MSOM Graduate Highlight: Graduate: Dr. Karen Helmick-Taylor
‘The Many Reincarnations of One Why’
When I was a child, I had aspirations of being a professional athlete and winning a gold medal. Better than most, but not quite as genetically gifted as others, I began to realize that I would not be able to achieve such lofty physical goals no matter the amount of discipline and hard work. However, through sports, I realized how rewarding it was to inspire others to achieve their own dreams. It felt like I too was winning because I’d made a significant contribution toward their success. I discovered my central WHY. According to Simon Sinek, “Knowing our WHY is like a lighthouse, a way to guide us to find fulfillment.” My WHY is inspiring others toward better health, no matter where they currently reside along the health continuum.
I started as a captain of my cross country and track and field teams in high school and later at Gettysburg College. Coaching others to add inches, reduce seconds, and gain mental toughness made me feel fulfilled. I majored in health and exercise science courses and pursued my first graduate degree in exercise physiology through East Tennessee State University. While at ETSU, I coached Olympic hopefuls and collegiate athletes to perform at their best. Upon graduation, I coached at several other colleges and universities. Eventually, I transitioned into full-time teaching due to the grueling schedule necessary for year-round sports and the fact that I could influence more students than those just on the team. I love teaching and coaching others as well as guiding them towards a greater level of health.
Throughout my twenties and into my thirties, I suffered debilitating migraines. Numbness along my left side and around my mouth, loss of vision, and excruciating pain became common. I was eventually even diagnosed as having TIAs (trans-ischemic attacks). My Western physician was at her wits' end as to how to help me since none of the medications or dietary changes seemed to make any difference. It was at this time that I tried acupuncture for the first time at East West College of Natural Medicine’s student clinic on a whim.
That fateful day eleven years ago proved to be the end of my migraines and TIAs and life-altering as I yet again changed my “WHAT and HOW” to match my constant WHY. East West College of Natural Medicine, along with externships and outside courses, inspired and guided me towards new ways of looking at health. I have motivated many patients who would like to be better than they were the day before along their own health continuums.
The next reincarnation of my WHY will be teaching other acupuncturists what I have learned, including some of the techniques I’ve developed for treating Parkinson’s disease and migraines as well as using injections to enhance treatments.
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“The goal is not to fix your weaknesses, the goal is to amplify your strengths and to surround yourself with the people who can do what you can’t do.” –Simon Sinek
East West College of Natural Medicine, Sarasota, FL
Graduate: Dr. Karen Helmick-Taylor
Graduation Date: 2012