A humble yet determined approach to patient care informed by the Japanese concept of shonshinsha or “beginner”, combined with an eagerness to work collaboratively with the conventional medical industry, is reaping rewards for acupuncture practitioner and clinic owner Rod Martin.
The karate champion and Endeavour College of Natural Health alumnus who graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) has spent the past four years developing his expertise and today runs a rapidly expanding multi-modality clinic in Brisbane’s Everton Hills that attracts attention because of its collective approach to healthcare.
Rod, a softly spoken man who is passionate about synthesizing his two great loves of karate and natural health, says shonshinsha influences him daily.
“I try to approach every situation with shonshinsha, the sense of humility and curiosity that comes with experiencing something for the first time. There are lessons to be learned every day if you are open to them.”
“My clinic, Go2 Human Performance offers acupuncture, physiotherapy, naturopathy, beauty therapy and remedial massage within the same practice. Our approach is unique to the healthcare industry as we give our clients access to whichever form of expertise they require in the one appointment. It isn’t unheard of for our psychologist to call in our physiotherapist to give some advice or support in the one sixty minute session,” Rod said.
This has been an eventful year for Rod who opened a second clinic recently within the Stafford City Medical Centre, in North Brisbane. Plans are also underway to open several more clinics within the next 12 months.
Rod’s healthcare approach has earned the loyalty of some of Brisbane’s top CEOs and elite athletes, including key members of the Brisbane Broncos and the Queensland Reds, together with a growing network of doctors and fitness professionals who refer their clients to the clinic.
Part of Rod’s success has been due to his determination to work alongside the conventional medicine industry and his unwavering commitment to be part of the broader medical community.
“I’ve always believed the conventional and complementary medicine industries need each other to fill in any blanks. When the two disciplines work effectively together, it is our patients who benefit,” Rod said.
“There are many conditions Western medicine can treat more effectively than we do, and where that happens we have a network of specialists we refer our patients to see. People need what they need, and that isn’t necessarily me. Part of my skill is to identify what I can help with and what I can’t.”
Rod attributes part of his ability to develop strong networks within the medical profession to growing up in a Western Medicine family.
“I’ve found having a research-based background and practice has helped us build rapport with doctors. That being said, it is something we’ve worked at proactively by opening up the communication lines with the doctors of our patients.”
When the practice first opened, Rod’s team members rang their local medical centres and dropped referral notepads to 120 doctors in the surrounding area as a way of raising awareness of Go2 Human Performance and what it offered.
“When we then followed up to invite doctors to our clinic to experience a treatment firsthand, we found they were far more receptive.
“We always make a point of writing to thank the GPs who refer patients to us and keep them updated on their patient’s progress. This is just one reason I’ve found the question ‘How did you find us?’ so important to ask your clients.”
Rod has a particularly close relationship with his father Graham Martin, Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Royal Brisbane Hospital, and names working with him in 2009 to help him recover from a spinal transverse myelitis as a highlight of his career to date.
“His myelitis left him paralysed and had an impact on his bowel and bladder function. His diagnosis was quite dire and he wasn’t expected to walk again. I was granted permission to treat him and after daily treatments he gained the ability to walk again with aids within six weeks,” Martin said.
“His motor and sensory functions have slowly and steadily returned, and constant right chest pain has reduced. Every time I treat him I see a visible improvement in his condition and it has been the greatest gift for both of us.”
One of the most decorated karate instructors in Australia, Rod said the ancient system of combat taught him to directly face and overcome inner demons such as fear, which has given him an advantage in business.
“Karate taught me many of my guiding principles in work and life – namely that great things can come from taking risks.”
When Rod reflects on his craft, he says it is the fact that Chinese medicine ties together the idea of mind, body and spirit that is most significant.
“There is a wonderful opportunity in acupuncture to shed light on how emotions and one’s sense of self affect the physical body. A lady came to see me with sore shoulders after months of unsuccessful treatment elsewhere. Through Chinese medicine principles, I was able to link her symptoms to grief and refer her to a psychologist, which to her surprise successfully fixed her pain when combined with the acupuncture treatments.”
On the controversial subject of medical profession criticism of tertiary institutions offering complementary health degrees, Rod has concerns regarding the motives of some of those speaking out against the industry.
“Science revolves around impartial research and arguments. How many of the senior people speaking out about our industry own a pharmacy or are being funded by drug companies? It is a simple and important question which warrants further attention.
“In addition, it is curious that people want complementary health removed from university. Surely that is just the place to respond to novel ideas and curiosity, with hypotheses and high quality research to prove what works and what does not – using the Western research approach.”
When looking to his future, Rod aims to replicate the internship process popular in the medical profession by opening up his clinics to train complementary health graduates for two years in client management and business skills and place them in suitable external positions as they arise where they can hit the ground running.
“One of my greatest hopes is to support the growth of the industry in this way. I want to create an empowering and dynamic environment where graduates who train with us are both highly sought after and develop great insights they can take with them into their careers,” he said.
About Nina Tovey
Nina Tovey is a public relations expert who has supported a wide range of clients throughout her career, including world leading brands, Government Departments and small-to-medium enterprises. Nina is the founder of public relations consultancy Yoke Communications.