At Story + Rain we are fans of Chinese medicine and acupuncture so we were happy to hear about the opening of ORA, in one of our favorite neighborhoods in our city of New York. Founder Kimberly Ross was inspired by how acupuncture helped alleviate several physical symptoms she was experiencing and while at Harvard Business School, conceived an aesthetically pleasing space where acupuncture was not just an appointment on your calendar, but a moment in your day to relish. Founder and Editor-in-Chief Tamara Rappa sat down with Ross to hear more about her mission to bring this highly-curated and elevated acupuncture experience to New Yorkers.
The atmosphere at ORA.
What were the symptoms you were experiencing that led you to acupuncture? I had Hashimoto's and was suffering from fatigue and a lot of digestive issues like constipation and bloating, along with general inflammation. Acupuncture provided such relief in terms of improving my digestion and energy.
How did you come up with the name "ORA"? It has two meanings. It's a take on the word "aura" and the idea that acupuncture helps your mental and physical aura. It also stands for "open, restore, align", the things you can expect to receive from acupuncture.
Why did you connect with Rockwell Group to design the space? One can source and experience acupuncture as a service, but I was really looking to create a place with a beautiful aesthetic and inviting atmosphere.
Why was having a tea + tonic bar at ORA so important to you? We approach things holistically. And I wanted to have a buffer between the private experience in each treatment room and the hustle and bustle of New York City. I wanted more than a simple reception area. Teas and tonics are something that help round out our treatments. Our brand mission is to educate people around acupuncture, knowing that many people are nervous around needles. We want to welcome people in the neighborhood to come and experience ORA and the healing benefits of Chinese medicine perhaps first through our teas and tonics, subsequently getting them interested and comfortable to come back for a treatment.
Why did you choose this as your first location, on East 4th Street? I was thinking I wanted to be downtown, and I personally love NoHo. Here we have neighboring businesses are very "healthy"! There are a lot of people in this area that are interested in health and wellness. And it's close to the subway, it's easy to get to. That was important to me, since my mission is to make acupuncture accessible and convenient.
What does regular acupuncture do for one's health? Our New Yorker treatment is great for stress, anxiety, sleep, energy, inflammation, immunity, mental clarity, fatigue. It can also prevent injury and keep you alert. It's great for bloating and inflammation of any sort. It also helps optimize other health and wellness routines you might be implementing. It treats mind, body, spirit---connecting them all.
Are you looking to add additional services? We not only offer acupuncture, we also offer cupping and gua sha. Educating people on acupuncture and Chinese medicine is our core mission. Our goal is also to help people feel better so down the road if there are other things we can offer, we'll explore them.
ORA serves custom-blended drinks in their tea + tonic bar.
A Moment With Gabriel A. Sher, Director Of Acupuncture at ORA
"I treat mostly stomach disorders, gynecological stuff, pain, and emotions. Those are usually the four most common, and they have the best results".
"Emotions attack your weakest spots. Someone will come in with a stomach disorder, but it's usually emotions that are attacking the stomach. So we always focus on emotions too. The physical and the mental is what Chinese medicine is all about."
"Acupuncture, cupping and gua sha are all based on the concept of bringing more blood flow to an area. With gua sha, you're scraping and rubbing the area. Both moving and still cupping do the same. You're leaving or moving suction on an area to bring more blood flow, which then decreases inflammation and helps things heal. Specifically with moving cupping, you're stretching the muscles and lengthening them. Acupuncture increases blood flow, decreases inflammation, and brings more circulation to an area. All work with around the concept of bringing more blood flow and 'chi' or energy to an area".
photo credits | Phoebe Cheong