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Integrative Medicine at AGH

The Integrative Medicine Program at Allegheny General Hospital combines conventional medical treatment with complementary approaches such as acupuncture, relaxation therapies, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy, dietary supplements and nutritional counseling to maximize health and wellness and minimize disease.
For general information about the services we offer, see the following descriptions, call 412.359.8951 or email Betsy Blazek-O'Neill, MD, Medical Director, AGH Integrative Medicine Program at

  Acupuncture Massage Therapy
  Community Education Pet Therapy
  Employee Stress Management Reiki
  Holistic Psychology Services Tai Chi for Health
Acupuncture treatments begin with a comprehensive interview so that the acupuncturist has a full understanding of your body's current state. The pulse, tongue and abdomen are observed to complete the diagnostic picture. The treatment is geared specifically toward your unique condition, and it is performed while you rest on a table in a state of deep relaxation.
Needles are sterilized, single-use only and disposable. The needles are so thin (thinner than your hair) that they can go right through a balloon without popping it. Most techniques are very gentle, and produce a sensation of a peaceful warmth and hum of energy flowing throughout one's body. Some people do not notice the needle insertion, while others feel a slight momentary sensation. Treatment is not painful. Patients go into a deep state of relaxation and many fall asleep during the treatment.
There are no harmful side effects from acupuncture treatment. The positive side effects are relaxation and stress reduction. Even if you are afraid of needles, you will most likely find that you are relaxed before the first treatment is over.
Practice and payment information
Acupuncture services are provided at the Federal North Office Building, 1307 Federal Street, Suite 301, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
Acupuncture services are usually self-pay by cash, check or credit card. The fees are $70 per visit for adults, $40 for children, and $150 for a smoking cessation package of 3 treatments.
In some cases, workers’ compensation insurers or personal accident insurers will pay for acupuncture. For basic health care benefits, it is recommended that you contact your provider and ask if you have coverage for acupuncture. If so, payment is required at the time of the visit, and you should submit your receipts directly to the insurance provider.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call 412.359.8951.
Jennifer Whiteside, MAc, is a full-time, licensed acupuncturist.
Community Education
Our staff members are available for educational seminars and presentations on a variety of health and wellness topics, and our program sponsors educational seminars for the public and various groups. To discuss community education and sponsorship opportunities, please call 412.359.8336.
Pathways to Wellness Program
The Pathways to Wellness Program is a series of free classes designed to help you make the first steps toward a lifestyle of healthy eating. The program is offered free of charge to any interested community member and is held at the Allegheny General Hospital-Suburban Campus in Bellevue.

Employee Stress Management

Relaxation and stress management techniques are taught to AGH staff by a trained “mind-body” nurse who will come directly to your worksite. Employee stress management sessions can be held at any on-campus AGH location. For more information or to schedule a session, please call 412.359.8336.
Laura Crooks, RN
Certified Wellness Coach, AGH Employee Stress Management Educator
Holistic Psychology Services
A licensed psychologist offers psychological services that incorporate mind, body and spirit. These strategies include cognitive and bodily techniques along with self-care strategies that support relaxation, health and improved quality of life. 
Practice and payment information
Holistic psychology services are provided at the Federal North Office Building, 1307 Federal Street, Suite 301, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Holistic psychology services may be paid for by health insurance under behavioral health coverage terms. Patients may also self-pay by cash, check or credit card. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 412.359.8900.

Barbara Jean Nagrant, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
Massage Therapy
Massage therapy may be beneficial for relaxation and stress management or for treatment of specific conditions, such as muscular tightness and pain syndromes. Several massage therapists offer a variety of massage therapy services to treat pain or stress and increase relaxation. Our massage therapists offer Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, chair or table massage, and neck and shoulder massage.

6:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.    Lori Sabol
4 p.m. – 9 p.m.        Marty Brennan

7 a.m. – 3 p.m.         Marty Brennan
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.        John O’Neill

7 a.m. – 11 a.m.        Charlotte Gagnon
7 a.m. – 6 p.m.        Marty Brennan

7 a.m. – 11 a.m.        Charlotte Gagnon
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.        John O’Neill

4 p.m. – 9 p.m.        Lori Sabol

12 p.m. – 5 p.m.    Lori Sabol

Additional times are available by appointment.

Jacquie Algaier
Jacquie Algaier is a certified, licensed massage therapist in Pennsylvania and has been in practice for more than 14 years.  She has specialized training and experience in oncology (cancer) massage.  Her coursework through the Peregrine Institute in Santa Fe, N.M. over the past three years has included Massage of Cancer Patients, Manual Lymph Drainage, Eastern Oncology Massage and Scar Tissue Mobilization for Breast Reconstruction Surgery.  Jacquie is also experienced in Swedish massage and hot stone massage.
Potential benefits of massage for cancer patients include reducing anxiety, decreasing need for pain medications, strengthening the immune system, reducing side effects of treatment, enhancing sleep, enhancing appetite, relaxation and reduced nausea.  Persons without cancer can also experience similar benefits of massage. Jacquie is available for out-call appointments for home-bound clients and sees clients in her own office and at AGH, hours by appointment. She can be contacted at 330.858.4335. 
Marty Brennan
Marty Brennan is a massage therapist and is also trained in Reiki. He works as a volunteer in the AGH Integrated Medicine Program’s inpatient Reiki program. He concentrates on reducing stress, tension, anxiety and pain with Reiki, massage and ortho-bionomy techniques. He offers chair and table massage, Swedishmassage, deep tissue massage, pregnancy massage, reflexology, and manual lymphatic drainage. Marty is available for one and two hour sessions at a rate of $65/hour. He can be contacted at 412.735.9274.
Charlotte Gagnon
Charlotte "Charlie" Gagnon, LMT, is a 1998 graduate of Cayce Reilly School of Massage Therapy in Virginia. She has worked extensively in developing skills in massage and energy modalities, some of which include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, reiki, reflexology and Chinese craniosacral therapy. Each session engages techniques tailored for client's individual needs. In addition to her passion for health and wellness, she has worked extensively in caring for people with life altering illnesses and is an active member of the Society for Oncology Massage. She can be contacted at 412.523.0504.
John O’Neill
John O’Neill is a massage therapist and offers Swedish massage, chair and table massage. He is available at a rate of $1/minute. He can be contacted at 412.373.7973.
Gregory Park
Gregory Park has practiced and taught shiatsu and traditional Thai massage for 20 years. He formally studied under Asokananda, Kam Thye Chow and the Institute of Thai Massage (ITM) in Chaing Mai, Thailand in 1994 and received a diploma from the International School of Shiatsu in Doylestown, Pa. Thai massage blends acupressure with assisted yoga, and a typical session consists of guided passive yogic stretches while the therapist uses a combination of finger, palm, elbow, knee and foot techniques, applying pressure along the body’s energy network. Gregory is available at a rate of $55/session for shiatsu massage (45-60 minutes) and $95/session for Thai massage (90 minutes – 2 hours). He can be contacted at 412.401.7447.
Lori Sabol
Lori Sabol is a massage therapist and offers chair massage, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, hot stone massage, and shiatsu massage. Hot stone massage can be done with hot stones directly on the skin or with hot stones wrapped in towels. This involves 2 full hours of detox for $85. Shiatsu is Japanese for “finger pressure.” Shiatsu massage is done fully clothed on a mat. A 90 minute session including stretching is $75. A one-hour session of Swedish massage is $50. A 90-minute session of deep tissue massage is $60. Chair massage sessions vary from 10-30 minutes ($5 for 10 minutes, $10 for 15 minutes, $15 for 20 minutes, $20 for 25 minutes, and $25 for 30 minutes). She can be contacted at 724.575.2640.
Practice and payment information
Massage therapy services are provided at Allegheny General Hospital, Integrative Medicine Wellness Rooms, 490 East North Ave., Allegheny Professional Building, First Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. 
Massage therapy services are usually self-pay by cash or check as determined by each therapist. Some health insurers will pay for massage therapy with a doctor’s prescription. It is the responsibility of the patient to inquire about payment through his or her insurance provider. For more information, please call 412.359.8951.
Pet Therapy
Pet therapy has been shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, relieve anxiety and ease depression in a large number of patients, especially those who may be away from their own pets to receive their medical care. Inpatients and select outpatients at AGH have access to free visits from certified therapy dogs based on volunteer availability. For more information or to schedule a pet therapy session, please call the AGH Volunteer Office at 412.359.3067. 

Reiki has been shown to reduce anxiety, support the natural healing process, enhance the immune system, ease pain and increase feelings of vitality and general well-being. Inpatients and select outpatients at AGH have access to free Reiki sessions based on volunteer availability. For more information or to schedule a Reiki session, please call the AGH Volunteer Office at 412.359.3067. 

Tai Chi for Health
Part exercise, part meditation, tai chi is a great way to quiet the mind, reduce tension and gently strengthen the body. Excellent for maintaining wellness in healthy individuals, its slow, fluid, balanced movements may also help people manage chronic health conditions. Tai chi is known for improving concentration, breathing, stability and agility. Regular practice of tai chi has been shown to alleviate pain, prevent falls, reduce blood pressure and balance blood sugar.

Classes are sponsored by the Integrative Medicine Program and Lupus Center of Excellence in cooperation with the Arthritis Foundation. They are taught by Gurney Bolster, MA, registered dance/movement therapist, senior trainer, Tai Chi for Health Institute, certified instructor, Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program.
Upcoming Tai Chi for Health programs