Integrative women's health services
Integrative medicine offers singular benefits for staying healthy and promoting wellness. Women have unique health concerns, and the Osher Center for Integrative Health provides a wide range of care options to help with issues from adolescence to mature adulthood.
Integrative women’s health services can help with a variety of women's health concerns, including:
- Staying healthy and promoting wellness
- Weight concerns
- PMS, painful periods or heavy menstrual bleeding
- Preconception counseling
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Sexual concerns
- Recurrent vaginitis, yeast or urinary tract infections
- Menopausal symptoms
Women’s health needs evolve across their lives. It’s important to work with healthcare providers who take this into account when caring for women at different life stages. To help you stay healthy and promote wellness, we have a team of specialists who work together to provide care that is safe and effective, proactive and preventive.
Meet the Team
The Northwestern Medicine Integrative Health team aims to provide a unique healing experience and is dedicated to being your partner in achieving your health goals.
The Osher Center for Integrative Health offers services for all stages of a woman's life, including:
Integrative medicine women’s health consults
An integrative medicine consult explores the whole spectrum of options to manage your unique women’s health needs. Integrative consults are useful for all women’s health issues, ranging from hormone imbalances and chronic fatigue, to mood disorders and chronic pain.
A comprehensive women’s health consultation starts with an extensive history and appropriate evaluation including lab tests and functional medicine tests. Treatment recommendations will offer a range of options, such as herbs and dietary supplements, bio–identical hormones, nutrition and mind–body methods. You may also be referred to other healthcare professionals at the Osher Center for Integrative Health to support your health.
Referrals for additional care may include practitioners in acupuncture, nutrition counseling, naturopathic medicine and health psychology.
Integrative primary care
The primary care providers at the Osher Center for Integrative Health tailor your care to meet your unique medical needs, incorporating referrals to integrative disciplines when appropriate for your concerns. Your primary care provider can help with acute and chronic medical concerns, as well as a prevention strategy to keep you healthy.
Integrative primary care services include wellness visits for prevention and discussion of routine health care maintenance and screening tests, including:
- Annual physicals
- Pap tests
- Breast exams
- STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing
- Pelvic exams for other reasons (symptoms like vaginitis and UTIs)
- Routine vaccinations, including HPV vaccinations
- Contraceptive management
- Pre–conception counseling
- Osteopenia/Osteoporosis screening and treatment
- Discussion of varied female health concerns including mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
We offer a wide variety of approaches for women who want to explore their current life situations. This includes management of stressors such as infertility issues, relationships or professional challenges. Therapy services can help you move your life forward, by helping you feel a greater sense of connectedness, meaning and accomplishment. Women today are torn in many directions as they try to fulfill multiple roles. This often interferes with balance which can ultimately compromise their happiness and well–being.
Strategies for women's behavioral medicine include:
- Exploratory counseling
- Behavioral change approaches
- Positive psychology
- Eastern and Western meditation and relaxation techniques
Therapy can help you become more satisfied with your life. You will be encouraged to make self–care a priority by advocating for yourself, engaging in more self–compassion, and going after what you want in life.
Chiropractic adjustments, which calm the nervous system and increase blood flow, have been shown to help with many symptoms women experience including:
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain and cramping
Chiropractic treatment consists of a thorough initial examination including:
- Palpation tests
- Muscle tests
- Orthopaedic tests
Gentle chiropractic adjustments may be performed, in addition with suggestions for specific home exercises. Therapeutic massage may also be recommended in conjunction with your chiropractic sessions.
Bodywork and energy medicine
Many women’s health needs can be addressed by bodywork and energy medicine. These modalities include but are not limited to:
- Massage therapy: Techniques may include therapeutic massage, deep tissue, neuromuscular, myofascial release, trigger point and muscle release technique (which incorporates stretching and mobility). These work to relieve chronic and acute pain, trauma, injuries, relaxation, stress relief, headaches, neuropathy and many other symptoms.
- Craniosacral therapy (CST): A gentle, hands–on method of evaluating and enhancing the craniosacral system. The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. CST is effective for a wide range of medical problems including stress relief, insomnia, chronic fatigue, headaches, post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional difficulties, chronic pain, infertility and PMS/menopausal symptoms.
- Reiki: A noninvasive healing practice which facilitates the person’s overall health and well–being. Reiki is used by people who are seeking relief from disease related symptoms and side effects of conventional medical treatments. Reiki practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above the person receiving treatment, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response. Reiki is often performed simultaneously with other therapies.
- Lymphatic drainage therapy: A gentle technique that works through the body’s lymphatic system to activate the body fluid circulation and stimulate the functioning of the immune and parasympathetic nervous systems. The result of these actions can include reductions in lymphedema, detoxification of the body, regeneration of tissue and a reduction of scar adhesions. This is very beneficial to those recovering from cancer treatment, reconstruction surgery or doing a cleanse.
- Prenatal and postnatal massage: A safe practice for the expectant mother, when given by an experienced prenatal practitioner. Massage can help with a number of issues during pregnancy including: sciatic nerve pain, carpal tunnel symptom, mild swelling, muscle discomfort (especially mid/lower back and neck), and stress, anxiety and depression. Postpartum massage performed in the months following a birth can help decrease the baby blues and help your body recover more quickly.
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture offer a unique perspective on the nature of health and illness that is different from that of the Western perspective. Developed over the past 5,000 years, TCM is based on restoring and maintaining harmony and balance, both externally and internally, through a highly developed medical system modeled on nature. Women often seek this healing tradition for issues related to menses, such as:
- Irregular or heavy cycles
- Pregnancy–related nausea or back pain
- Sleep issues
- Stress and mood concerns
- Irritable bowel syndrome
It is important to address nutrition in many women’s health arenas, including:
- Weight management
- Disease prevention
- Blood sugar control
- Metabolic syndrome
Nutritional counseling is provided by a registered dietitian. Our dietitians assist women in creating an individualized, sustainable, healthy diet plan for women of all ages. Our integrative nutrition services also stress the importance of realistic goal setting and continued enjoyment of eating for long–term diet and lifestyle changes to promote optimal quality of life.
- Osher Center for Integrative Health Women's Health
- Fitness and Wellness Classes at Northwestern Memorial Hospital: Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers classes, programs and support groups throughout the year to help you live a healthier life.
- About Osher Center for Integrative Health at Northwestern University
- About Integrative Health
- Osher Membership
- Education Opportunities (Internships, Students, Fellowships etc.)
- Research Program