Category Archives: blog

The Willingness to Create Change

I’ve been talking a lot lately about willingness. And that’s because i think it’s the first step towards change. My newsletters, book and online course are not a way of telling women that they aren’t willing. .. but rather I’m teaching women struggling with infertility to become willing to go deeper when searching for ways to help themselves.

Think about it another way:

We want to feel better in our jeans, or we want to look better in a swimsuit. Wearing clothes that are too tight is uncomfortable, leaving two choices: buy larger, looser clothes, or make more effort to slim down. 

I like to view the infertile population as mostly full of “sub-fertility” cases, which means there’s one or more little things that aren’t optimized within the couple. However, once corrected, fertility is restored and healthy babies are born.

 

These “things” usually involved changes in diet and a woman’s belief systems.

 

Like a personal trainer, my job is to stay with women or redirect their focus when they want to give up. I give them numerous ways to look at their situation differently, to help them stay on track. Sometimes they get frustrated and want to run from that, or place blame or feel sorry for themselves. But somewhere deep down, they know there’s truth behind my “spiritual advice” that keeps urging women to find more ways to love their lives in order to improve their fertility.

It’s 5:30am. I’m out walking while writing this — exercising and sharing publicly are 2 very uncomfortable things for me. But stepping up and doing it anyway is what will bring the changes I want.

Again I pose the question: what might you need to change in order to improve the life you have?

Celebrating 15 years at Well Women!

I opened the door to the Well Women Acupuncture office on Nov 1, 2001. That was 15 years ago!

 

It’s amazing to think of the thousands of women and hundreds of thousands of treatments that have occurred in this tiny space that have helped so many women reach their personal health goals. There’s literally been millions of needles inserted! 

 

There’ve been many practitioners that have practiced inside the Well Women office over the years, and this month I have the pleasure of introducing Dr. Lilla DiFlorio, a naturopath who has relocated to Los Angeles from Seattle, to become the newest member of the Well Women Acupuncture office. She works with couples to optimize fertility using specific lab values as well as diagnostic tools and nutritional supplements to help restore patients’ fertility.
Dr. Lilla will bring help to the Well Women patients whose partners are struggling with Male Factor infertility!

 

Lilla is seeing patients on Fridays, along with long-time Well Women acupuncturist Audrey Guss, my colleague who specializes in thyroid disease, digestive and endocrine disorders. Please read more about them here.

 

Thank you for all your support and referrals over the years. Along the way to this miletsone, I’ve gained wisdom, confidence, joy and tremendous gratitude for each woman who steps inside the door and trusts me, or one of our practitioners, to help her get where she wants to be.

Patience, trust and divine timing

All three of these virtues play a role in creating what we want.

 
My daughter was conceived (naturally) five years after I was told I “wasn’t a candidate for IVF and would need donor eggs” if I wanted to have a child.

During that challenging pregnancy I spent 17 weeks on bedrest and used the time to write a book that contains 33 inspirational stories of healing, self-discovery, transformation and triumph that I’ve witnessed while working with the infertile community.

 
Nine years later that book was published, and I just launched it last week!

Divine timing is something that we have to take on faith and usually requires infinite patience. But once we surrender to it, miracles seem to happen.

At my book signing last week I shared the story I feel best illustrates the “magic” that happens inside the walls of the Well Women Acupuncture office. It was the story of one woman who chose to trust a message revealed during a Reiki session in order to get to her son. The crowd was amazed to hear what transpired for this woman and the others who are willing to let go and trust in themselves and in a power they can’t see.

How wonderful it was to host that event and share publicly about my experiences and the insights gained inside the treatment rooms.

For more inspiration and to read all of the awesome stories, including my own, click here to order the book from Amazon.

8 Strategies to Optimize Thyroid Function for Fertility

Thyroid imbalance affects the physical body and the energetic body. If the thyroid is not functioning correctly, it can create an obstacle to fertility.

Audrey Guss, L.Ac., specializes in the treatment of thyroid, adrenal gland issues, digestive issues and chronic health conditions at Well Women Acupuncture in Los Angeles. Here, she shares 8 strategies to optimize thyroid function for fertility:

  • Reduce inflammatory foods. Inflammatory foods like sugars, wheat, and processed foods can inflame the body and burden the thyroid. Ensure that each meal includes adequate protein and healthy fats (coconut oil, butter, nuts, avocado, etc.) which will help reduce sugar cravings and also keep the thyroid happy.
  • Reduce intake of raw cruciferous vegetables and soy. Cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, rapini, kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower can decrease thyroid function which can be a problem for those with an under-performing thyroid. If you enjoy cruciferous veggies, cook them prior to consuming. That will reduce their goitrogenic quality and render them thyroid friendly.
  • Eliminate any digestive disharmonies by taking probiotics. Twenty percent of T4 to T3 conversion (two thyroid hormones) take place in the digestive tract. Infections and dysbiosis can hinder this conversion. Dysbiosis is an imbalance of bacteria in the gut where by infectious bacteria outnumber the beneficial bacteria that should be present. That imbalance sets us up for yeast and bacteria overgrowth. Taking probiotics is a good way to “re-populate” the beneficial bacteria.
  • Manage stress and get enough rest. The adrenal glands are closely related to the thyroid. In my practice, I have yet to see a person who has a thyroid issue who does not also have an adrenal insufficiency. Taking care of adrenal health can positively impact thyroid wellness. Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night; note that 8 hours is ideal.
  • Reduce your toxic load. Parabens and chlorates (often found in cleaning supplies and body products), and pesticides can hinder thyroid performance. Environmental Working Group (EWG) consumer guides are a good resource for information about which products to buy or avoid.
  • Express Yourself. As energetic practitioners, we look for disharmony in areas of spiritual and emotional areas. When we hold our feelings and thoughts inside we can get energetically stuck in the throat chakra (the fifth chakra). Standing up for ourselves, vocalizing our feelings or using creative outlets (writing, drawing, painting, dancing, etc.) for self-expression can help release energetic blockages.
  • Correct any mineral deficiencies or excesses. Adequate selenium, copper, zinc and iodine are all essential to thyroid health. Using an iodine urine loading test or hair analysis is a good way to get an accurate picture of proper mineralization. Green vegetables are an excellent source of minerals, however if deficiencies are apparent, additional supplementation may be necessary.
  • Get acupuncture and a herbal/ supplementation consultation. In our office we use both acupuncture and herbs to help regulate the thyroid. Acupuncture treatments can be effective to either increase energy or calm the body. An individualized herbal and/or supplementation plan can also address underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction.

 

If you think your thyroid is not functioning correctly, try the above strategies to restore balance, and click here to schedule an appointment to address these issues with Audrey Guss, L.Ac.

*This blog post originally appears on SeedFertility.com

The 3 Best Ways to Increase Your “Fertile Confidence”

The 3 Best Ways to Increase Your "Fertile Confidence" -- Well Women Acupuncture

If you’ve been diagnosed with infertility or you are trying to conceive after miscarriage, likely you struggle with feelings of vulnerability, self-doubt and disappointment.

To have these feelings appearing month after month can take a toll on your “fertile confidence” — your belief in yourself and your body’s ability to have a successful pregnancy and parent a child.

Women who have a high level of fertile confidence are more likely to create a positive outcome, even when the odds are stacked against them.

So, how can you create more confidence that you are on track after a huge or recurring disappointment?

At Well Women Acupuncture, we’ve seen first hand that women are able to rebuild their fertile confidence by finding these 3 attributes inside themselves:

 

    • A willingness to do some personal discovery work. In order to strengthen the belief that a baby is possible (especially when odds appear to be stacked against us), we’re required to find the willingness to believe that we can make necessary changes that will create a new & different outcome.

 

    • A commitment to heal and release pain from loss. Trying to conceive after a miscarriage or when facing constant disappointment requires making the commitment to say goodbye to the pain of a loss, or staying committed to the process of healing in general, especially when we feel like giving up.

 

  • The courage to be vulnerable and share emotional feelings with trusted friends about the ways in which we are growing and coping with feelings of inadequacy, frustration and doubt.

Rebuilding fertile confidence is an “inside job,” but it’s possible if you dig deep enough and stay determined to find these attributes inside yourself.

To learn more tools you can use to develop and strengthen your sense of fertile confidence, join us inside The Seed Fertility Program: An online course created by Well Women Acupuncture founder Danica Thornberry.

Walking for Hope!

Danica at the halfway point of the RESOLVE Southern California Walk of Hope.

Danica at the halfway point of the RESOLVE Southern California Walk of Hope.

This past Sunday (September 21st) was my birthday, and I celebrated 44 by walking a mile with hundreds of people determined to bring awareness to the frustration that millions face when they try to get pregnant, but find themselves unable to bring healthy, full-term babies into the world (see more on Walk of Hope, sponsored by Resolve Infertility).

Not only did the “Seed Team” land in the top ten donations made to the Resolve charity, but also it was wonderful to bring information about The Seed Fertility Program to this crowd of people who really appreciated being introduced to something new that they can participate in to recover their power in this often disappointing and heart-breaking field.

Danica sharing Seed wisdom at the RESOLVE Walk of Hope.

Danica sharing Seed wisdom at the RESOLVE Walk of Hope.

I spoke to many people — doctors, women (some mothers, some still trying), husbands, nurses, program coordinators and actresses… all of whom know this subculture of women, and whom know how these women are working to turn their disappointments into opportunities to become a mother.

I left with gratitude in my heart, for my own two healthy, “against the odds” children, Kira and Jack. I also felt grateful that spiritual evolution is coming to this world of infertility. We are finally uniting – acupuncturists, massage therapists, doctors, authors, models – all of us are coming together – to help others keep the faith. The faith that with enough courage and determination, we can become parents… if that is what we set our sights on.

Blessings and continued support to those on the path to baby.

Do We Pick Our Personalities?

 

By Danica Thornberry

dreamstime_l_17976408While walking home from school last week my six year old asked me, “Mama, Do we pick our personalities?”

My response to her was “Well, I don’t know about that, but I believe that when we are spirits deciding to come into a body, we probably choose what lessons we will try to learn.”

She seemed totally satisfied with that answer, and her question revealed once again to me that we really are in the throws of a “spiritual age”…and it has us all thinking about things we once took for granted.

Her question got me thinking about what I chose to learn this time around.

I guess I chose a “spiritual” personality because I opted to be someone of service to women in need…and this choice mandates that I practice self-care, patience and lots of reframing.

Over the last 15 years I’ve worked with thousands of patients and helped them transform their disappointments and pain into a much more meaningful existence.

In doing this for so long I’ve learned how to love the life I have. It wasn’t always the case for sure, and “loving life” isn’t always easy or how I would describe myself each day if anyone asked; but at least it’s on my radar now and something I can say I have experienced more as I get older.

dreamstime_l_7498896

“Embracing spirituality” isn’t easy. It usually involves surviving painful disappointment or some type of huge change. But it is possible, and it seems to be knocking at our door… in the form of opportunities to move beyond our comfort zone, and into our better self.

Everyday we have a list of reasons to not feel certain about what our future holds, or 12 new reasons why we can’t trust things to happen how we would like.

But every time we allow ourselves to “free float in uncertainty”, every time we find new ways to calm our high levels of anxiety… we raise our vibration. We feel stronger. We become more spiritually attuned to what we need or what we need to do next, in order to get to a more peaceful place in life.

As humans, we make choices all day based on the type of personality we picked. Take a moment to ask yourself what personality YOU chose and why; then decide if you are fulfilling that path…

seed course d hug

 

Why Wear Green In March?

julieBy Julie Grados, Acupuncture Intern

While preparing for acupuncture exams, I stepped outside for some fresh air. I was struck by all the green around me. As I absorbed the healthy energy of so many green plants, I pondered the connection between green, springtime and a healthy liver. With spring approaching, I made a vow to emphasize green (green foods, green clothes, green imagery) to help keep myself aligned with nature’s intended increased energy. After all, March isn’t just about St. Patrick…

Check out these other great reasons to embrace green all month long!

Starting March 5 – “40 Days of Lent” begin, but we do not need to be Catholic to welcome a 40 day window of self-improvement! It’s a special opportMandala das Herzchakraunity to create change in our lives either by modifying our diet, habits, or lifestyle. Think about one thing that you would love to change about yourself… Whatever it is, emphasizing green can help you energetically set the change in motion, as green is the color of change!

                 

Woman running on meadowMarch 8 – “International Women’s Day” is a national celebration for women to honor our greatness and feminine energy. Who knew?!  Celebrate the great woman you are! Wear a fresh, feminine, flowy green skirt, dress or scarf to energize your female energetic center and your Heart Chakra. Balancing the heart energy can simultaneously clear and nourish your heart so that you can experience love in a genuine way. Let the color green open up your heart and help you honor the awesome, loving woman you are!

Clover quarterfoil in hand

March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day celebrates a Catholic saint who advocated for human rights and spoke highly of women. In his writings, St. Patrick speaks of women as valuable and courageous individuals. Choosing green on this day honors this Irish Saint who truly saw the beauty and power of women!

 

And lastly, March 20th is the Spring Equinox, marking the beginning of the Spring Season. In Chinese medicine we associate green with a healthy liver system. Green balances our liver energy to help cleanse our bodies both physically and energetically. Taking a walk in nature to observe the green scenery, or imagining a sphere of green light encircling your body can recharge your liver energy and help with spring cleaning and spring projects. All of these activities will encourage the movement and proper flow of liver energy.

The therapeutic effects of the color green are immense. I encourage you to fully experience the healing effects of green; in your wardrobe, while taking a walk, while enjoying a fresh salad of spring greens… Let the green vibration encircle your body. Not only will you be in tune with the season but you will also feel more relaxed, energized and more emotionally centered!

~Julie   Hands hugging green fresh grass in shape of heart

Haircut = Spiritual Crisis?

It’s funny how we can go from feeling confident in one moment to questioning every aspect of ourselves, mere seconds later.

I think it took about 2 minutes for my hairstylist of five years to follow through on my request to give me 5 extra minutes in the morning – “Make my life easier!” I demanded, as what was supposed to be a routine trim turned into a full-on hair cut of more than 8 inches of healthy hair. Did I mention that my impressionable 6 year old daughter had accompanied me that day, preventing the chance for the sylist to say “Are you sure you really want to do that?” The pressure was on, I had to commit to this decision. I told him I wanted to chop it and be different for awhile. And then it happened.

My girl looked at me, then looked at the huge pile of fluffy blond hair on the floor, and again looked to me to see my reaction. “Ah, this is great! So much easier!” I exclaimed, similar to a recent tweet (“Short hair, don’t care!”) by Taylor Swift, who apparently had her long hair whacked while on stage. Inside I thought “Oh God!! What have I just done? And merely weeks before I’m scheduled to do a public speaking engagement at the Fertility Planit conference?!” “Christ.” I thought, “This is a disaster.”

hair crisis

Ok, I will admit; simultaneously I felt freed. Happy. Excited even! The prospect of a fresh new look and less time being spent blowing out long locks was going to be nice after having a pound of hair constantly weighing me down and causing almost daily headaches from wearing various up-do’s for the past 10 years.

I surprised myself with the way that I let this decision uproot me. I’m usually so grounded! Recall that people come to me for help getting grounded. But here I find myself, ridiculously going back and forth in indecision about what to do next, feeling insecure about other decisions I make, and unnecessarily judging myself harshly even weeks later.  Luckily I had years of counseling grief patients to make it clear that my new neurosis had arisen from a loss of the familiar.  This latest “spiritual crisis” triggered a renewed appreciation for the word vulnerablity.

So being the spiritual person I claim to be, I committed to going deeper to figure out why this was getting me so worked up, when normally it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Hair “grows back”, yes, but it symbolizes many things, especially for women in my position (mid-forties with two small children in tow, and growing some kind of public presence). For starters, can hide in long hair. We can be perceived as younger with longer hair. We can play with long hair: twist it up, let it down, smell it, pull it off our faces, feel sexy… My longer hair gave me something to do and suddenly it’s missing, and I feel a little less like myself as a result. There it is.  I got stuck processing the loss of the relationship with my hair .  Who cares that several people think it looks “better”?

While this is truly the last thing I would want to admit to a public forum, I think it’s worthwhile. Sociologist and brilliant public speaker Brene Brown has a very popular TED talk online that validates my feelings. It’s appropriately called “The Power of Vulnerability” and it’s where she admits having a “breakdown” from telling a crowd of 500 (not to mention the internet!) that she felt vulnerable. She makes a joke about running to her therapist to fully analyze her “breakdown”, whereby she was told “It sounds like you are having a spiritual crisis.”

Hers is an awesome talk about how allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is where innovation, creativity and change are born. So I feel comforted knowing that someone as well received as she has walked this walk before me. I’m still okay! In comparison to other things going on, this is a small change for me. It’s my ability to adapt and embrace change that reflects a healthy spirit, and we as women want to remember that.

Enjoy the talk by Brene Brown. While watching, be sure to notice her hair. She looks fabulous.

Danica

Restore Important Minerals With This Simple Winter Recipe

The New Year typically brings abundant energy, as everyone is optimistic about improving their lives and reaching goals.dreamstime_m_463822

It’s a great, almost manic time for many people. Ah, if only we didn’t have to use so much of this new energy reconciling the toxic effects of holiday foods and stress!

Instead of enrolling in exercise bootcamps during these winter months and going against the season’s natural inclination to stay inside and move less, I suggest to my patients that they simply add more greens to their diets.

There are very simple foods that can be prepared easily which have tremendous positive impact on our female health! 

 


I had the good fortune of crossing paths with Jade Rosenberg, a recipe developer from New York. She happened to visit the Well Women office precisely when I needed some new recipes to support The Seed Fertility Program

Going forward, Jade will periodically feature recipes that are beneficial to our hormone health, fertility or wellness and pertinent for the season. Quick to make and sure to delight, Jade’s recipes are something to look forward to for the year ahead!

Here’s a Well Women recipe passed on to patients for over 10 years during the winter season to help restore the important minerals lost to high acid, sugary foods combined with the stress of socializing and finding “perfect” gifts.

Mineral-Rich Leafy Greens 

1-4 Servings, depending on amount of greens used

Ingredients:

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  • 1 bunch of any of the following leafy greens, chopped:
  • Collard greens
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Beet tops
  • Broccolini
  • 1 cup water

 

There are two flavor options to choose from for this recipe:

Option 1 (Basic)

  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Option 2 (Asian)

  •  2-3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Clean the greens.

2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the oil (from Option 1 or 2).

3. Add all of the greens and the liquid. Sauté the greens for 5-8 minutes until the greens are bright and wilted. Keep an eye on it – don’t allow greens to burn or become dry.