31 March 2012

( serenity junction—an emphasis on best function )

by jennifer hetrick

sleepless nights and a beyond-words degree of pain she couldn’t bear led graphic designer shannon anthony to switch careers. the scoliosis plaguing her body and the disappointing results of traditional approaches to her condition, along with a healthcare system that would only cater to her chiropractic costs so much, eventually became inspiration for what is now known as serenity junction at 127 east philadelphia avenue in boyertown.

anthony heard her diagnosis of scoliosis at age 20. dealing with and managing the pain of it as well as she could, she noticed the severity of it growing so exponentially over a period of years that even her employers, jim & kim herman, saw how unbearable it had become, affecting her constantly at work. her health insurance provider stopped covering costs for her chiropractic adjustments at one point, because she went so often, to ease her suffering. once the coverage ended, the hermans, owners of ultimate printing service, inc. in barto, began to search online for alternative approaches to back pain relief because they had such concerns for her. the hermans are also good friends of anthony’s parents.

their first find stood as an inversion table, where ankles are safely latched into place, and a person hangs upside-down to reverse the stressful effects of gravity pushing down on the spine.

“your spine is constantly under pressure from gravity,” she explains.

anthony recognized some relief from her symptoms just a few short days after trying out the table. but this made her curious to learn more about other alternative approaches to her condition—ones not normally known about or advocated by traditional medical professionals.

while perched on the sofa, wide awake at 4 a.m. one night, anthony watched a news broadcast about vibration exercise machines, something unfamiliar to her at the time. they would soon be hers.

in the past, anthony just housed a few vibration exercise machines at serenity junction. but with growing demand and walk-ins at the storefront every day, she recently brought in more and now has six of them, ready for use. with the quickly bumping and powerful movement of them, only 15 minutes on one of the vibration exercise machines equals to the effort of having worked out for 60 minutes at a gym. the machines are great for therapy work, too, and for those who have mobility restrictions, as they do a lot of the work for the body, mid-exercise.

anthony also found a hydro-massage bed where a person can rest, fully-clothed, and feel the better pressure of strong jets moving up and down the backside, with adjustable levels of the movement, customizable to each user’s liking. this is what anthony calls the treat after 15 minutes on the inversion table and also on the vibration exercise machines.

 ( shannon anthony, owner of serenity junction, works the muscles 
of her right leg on this vibration exercise machine; she advocates a variety 
of exercises and styles of propping onto its surface, with more than 500 exercises 
available to consider, to work out different parts of the body in different ways )

these three components offered to the public are something unique not only in the region and in pennsylvania but also in the country, as these alternative exercise and therapy pieces of equipment are not found in any one retail outlet for consumers elsewhere but are usually instead seen in hospitals and chiropractic offices—usually, only one or another of the machines are in each of those kinds of settings. this keeps serenity junction matchless not only on the local level but on the national level, too.

and the far-reaching persuasion of the location speaks for itself, as anthony has clients around the county but also from longer distances, including a woman whose day job is as a breast cancer surgeon in new york city; she pines for the opportunity to get away from her work, easily one of the most stressful professions in the world today, to give herself the gift of what serenity junction has to offer, different from traditional exercise routes.

“when i wasn’t in pain, i didn’t know how to react to that,” anthony says in reflecting on how her life has reshaped since blossoming into better days.

it’s easy to see then just why she felt so passionate about sharing her success with others who are in a constant and real battle of physical suffering; she wanted to help others understand that there is hope and that life can be something well-worth enjoying—and that pain doesn’t necessarily have to be chronic or unfixable.

anthony has also seen a bit of an addictive effect with the environment where she’s made her work-home. people who come in seem to be ecstatic to be there and often comment on how they could never find the motivation to want to stay at a gym for long or to even go to one at all, and yet they have a curious energy and enthusiasm for wanting to make their way to serenity junction on a regular basis. this is most likely in no small thanks also to the personalized touch anthony provides, showing how she really does care for each person, wanting them to find new perks of happiness in their life again the way she experienced after she finally began to feel relief from her own back and bodily pain.

the environment is also plenty full of social-smart possibilities, too, as personal parties are available with one-on-one training and assistance—this is something women have been learning to appreciate on weekends, anthony observed, as people are looking for new and exciting chances to spend time with their friends while creatively thinking of efforts to be good to their bodies, which in turn affects so much else en route to happiness in life-days.

one great benefit clients have mentioned to anthony is that the more they visit to exercise, the less they take the medications they were reliant on for so long, for pain. some are even able to go off of their medications, because of what this alternative approach is doing for their health, and that’s something anthony finds very rewarding to know she is helping to coax along for the better, locally.

two-week free trials are available. for more information, visit www.serenityjunction.com or call 610.367.heal.

( burger mania—an extravaganza for the burger-geared palate )

by jennifer hetrick
burger for your thoughts ? this quick toss of phrasing fits cd’s place well for anyone visiting 237 north reading avenue in boyertown on a thursday or friday between the deliciously-aimed hours of 4 and 7 p.m. those precious for the palate minutes are when burger mania takes the stage under the kitchen direction of restaurant owner chris dietz.    
not intending to pat his own back but having to do so anyway out of the sheer winning knowledge and accuracy of recognizing that he makes a damn good burger, dietz whipped up the idea of burger mania more than a year ago. believing in a crave-worthy burger done with such taste-ready success, and with topping choices a bit beyond the norm, dietz wanted to bring his affection for the almighty burger to the audience of locals. and it’s proven to be a sly decision because dietz has quite a fan club continually growing for the burger-love that starts at his grill but also for the food musts on the rest of his regular menu, including a number of entrĂ©es and specials that have won over his strictly pennsylvania dutch eaters who were a challenge when it came to getting them to try unfamiliar flavor-sets. if anyone can woo taste buds to the other side, it is easily dietz, in the 19512 zip code.

but the beckoning burgers are an appeal all their own as each new weekend nears. those who stop in for burger mania are welcome to choose from three total toppings, with a number of them a bit unexpected yet clearly made for these american classics per plate—evident after just a bite.


five cheese choices (provolone, swiss, cheddar, american, and pepper jack) and three pepper pluses (green, sweet, and hot) are on the burger mania menu.

also on that toppings list are fried onions, mushrooms, the cali set-up—known as lettuce and tomato—bacon, fried salami, pork roll, fried egg, pizza, wing, and barbeque sauces, sour cream, blue cheese dressing and even taco seasoning.

gimme toppings are ketchup, mustard, onion, mayo, relish, and pickles.

this variety of toppings makes it easy for a different lineup of flavor combos every time you visit, and thankfully, these burgers are incapable of inching toward boredom for a mouth that likes to live on the edge and try something new, on repeat, while still savoring the gift of a great burger.

a small drink and small set of fries come with burger mania for $6.95 per person, but it can be super-sized in a snap for $7.95.

and as a strong believer in supporting locally, dietz buys his fresh, never frozen 80 percent lean, hand-formed beef from brooke meat plant in bechtelsville, which is just three miles away from cd’s place.

he also sources greens from butter valley harvest in bally, a little more than six miles from him. when tomatoes are seasonally available in the hydroponic operation’s greenhouses, he puts those on his burgers for the cali set-up, juxtaposed with a lettuce that yells of its own green-happy lure via gustatory cells.

and it’s probably at least decently fair to say that the atmosphere and the very shape of the cozy restaurant are a lot of what make people happy to stop in and check out the food scenery. as is easily visible while driving past on route 562, cd’s place is one of three former cup-shaped restaurants built around the early 1940s, with the other two in pottstown and pennsburg. but the ode to all things rock and roll also speaks a bit of soul-sound comfort in the space, as dietz has the walls decked out in posters of history-stirring, iconic musicians, the countertop is home to copies of his old albums and concert tickets, and guitars pepper the restaurant as a reminder of his love aside from cooking a good meal—music done well from decades ago.

after a former career as a postal clerk, dietz just celebrated nine years in running cd’s place and knows putting out fabuloso food but especially a delish burger is where his heart sings its best with the lyrics of life. and if you have to use the bathroom while in the restaurant, you’ll notice many a line from time-hugging songs penned across the whole inner side of the door, at least in the ladies room.

to find out more, visit www.cdsplace.com or search for cd’s place restaurant& catering on facebook. and love up a local burger, while you’re at it.

01 March 2012

( migraine: pain of the body, cry of the spirit )

by marian frances ordway

migraine headaches slam hard, like a freight train smashing into a mountainside. despite doctors, head scans, and meds, they can hit again and again. if you or a loved one feel like you’re just waiting for the next migraine to hit, there’s a book waiting for you at www.migrainehealing.com. hope in a book; a way to conquer chronic pain-- migraine: pain of the body, cry of the spirit.