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Integrative Medicine

Complementary & Integrative Medicine

For more than a decade, Gundersen has offered many complementary medical services for patients. These are services that complement or assist with wellness when integrated with conventional medicine.

Patients may use integrative medicine for a variety of reasons:

  • For relief of symptoms or side effects while undergoing conventional treatments, such as nausea relief during cancer treatments
  • To help with pain or symptoms not alleviated by conventional medicine
  • To manage stress, anxiety, depression or anger
  • For insomnia or fatigue
  • To increase a sense of well-being

Patients seeking complementary medical services should receive those services under the supervision of a healthcare professional. That's because some complementary therapies can mask symptoms or interact with medications. So consult your doctor before beginning any alternative therapies. By working with a medical provider who also offers integrative medicine, you can be sure what you're taking is safe and in the most effective dose.

Integrative Medicine services and therapies

Gundersen Health System has long offered a number of complementary medical services because we believe in treating the whole person, not just a condition. Our integrative medical services are evidence-based therapies that complement more traditional forms of healthcare.


Acupuncture uses hair-thin needles inserted at specific points in the body to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities, relieve pain and promote physical and emotional well-being. Used alone or integrated with other treatments, acupuncture may provide relief for:

  • Muscle and joint pain or fibromyalgia
  • Nausea from anesthesia or chemotherapy
  • Digestive problems such as nausea or gastritis
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Menopause-related symptoms such as cramps and hot flashes
  • Irregular/painful periods and premenstrual syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Tension and stress-related problems
  • Pain and anxiety with surgery, childbirth, physical therapy
  • Smoking cessation

Available at Viroqua Clinic, Hillsboro Specialty Clinic and Onalaska Family Medicine.

Chiropractic manipulation

Chiropractic manipulation is a non-surgical, drugless way to optimize health, manage pain and improve function. A variety of techniques may be used based on your pain level, cause, age, activity level and medical history. It may be an option if you're suffering with acute or chronic pain, radicular pain (radiating down the path of the nerve) and mechanical joint dysfunction. This includes:

  • Back pain
  • Disc injuries
  • Spinal arthritic conditions
  • Overuse injuries
  • Pregnancy-related back pain
  • Other types of mechanical back pain

Chiropractic manipulation is used independently or in conjunction with other treatments such as physical therapy or more advanced medical interventions. By taking a holistic approach, Gundersen chiropractors help patients maintain healthy musculoskeletal and nervous systems, and may reduce the need for pain medication or invasive procedures in some patients.

Available at Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Dry needling

Dry needling or intramuscular manual therapy is a drug-free way to help stop muscle pain by deactivating a trigger point. Trigger points are tiny knots that develop in a muscle when it is injured or overworked. These spots are painful at their site, and can also cause "referred pain" in other areas. Dry needling may help you with headaches and migraines or muscle pain in your jaw, neck, shoulder, arm, back, buttock or leg.

Available at Sports Medicine in Onalaska, Sparta Clinic, and in Physical Therapy at West Union Hospital, Hillsboro Hospital, and Boscobel Hospital.

Essential oils

Essential oils may be used if you're experiencing pain, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, insomnia or for smoking cessation. When inhaled, essential oils trigger the limbic system. When applied to the feet, the active elements in the oils are absorbed. Some patients have described a change almost immediately. While essential oils are very safe when used correctly, Gundersen does not use them for children under age 2 or women in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. Staff at our Integrative Medicine Center can talk to you about essential oils and what may work best for you.

Available at the Gundersen Pharmacy – Onalaska Clinic, Gift Shop on the La Crosse Campus and Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Home Medical Supply in West Union, Iowa.

Functional medicine

Functional medicine promotes wellness by addressing the underlying cause(s) of a condition, rather than isolated symptoms. It looks at influences on your health, including your medical history, environment, genetics, and psychological, spiritual and social factors in your life. By looking at these together, your provider is able to identify the root cause—or causes—and develop a personalized treatment plan to optimize your health. The goal is to treat the cause of the issue and not just the symptoms. Treatment may include traditional medicine such as a prescription, imaging or lab testing; complementary therapies such as chiropractic care, acupuncture or massage therapy; and lifestyle changes such as modifying your diet or sleep schedule, learning stress-management techniques or increasing physical activity.

Available at La Crosse Family Medicine.

Herbal therapy

Herbal therapy is used to balance the body's nutritional well-being through dietary supplements and herbal medicines. If you are already using herbal supplements, inform your healthcare provider and report any symptoms or conditions you may be experiencing.

Available at the Tomah Clinic.

Massage therapy

Whether you are looking to manage pain and chronic body tension or are simply looking for greater relaxation, massage therapy can support your physical comfort and overall health and well-being.

Massage treatments available through the Integrative Medicine Center are focused on your individual needs and include:

  • Swedish massage: A relaxation massage that relieves tension and stress by increasing blood flow and circulation. The treatment is characterized by long, soothing strokes and circular motions, and is applied with light to medium pressure.
  • Deep tissue massage: A massage that targets deep tissue and fascia, also called connective tissue. Deep strokes are often applied with increasing pressure to help relax knotted muscles and heal injuries.
  • Pregnancy massage: A modified Swedish massage that helps reduce common symptoms of pregnancy, including but not limited to nausea, fatigue, leg cramps and back pain. Positioning techniques and body pillows ensure the massage is conducted safely and effectively for both mother and baby.
  • Lymphatic drainage massage: A gentle massage for the treatment of lymphedema. The technique encourages the elimination of waste fluids from the body and can reduce swelling and inflammation of lymph nodes following a medical procedure or illness.
  • Chronic medical condition massage: A specialized massage for people with chronic medical conditions who may require additional consideration and gentler techniques.
  • Trigger point therapy: A targeted massage that addresses a source of pain. The technique involves deep breathing and is often used to manage chronic injuries, which may be causing pain to spread to other parts of the body: for example, a back injury that leads to neck pain.

Massage therapy is available at Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in La Crosse, St. Joseph's Hospital & Clinics in Hillsboro and Tri-County Hospital & Clinics in Whitehall.

Medical consultation

Medical consultation with a physician specially trained in Integrative Medicine can help answer questions about treatment options for treating symptoms and conditions such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Chronic pain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety, depression and stress

Consultations may include assessment and guidance on:

  • Detoxification, anti-inflammation and elimination diet programs
  • Safety and effectiveness of botanical (herbal) therapies and dietary supplements, as well as interactions between herbs, vitamins, prescriptions and foods
  • Minimizing prescription medications, doses and/or side effects
  • The mind-body-spirit connection and its impact on health
  • Lifestyle medicine including nutrition, exercise, stress management and sleep
  • Coordination of care with your primary care provider and other providers including those in the Integrative Medicine Center
  • A personalized self-care plan

Available at the Tomah Clinic.

Menopause help

Menopause help offers you natural therapies for dealing with the symptoms of menopause such as bioidentical hormone therapy and herbal therapy.

Available at the Center for Women.

Nicotine cessation programs

Nicotine cessation programs can help you quit tobacco use. Gundersen offers a variety of programs and support.

Details and class schedules


Nutraceuticals are natural substances found in food and have medicinal properties to treat and prevent certain diseases. They can be added to your diet by increasing consumption of certain foods or you can take them as nutritional supplements. Nutraceuticals are offered and can be custom ordered through the Gundersen Pharmacies in La Crosse and Onalaska.

Available at the Tomah Clinic and La Crosse Family Medicine

Nutrition counseling

Nutrition counseling can be helpful when you need disease-specific nutrition guidance for:

  • Renal or gastrointestinal issues
  • Cancer- or heart-related nutrition concerns
  • Nutritional needs as part of recovery during a hospitalization
  • The control of cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and weight

Available from Nutrition Therapy.


Prolotherapy (regenerative injection therapy) uses a mild irritant solution injected into an injured ligament or tendon at the point where it attaches to the bone. It is designed to increase blood flow to a chronic injury and stimulate the body's natural healing. The goal is less pain and inflammation, and improved function. Prolotherapy can play an important role if you:

  • Have musculoskeletal complaints that are not compatible with a surgical option
  • Would like to consider alternatives to surgery
  • Continue to have pain or dysfunction despite interventions

Available at Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Other approaches

Please note, not all services may be covered by insurance. Please check with your insurance provider.

Integrative Medicine is a department of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center.

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