Dr. Kara MoraMarco-Kendrick is a force to be reckoned with, on her quest to bring TCM to the people! As a Doctor of Acupuncture and the founder of Love Cupping (heart-shaped cups for cupping therapy), Dr. Kara devotes her life to enhancing the visibility of ancient healing technologies and helping people bring Eastern philosophy into their daily lives. Based in Los Angeles and raised by parents who are both Doctors of Acupuncture, Dr. Kara has been immersed in this medicine her entire life and has the most joyful, whimsical approach to sharing her tremendous wealth of knowledge.
R+B: Thank you so much for agreeing to this conversation! We’ve been connected for quite some time, and I just so deeply admire the way you walk in this life. Let’s start in the present moment… how are you doing in this Late Summer season? Are there any themes or energies you’re working with during this transitional time?
DK: Thanks so much! I really admire how you have grown R+B into such an amazing company.
I’m doing well. During this transitional time from Summer to Fall, it is a good time to prepare your body for the change in seasons. One aspect that we focus a lot on in Chinese Medicine is avoiding wind. This can mean literal wind, like from the weather, but also air conditioning. When it is hot outside, I do love the AC but it's important not to have it directly blowing on you. This can lead to stiff neck… this also goes for fans. It’s also important to pay attention especially when coming in from the hot outside or after a sweaty workout when our pores are open which makes us more susceptible for the “wind” to penetrate inside which can lead to “catching a cold” aka “wind attack.”
R+B: That’s such a good point, and a really simple tip to help cultivate resilience. LA is sort of infamous for its “lack” of seasons… what are your thoughts on this? How do you personally honor seasonal living when the shifts can feel more subtle?
DK: It’s true, LA really does lack seasons… usually the weather is always sunny and nice. This year was really different. It was rainy or foggy until June! When the months finally do get colder, I like to make fresh ginger tea with jujubes (Chinese dates) and goji berries. In the warmer months I enjoy cooler foods like fresh fruit. I also do tend to eat soups and stews all year round because it’s so much better for digestion than cold, raw foods.
R+B: Same! I am team soup all year long. It’s so incredible that you were raised within the TCM traditions, and even started practicing Tai Chi and Qi Gong as a young child! When did you know that it was your calling to continue your parents’ legacy?
DK: I grew up at my parents’ acupuncture clinic. I would hang out there after school most days until they were finished. I always remember how happy and grateful my dad’s patients were after their treatments. My mom ran the clinic and an herbal company. I knew that I always loved the body… I was a dancer and then a figure skater growing up. It was when I started college studying Kinesiology (exercise science) that I knew I wanted to be an acupuncturist. I am so happy that I chose this path, I absolutely love it and I love helping my patients feel their best.
R+B: I wonder how much that immersive experience contributed to your trailblazing tendencies! The path you walk is so unique… you literally leave heart-shaped marks all over the people whose lives you touch. What has been the best part of releasing this creation into the world?
DK: I am so happy that other practitioners love our Love Cups! It has been a great way to spread the medicine as many people shy away from cupping because the marks left can look brutal, but when they are heart shaped it’s less intimidating and patients are more open to it! We also released our Air Suction Love Cups just one month before the pandemic and these have been great for people to try for home use. Our first Love Cups released were the traditional Fire cups, handmade ceramic in Thailand, which are for practitioners.
R+B: I really love that you offer the Air Suction cups for personal use! You inspire me so much as a woman who serves in many capacities all at once. How did your training prepare you for motherhood? Can you share some advice for all of the postpartum mamas out there?
DK: I think there is no way to really prepare yourself for motherhood! The one thing I can say is rest as much as possible before you have your baby. This is easier said than done if it’s not your first baby. I really was good about conserving my energy and getting a good 9 hours of sleep before I had my son. It’s great to go into pregnancy and the start of postpartum with a tank full of energy (Qi). I think this is really what has saved me with my current sleep deprivation – waking up around every 1.5 to 2 hours every night for the past 22 months. It’s still really hard some days but overall, my general health is still great and having some stored energy helped. I think it’s almost run out now, ha!
For the postpartum mamas I really like the idea of honoring the “sitting month” or first 40 days. This is a tradition in China as well as most of the cultures throughout the world where the new mother stays in to rest and recover after giving birth. Warm foods and blood building foods are especially important during this time.
R+B: There is so much wisdom in the sitting month, as well as the dietary recommendations from TCM during the postpartum period. One of your specialties is women’s health, and I know you have a lot of potent wisdom from your lived experience. Can you share some advice, both for those hoping to conceive and those who are currently pregnant?
DK: This is one of my favorite topics, especially since experiencing pregnancy. For those hoping to conceive it’s best to start preparing your body at least 3 to 6 months before, and even ideally a year before. This is for several reasons. First you need to get your cycle regular and predictable. This will help you know when you are ovulating, which will increase your chances of conception. Also, getting your period with little to no pain and a good flow is optimal. Acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet, and lifestyle factors can help with this. We call this “preparing the palace,” which is the uterus. Limit the amount of cold and raw foods, no icy drinks, especially if you suffer from cramps during your period. We like the uterus warm! Also keep your low back area (kidney energy) and belly covered up in the cold weather.
During the preconception time and during pregnancy, it’s important to limit the amount of environmental, hormone-disrupting toxins. Unfortunately, our world is filled with them, so we need to be extra mindful. Opt for organic foods whenever possible. For those who are currently pregnant, nourish your body with healthy foods, try to limit stress in your life, avoid watching the news, and get acupuncture if needed! Acupuncture can be great for symptoms that may come up during pregnancy like nausea, heartburn, aches and pains, and carpal tunnel, as well as helping prepare your body for labor.
R+B: It’s all about preparing the palace! So, you also specialize in skin care, and I really appreciate your attention to lifestyle factors, although you also offer cosmetic acupuncture! In addition to tips like keeping the lungs free of smoke and ensuring a daily bowel movement, what are some of your favorite foods and herbs to incorporate for healthy skin?
DK: Foods that nourish our Yin and Blood are great for our skin. Foods like dark leafy greens, eggs, berries, cherries, pomegranates, beets, walnuts, and sweet potatoes to name a few. As far as herbs I love Royal Jelly, Pearl, Tremella, and Blue Butterfly flower.
R+B: You know I love that selection of nutrient-dense herbs! Thank you for sharing. I wonder what’s on the horizon that has you excited right now, either personally or professionally?
DK: I’m excited to start traveling more! Before the pandemic I used to travel a lot and go to Thailand a few times a year. I missed traveling and am really looking forward to new adventures with my family and also doing continuing education courses abroad.
R+B: Amazing! It will be such an enriching experience for your little one to adventure with you like that. Many blessings!
You all can connect with Dr. Kara on Instagram at @dr.kara.aculand or via her website.