By Cary Shuman
Charlie Antzak and Bill Regan have brought a new business to the surging Mill Hill Neighborhood, one that is drawing positive reactions from neighbors, not only for its health and therapeutic services but for its welcoming and soothing interior design.
The two business partners have opened EMA Physical Therapy and Wellness Center at 449 Eastern Ave.
The name Antzak is very familiar to Chelsea residents. The late Charles J. Antzak Sr., Charlie’s father, was the well-known and highly respected plumbing and gas inspector for the city of Chelsea for 50 years. He also served as the city’s building inspector.
The center is named after Charlie’s 92-year-old mother, Edith May (Keating) Antzak, whose brother, the late Thomas Keating Sr., served in the Chelsea Police Department.
Both men take great pride in the center’s décor. There are tones of turquoise, olive, and green.
“We’ve created a spa-like environment with a calming, soothing effect,” said Antzak
What inspired Antzak and Regan to open the center?
“We became interested in the health care business because of my father’s health issues and my mother’s ongoing therapy,” said Antzak. “We feel that everybody can use some of kind therapy when it comes to anything – for example, just to help someone sleep at night. This was something we were always interested in and this was an opportunity that just came out of the blue and we’re here.”
Regan knows first hand the importance of physical therapy and its impact on a person’s rehabilitation after surgery. He had valve replacement and heart bypass surgery last year.
“When I saw what physical therapists do and how they do it and how helpful they are to a person’s recovery, I was so impressed and so appreciative of their skills,” related Regan.
EMA has brought on board certified physical therapist Peter Raftopoulos who has worked in the field of physical therapy for 20 years. Gloria Pagan, sister of former Chelsea High 1,000-point scorer and Chelsea firefighter Ralph Pagan and a healthcare professional for many years, is the office manager.
The center specializes in a number of areas: pre-surgical strengthening, post-surgical therapies, sports injuries, balance disorders walking/gait disorders, geriatric, stroke, back and neck pain, TMJ therapy, and massage therapy.
“Many doctors send their patients to therapists for pre-surgical strengthening so they can handle the surgery,” said
Antzak and Regan confer often with a patient’s physician to discuss the best courses of treatment.
“They’re very hands-on owners,” praises Pagan, a noted patient advocate. Each patient is made to feel comfortable in all phases of the therapeutic process.”
Antzak said that personal touch is important to him and Regan.
“The center is dedicated to both my mother and my dad,” he said. “I feel very strongly about the services we provide and that we’re doing a wonderful thing for people. We also have great people around us in Peter and Gloria. I want our patients to know that we care greatly about their health and well-being.”
“You have to make people feel relaxed and look forward to seeing you,” adds Regan. “We wanted this center to be closer to the people and have a neighborhood approach.”
The spacious center has treadmills, elliptical bicycles, hydroculators (for moist therapy), EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulator) machines, and ice packs.
The co-owners are excited about their new endeavor and the reception from Chelsea residents. They say they’re committed to providing professional excellence for all patients by delivering, high quality, low impact procedures and training to optimize their recovery.
“I’m really excited about the center,” said Antzak. “We’ve tried to make our center spacious and welcoming. We intend to hold specialized classes in yoga, stretching, and barre. We are also going to have a line of products (Isagenix) available at the center.” They are consultants specializing in wellness solutions, including weight loss, healthy aging, energy, and performance.
Regan said EMA will be starting a walking club in the neighborhood. “Walking really does build up your cardiovascular system.”
There is a mutual respect and warmth among the EMA administration and staff.
“Gloria is a star,” said Antzak. “She is so caring. The four of us together are a good team and we work well together.”
“Gloria is just a wonderful person who is very detail oriented,” said Regan. “I’m amazed at her knowledge and how much she cares about the patients and how far she’ll go to assist them.”
Pagan says she’s grateful to the two men for being such a positive, uplifting influence in her life, now giving her a platform in which she can help people and lift them up.
The EMA Physical Therapy and Wellness Center is open three days (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Special appointments are available on other days. All forms of insurance are accepted.