, do a task they need completing, etc.
- Write things down for them. Sometimes people who are anxious can forget things because their brain is in survival mode.
- Send them love. Be kind, compassionate, and love them no matter what.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Acupuncture is helpful, but if you can’t get to a practitioner, there are ways you can perform self-care on yourself. Try acupressure, breathing techniques, and kundalini yoga. You can add certain herbs like bergamot and elderberry to your diet, or try essential oils like peace and calm from Young Living, or lavender essential oil.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would start a movement of modernizing Eastern Medicine, allowing people to be advocates of their own health by empowering them with options and choices when it comes to health.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Facebook: Elizabeth Martin and https://www.facebook.com/HandsOnHealthWellness/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!