Get to know Karen and get in tune. Karen is the acupuncturist at our CAP Beauty spa. A one time professional opera singer, Karen Bauer is classically trained in the art of Daoist acupuncture.  She practices an ancient tradition of this Chinese medicine, having studied for many years with renowned Daoist Master, Dr. Jeffrey C. Yuen. Master Yuen apprenticed from the age of three with his adoptive grandfather, a Daoist priest and physician who was trained by physicians from the Inner Court of the last emperor of China. Let Karen guide you to your highest self. 

How did you come to find a love for wellness, healing and skin health?

I come from a very outdoorsy family (we would backpack for 10 days in the High Sierras for family vacay!), and grew up on the edge of wilderness in the foothills north of Los Angeles.  And my parents raised us vegetarian for health reasons, and my father was a doctor, so I was always aware of caring for my health. I was an opera singer for 20+ years, so looking good was not just a personal preference, it was a professional demand! Being able to rehearse one show during the day, then go onstage that night to sing another show was extremely demanding. I did acupressure on myself many times a day to try to maintain my health and strength for the demands of performing on the road for several months at a time. And I've always had sensitive skin, which required me to find natural ways to maintain it.

What inspires you most about your practice?

What inspires me in my practice is the immediate change in a patient's pulses after treatment, and perhaps the most dramatic is when you get a huge reduction in pain with just one treatment.  You might not get a full resolution of the problem in one treatment, but the results are clear enough that patients want to come back and keep working on the issue to get more resolution. That feels magical to me!

What are you up to when you’re not in the treatment room?

My husband and I listen to music on a vintage stereo I inherited from an audiophile uncle of mine.  It's from the mid-60s, with tubes, very cool to see as well as listen to. It feels like the person is performing live in the middle of our living room! I'm also a voracious reader of novels and love watching movies. My other favorite thing is traveling to beautiful places to restore my energies, to cleanse my mind and get some peace.

If you could offer one piece of advice to those looking to better care for their skin or wellbeing what would it be? Please share one pro tip you’ve discovered along your path.

A lot of skin problems come from too much heat in the blood, which can be caused by many different things: too many extremely hot foods (energetically hot, not physically hot to the touch), but perhaps the most common cause is emotional stress, feeling harried, worrying, anxiety, that sort of thing. So eating foods and natural supplements that calm the Shen (the mind, the Spirit) would help most people reduce the heat in their system. CAP carries a number of wonderfully calming herbs, like He Shou Wu, which builds Yin to counter too much Yang (Heat), Reishi mushrooms which directly nourishes the Heart thereby keeping us calmer.  

What rituals do you practice?

I do love rituals!  When I am in my acupuncture office, I always ring a special bell three times to call on the teachers from the 2200 year old lineage of Taoist acupuncture in which I am trained.  It is a reminder that all our training in this beautiful medicine was passed down, teacher to student, for 88 generations, so this bell ringing not only brings the teachers and their skill and wisdom to mind, it is also a thank you to them for passing this amazing medical knowledge on to us. Then I light some Palo Santo (Sacred Wood) and circle the room to let it cleanse and secure the space for healing. It clears out negative energies while sealing in the intention we have set to offer healing in this space. I was given a gift of pieces of this aromatic wood when I was staying with a shaman in Sarayaku, a tribe in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. I never get tired of smelling Palo Santo, it immediately brings me peace. I was so pleased to see that CAP carries Palo Santo in its store for sale!

Can you describe your morning or evening routine?

My morning starts with taking care of my dog, feeding and walking my sweet beast. So I always walk for half an hour before I do anything else. Then I do either some Pilates mat work or weight training with hand weights for 15 minutes. In the shower, I use shampoo and conditioner from Rahua, which gives my baby fine hair the most amazing body. And they're safe for color treated hair, and contain zero harmful ingredients. I love them! Then it's off to work, a walk that takes me through 3 (yes, three!) parks.

What does “Beauty is Wellness” mean to you?

Beauty comes from the spirit, from the heart.  If we are living our life to its fullest while taking good care of our body and mind, we will feel fulfilled, and then we look radiant. Health is what determines the color in our face: are we pale? are we full of life? Caring for yourself in the most natural ways possible will nurture your whole being, not just your body, and that will show up as beauty!

What have you discovered lately that’s fed your beauty? 

Recently I discovered a classical acupuncture treatment that increases homeostasis in the body. I was reading my notes from a class I took in graduate school. Health is the ability to be adaptable, to quickly come back to center after something has thrown you off-center. In Taoist acupuncture, we think of that as the balance between Yin and Yang. These opposites are in a dynamic balance, always shifting, always changing, transforming into one another. It is the ability to maintain your equanimity despite a hectic life! Maintaining that balance is also anti-aging. I started doing a series of these treatments on myself, and then began offering them to my patients. I love them! And who doesn't need more balance in their life?

What brands, products or ingredients are most excited to you right now?

I'm drinking schizandra tea these days. It's found in a lot of CAP products, Moon Juice Beauty Dust, Amina Mundi Soma Elixir, Shaman Shack's Women's Complete. Schizandra berry is part of Chinese medicine, and is used as a longevity tea.  It is adaptogenic, it has a regulating effect on the energies in the body, which means it strengthens what's weak and weakens what is overly strong. It balances and harmonizes the energies. You could say it helps re-establish homeostasis in the body.

What are your top 3 CAP Beauty products?

I love the Marie Veronique Pre + Probiotic Daily Mist to keep my skin protected. I'm mad for the Dr. Alkalaitis Organic Flower Mask. In Chinese medicine, we use flowers to release the sensory organs, so you are allowing your head to release toxins besides making your skin look fabulous!  And for a mood boost on challenging days, I love to have a cup of tea made with Sun Potion's Mucuna Pruriens. It makes me so happy that a lot of CAP Beauty's wonderful natural beauty and health products are made with ingredients that come from the tradition of Chinese medicine!

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