My Story as a Black Acupuncturist

Carine Camara

I’m a Black Acupuncturist and Holistic Health Care Provider in Los Angeles. The holistic world has a small number of people of color. It comes apparent when I am in networking events surrounded by my peers to look around and see that I am the only one. From me, it is always a learning experience on how I can show up and be more present, more authentic and shine brighter. Which isn’t always easy.

Growing up as a first-generation American my Guinean parents turned to food for health remedies. This was my first introduction to the idea that you can cure illness with the food.

If I had a cold, Mama would make me a bowl of soup filled with ginger, garlic, and hot peppers. It would scorch my mouth and throat, but by the morning I was fine. I was hardly sick as a child, and I never had the flu growing up.

My mother took me a Chinese Herbalist in the heart of Chinatown in New York City for my menstrual cramps when was 14. The scent and the herbs fascinated me. This older Chinese man silently felt my pulse, looked at my tongue and gave me a bag of herbs. I had dual thoughts of that experience being very odd and very cool as a young teenager.

I feel blessed to have a mother that introduced me to the world of holistic healing that has shaped my life. When I was a child I wanted to be a medicine woman, and I became one: an African- American urban medicine woman. By the time I was 20, I made the decision to live a completely holistic natural lifestyle.

What did that look like?

I cut off my chemically relaxed hair. I went natural. I became a vegetarian. I started reading all the labels of everything I was putting in and on my body. All my body products, makeup, household detergents became natural and non-toxic. I became obsessed with nutrition and health.

By the time I decided to go get my Master’s in Chinese Medicine when I was 25, my family was not the least bit surprised. Holistic medicine is who I am.

My holistic world is filled with plant-based foods, yoga, herbs, essential oils, acupuncture, massage, energy work, spirituality, mindfulness, astrology, and crystals.  It comes natural to me. It is so ingrained in who I am.

And yet, I have fallen in love with the facial expressions of people, when I say I am an acupuncturist. Eyes widen and they exclaim words of awe, wonder, and curiosity. The conversation swiftly moves into the art of acupuncture and the wonderful ways it can transform their lives! Education is key. I love teaching people about how they can empower their health.

I write this to say, it is important to be yourself no matter what happens in life.

Stay true to your heart.  

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mohandas Gandhi 

Much Love,

Carine