Tag Archives: trust

Oxytocin and Anna

Without a doubt, the smartest decision I ever made was to ask Anna Werderitsch (formerly Anna Loskutoff) if she would like to practice acupuncture in my office.

After two years of intensely building my practice, I had been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure at age 32. Luckily Anna joined me at that time and she refused to allow me to accept that diagnosis. We decided that during my “rest” days I wouldn’t see patients, but I would go into the office anyway… to see her for acupuncture treatments and nurturing conversation.

Danica & Anna '05

Danica and Anna   ~ 2003

Every time we met I left feeling more in control of my fertility. By talking things out, we came to understand what our teachers meant when they explained that “The uterus is the second heart.”

Those sessions with Anna, my trusted friend and acupuncturist, became centered on releasing my worries, fears and old hurts. Our intention was to repair my “second” heart and make it a safe place for a baby to grow someday.

Fairly soon, it became clear that my situation was improving and likely it was from our conversations, not just the acupuncture. It wasn’t until nearly 5 years later that I realized true healing had occurred — despite my diagnosis, my daughter was conceived on the first natural attempt!

Those vulnerable moments of sharing had worked!

Danica, Anna, & Emily '07

Danica, Anna, & Emily Bartlett   ~ 2006

Over the eight years that Anna worked in my office, we noticed regularly that something “magical” happens in the treatment rooms. In the midst of sharing personal stories and dreams, we were surprisingly able to feel optimistic about even the most challenging patient outcomes and life in general. At the time, we didn’t realize that our boundless optimism came from being under the influence of large doses of oxytocin.

While neither of us intended to create an office space that would store hormones in the walls such as estrogen, oxytocin, endorphins and serotonin, that’s exactly what happened. Over the years all this sharing, conversing, tear-wiping and laughing in the sessions has positively impacted thousands of women.  We were witnessing it most frequently in the form of “infertile” women carrying full-term babies, against the odds.

(from left to right) Virginia Prior, Danica, Anna and Carolin Bennett '07

(from left to right) Virginia Prior, Danica, Anna and Carolin Bennett  ~ 2008

Oxytocin, this understudied “bonding hormone,” has enormous healing potential. Women effortlessly release this magic when they laugh, cry, share… and when they do, from seemingly nowhere, miracles happen. Oxytocin can make even the most cynical person feel as if it is possible to turn things around.

Women with disappointment and despair from various ailments come to Well Women and begin working through life issues such as peri-menopause, infertility and relationship stress. In time they learn to reframe their situations, tap into their emotions and marvel as their situations change for the better.

It’s this phenomenon of the “bonding hormone” that I experienced firsthand several times with Anna, and is what has made the Well Women office such a success.

Well Women Acupuncture began with just Anna and me, talking and healing. It then grew to include several practitioners who have left the practice including Emily Bartlett, Virginia Prior, Carolin Bennett, and Janice Chen. Now there is Jennifer Block, Audrey Guss and Julie Grados. Together we have continued to nurture this oxytocin-rich environment where women tap into their own inner healing source, simply by connecting with each other.

– Danica

The current Well Women Team, ’13! (from top-left): Kaitlyn Connors, Julie Grados, Jennifer Block, Audrey Guss, Danica, Nyjah Westbrooks and Caitlin Phillips. See their full bios on the “About Us” section of the Well Women Website.

The current Well Women Team ~ 2013!
(from top-left): Kaitlyn Connors, Julie Grados, Jennifer Block, Audrey Guss, Danica, Nyjah Westbrooks and Caitlin Phillips.
See their full bios on the “About Us” section of the Well Women Website.

Pushing the Pause Button

Every day, we are confronted with countless decisions. Some of these decisions require immediate attention—should I have a salad for lunch, or a hamburger? Others loom over us, with questions of how and when to resolve these dilemmas further complicating the situation. Should I stay in this relationship? Is this treatment working for me, and if not, what should I do?

As women, we often have so many things competing for our attention; it can feel tremendously gratifying to cross a particular dilemma off our to-do list. Making a choice and taking decisive action can be one of the most effective ways of minimizing stress.

However, there is value in slowing down or accepting the situation as it is, sitting in the confusion or discomfort we feel before making the decision.

This state of non-action gives us an opportunity to ask:


  • What am I feeling, and where are these feelings coming from?
  • What am I telling myself about this decision?
  • Am I concerned that if I don’t make a decision right away, I’ll miss out on an opportunity?
  • Am I worried that others will judge me if I allow the situation to linger?
  • Do I trust that I can handle the consequences of what I decide to do?

As you deepen your thinking about the situation, you may discover that the beliefs or worries you are holding create excess stress that clouds your judgment. Or, you may realize that the decision is quite clear and easy for you to make, but you need to increase your confidence as you prepare to deal with the changes ahead.

Especially now, as many of us feel extreme pressure building inside and around us, the best option might be to push the pause button and develop the capacity to sit in an agonizing situation until we identify a choice that feels right.

~ Joanna Siebert

Shedding the Past

I am working with a woman who recently survived another miscarriage.

A few weeks after the loss she began losing hair on her head, buy which she initially believed to be confirmation that she was officially falling apart.

In our sessions we immediately addressed the grief; the loss of the dream of giving birth at a certain due date.

The sessions validated her feelings of heartache. Soon she was able to trust me, and trust this process.

We began to talk about the ways in which herbs, certain foods, and acupuncture can be viewed as “deposits” back into her baby-making account. Through several conversations about what this particular loss represented for her (an awakening, a shift), she stopped losing hair and is now ovulating again.

Today she is able to reframe the way she views this journey to baby.

Her words now: “I never realized that my hair loss could be viewed as part of a shedding process I needed to do.”

My guess is that the space created from this shedding will be the space that makes room for baby.