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Michelle Martin of Insight Learning and Wellness Center

Meet Michelle Martin, founder of Insight Learning and Wellness Center, a holistic wellness center.

What is Insight Learning and Wellness Center?
The Insight Learning and Wellness Center is a multi-disciplinary wellness center that provides integrated psychological and holistic services to individuals of all ages, combining research-proven approaches that work without side effects. We offer multiple programs and services to meet the unique needs of a diverse population.
Traditional Services include: Mental health services such as testing and psychological evaluations; Individual therapy for anxiety and depression; attention deficit, autism, trauma and grief; Group and couples therapy.
Holistic Services to connect mind, body and spirit include: Acupuncture, massage, reiki and reflexology; mindfulness classes for individuals and families; Emotional freedom technique that uses acupressure points to relieve pain and reduce stress; holistic addiction program; yoga and therapeutic martial arts; nutrition and cooking classes; holistic summer camps for children.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur? 

In 1986, I began my career as a traditional school psychologist working in school settings. I was very grateful that I found a career I loved, working with children and parents. I provided evaluations and counseling for learning issues such as dyslexia and attention deficit, as well as divorce adjustment, grief and trauma. 
Over the years, my personal studies and research showed me that relying solely on traditional approaches was limiting. I started envisioning what I could do by combining Eastern and Western health and wellness systems.
I joined a private psychology practice in the early 1990s where I designed a therapeutic program called Tae Kwon Do Fusion, combining movement (martial arts, Brain Gym, mindfulness and yoga) with group counseling for all ages.
After a few years of private practice under my belt, I was ready to open my own business in 2000. I currently manage Insight and coordinate the efforts of its 15 independent holistic providers. In addition to running the center, I am one of its holistic providers. I specialize in the evaluation and treatment of learning and attention disorders. I am also the head instructor of Tae Kwon Do Fusion, Insight’s signature therapeutic martial arts program.
Why did you start your business?

My personal studies and research showed me the positive impact that effective holistic programs can have on individuals of all ages. I created Insight to provide the public with a multidisciplinary wellness center, where they can access knowledge, learn and practice the tools for a healthier living. 
Since its inception in 2000, Insight has grown steadily. We started in a 200-square-feet space and are now in a building just under 4,000 square feet. We have expanded our holistic services and programs steadily to respond to the public’s needs and also based on research-proven holistic approaches.
My initial Tae Kwon Do Fusion class of five classes has grown into 10 classes per week. Tae Kwon Do Fusion is a great example of a holistic approach to health and wellness. The class combines psychology, pilates, Brain Gym and martial arts to provide physical and psychological therapeutic benefits.
How did you come up with the idea/name?

One of Insight’s goals is to empower our clients by providing access to health and wellness knowledge, as well as arming them with tools for a healthier living.
Our clients learn about the various traditional and holistic approaches available and the research behind them. We help our clients develop “insight” and better understanding of their inner thoughts and feelings so they can practice mindfulness. Why is mindfulness important? Research shows that mindfulness can significantly change brain chemistry and structure, allowing for more attention, memory, problem solving, planning and organizing.
Insight is a learning center for those who are struggling academically and/or behaviorally. We help our clients learn and practice coping skills such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, and emotional freedom technique using acupressure points.
I developed Camp Insight, a holistic summer camp for children ages six to 13, to teach children coping skills at an early age so they develop resilience.
Insight is also a place where the public can access health and wellness information and gain knowledge. We offer various self-improvement and wellness classes. For instance, we have a hands-on cooking class and dinner for parents and children on May 14.

What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
It was much easier than I imagined.  When I took the plunge everything fell into place.  Six months later, I said, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  I believe it is good evidence that we need to follow our passion and feelings of purpose and not let fear or self-doubt stop us.   
What resources/organizations here did you take advantage of and how did they help?   

In the late 1990s, I was active in a local non-profit organization called Mind Body Spirit Connection. Donna Nowak, a brilliant business consultant and hypnotherapist, founded Mind Body Spirit Connection with the mission to support holistic practitioners and educate the community about holistic programs. Its members included more than 100 local holistic practitioners, doctors and therapists, who created a support network for each other.  
As I started Insight, Mind Body Spirit Connection provided resources and helped me make helpful connections. Mind Body Spirit Connection has since merged into a national organization called American Holistic Medical Association and continues to have a local chapter that is a great resource for holistic practitioners in Cleveland. 
What advice would you give to someone starting a company here?

Follow your intuition that is, those gut feelings, and follow your strong desires and dreams to do what you are passionate about. Your dreams can open the doors to a successful career that pays well, brings joy and meaning to your life!

As you follow the path of your dreams, allow your intuition to guide you. Those who are most successful in business use a combination of logic and intuition in making decisions. Intuitive information and knowledge come from a deep knowing of what is best for you.
Honor your intuition! Trust it! Believe in it!
What inspires you?
I am so excited about the abundance of recent research showing tremendous health and wellness benefits from integrating traditional and holistic services. Mindfulness and energy psychology methods, such as emotional freedom technique, can help with multiple psychiatric and physical illnesses.
I am inspired by scholars and scientists, such as Daniel Siegel, M.D., author of The Mindful Brain and The Whole Brain Child, as well as Norman Doidge, M.D., author of The Brain that Changes Itself.

I am most excited to see that the public is recognizing that our food, environment and life styles can make us sick and there are various treatment options available to meet the unique needs of a diverse population.    
What’s next for you and your company?

We are planning to grow our community education programs. We are expanding our parent/child curriculum. We currently offer Mindful Parenting Classes. We will soon provide a multi-faceted program for expectant parents that will support them through the birth process. 

I am also excited that we will be offering yoga and Stress Buster classes for young teens. 

We started a cinema series on Friday evenings that is free and open to the public. People need to register to save their seat.

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