Alton Ching, DPT, OMT, MSPT

Dr. Alton Ching established Advance Physical Therapy, Inc. in 2007 with the goal of building a community of specialized clinicians dedicated to providing the highest level of physical therapy care, education, and outreach to the community.

Dr. Ching has extensive experience in human biomechanics, anatomy, and exercise physiology after earning his Bachelors of Science degree in Exercise Science from UC Davis in 1995 and Masters in Physical Therapy degree from the University of the Pacific in 1998. He continued his advanced training and completed his doctoral residency and board certification in Orthopedic Manual Therapy (OMT) in 2002 from the Ola Grimsby Institute and received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree (DPT) in 2003 from the Ola Grimsby Institute.

Dr. Ching served as a research consultant with the UC Davis Medical Center and the Orthopedic Surgery physicians on improving surgical techniques focused on “Pedicle Screw Salvage and Repair of Lumbar Vertebral Fractures.” He presented the clinical findings at local and regional Orthopedic Surgery consortiums and developed rehabilitation programs to treat patients following lumbar fracture surgery.

He has developed cardiac rehabilitation programs for post-operative care and maintenance programs for Phase I to Phase III patients at the UC Davis Adult Fitness Center and at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Dr. Ching has served as the rehabilitation and ergonomics consultant for UCSF Millberry Fitness Center and for their staff of athletic trainers, personal trainers, and administrators.

He has been involved with establishing outpatient physical therapy practices specializing in orthopedic manual therapy in the Bay Area. He has established consultative relationships with biotechnology, sports medicine, nutrition and corporate companies. He continues to provide workshops for preventive injury care and screening for medical groups, physicians, Team in Training, corporations in Silicon Valley, sports teams, school institutions, and the local community.

Deanne Smith, DPT, MPT, COMT, MS

Dr. Deanne Smith offers a comprehensive approach to physical therapy practice that combines advanced manual therapy training and scientifically-prescribed therapeutic exercise.

Dr. Smith received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Biological Sciences from Wellesley College in 1986 and her Master of Science degree in Physical Education/Exercise Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991.

With her extensive science background in physiology, Dr. Smith implemented research methodology at Stanford Center for Disease Prevention studying “The Effects of Exercise and Erythropoietin In Hemodialysis Patients,” and provided data for maximal exercise testing, muscle strength, muscle biopsies, and lactate analysis for participants. She served as the Clinical Exercise Physiologist in the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Departments for several hospitals including El Camino Hospital. She prescribed exercise programs, provided continuing education on chronic disease management for medical staff, and provided patient counseling on exercise and behavior modification.

Dr. Smith received her Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from Samuel Merritt College in 2002.  She continued her advanced orthopedic specialty training in the Australian approach to physical therapy evaluation and treatment, completed the Australian Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy Year-Long program in 2005, served as an assistant instructor for this course in Redwood City, CA., and became certified as an Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT) in 2008. In 2012, she completed a clinical mentorship with the Kaiser Permanente Fellowship Program in Advanced Orthopedic Manual Therapy and received a manual therapy certification, Level III. Dr. Smith completed her transitional Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The University of Montana in April 2018.

More recently, Dr. Smith has been furthering her clinical specialty and interest in pain management. Her understanding of pain physiology and application of cutting-edge research has enabled her to provide patients with more effective treatment outcomes to resolve and minimize pain. She has been successful at identifying factors that cause the “vicious pain cycle” and at providing the necessary interventions to effectively break the pain cycle. By implementing a more scientific, evidence-based approach, she believes that physical therapists are the ideal health professionals to treat the complexities of chronic pain.

Dr. Smith enjoys counseling and guiding her patients with fun exercise strategies to help them reach their specific health goals, whether it is weight reduction, cardiovascular disease risk factor reduction, pain-free living or achieving overall fitness.

Thomas Tai, DPT, OCS, ATC

Dr. Thomas Tai received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training from the University of the Pacific. After graduating physical therapy school, he completed a year long orthopedic residency program with Agile Physical Therapy. Dr. Tai is also a board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy. His clinical interests include working with sports injuries and conditions of the spine and lower extremities. Dr. Tai integrates a holistic approach to treatment to help his patients achieve their functional goals and optimize healing.

In his spare time, Dr. Tai enjoys spending time with his wife, playing basketball, hiking, going to the beach, eating out, and watching movies and TV shows. 

Hannah Esterman, DPT

Dr. Hannah Esterman is a New Jersey native who received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University in Portland Oregon, graduating with distinguished honors. She completed her undergraduate degree in human physiology at the University of Oregon where she competed as a student athlete on the acrobatics and tumbling team.

Dr. Esterman’s clinical interests include orthopedic sports medicine, post-operative care, geriatric orthopedics, and balance training. She incorporates her athletic background with knowledge of biomechanics and tissue healing properties to provide her patients with a specific and holistic approach to therapy. This includes both hand-on treatment and movement interventions that are individualized for each patient as they progress towards their movement goals.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Esterman enjoys attending workout classes and olympic weight lifting, as well as walking her golden retriever, Cash. She is an avid sports fan and enjoys going to live sporting events, especially watching the Oregon ducks!

Hila Barnea

Hila graduated from San Francisco State University and received her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology in 2022. During this time as a student, she and her classmate founded the Pre-Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy at the school with hopes of applying to physical therapy school.Growing up, she tried numerous different sports, but stuck mainly to dancing, water polo, and swimming. Her interests in movement and sports are what inspired her to sign up for classes such as sports medicine and physiology, which encouraged her more to pursue a career in physical therapy. She additionally enjoyed being a swim instructor where she was able to teach individuals advanced swimming skills.Hila is currently preparing to apply to physical therapy school.During her free time, she enjoys sewing new garments, attending music festivals, hanging out with her friends and dog, as well as adventuring around the Bay Area to find viewpoints or cool outdoor spots in the nature.

Zade Elmowafi

Zade graduated from San Francisco State University and received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Kinesiology in 2015.  He’s a native in the Bay Area and resides in Redwood City. Zade is an avid soccer player and invests much of his time playing and coaching soccer. He’s always been involved in athletics which is one of the reasons his interest in sports medicine and becoming a physical therapist continues to grow. One quote that he lives by: “It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.”

Zade experienced rehab, first hand, when he sustained several soccer injuries playing in college. His mother is an occupational therapist and is the main motivating factor for him to pursue physical therapy. Zade volunteered his time during the summers working at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital and witnessed the quality care, focus and dedication it took to rehab patients back to their functional, healthy lives.

Currently, Zade is preparing to apply to physical therapy school.

During his free time, Zade enjoys lifting weights, traveling to new places, listening to music and watching movies or TV series.

Jeremy Pulumbarit

Jeremy graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration: Accounting in 2019 and an Associate in Arts degree in Kinesiology from the College of San Mateo in 2021. He played different sports over the years such as flag football, basketball, and archery. Currently, Jeremy is preparing to apply to physical therapy school.

In his free time, Jeremy enjoys podcasts, TV series, movies, and spending time with friends and family, including his cat.

Jerrod Choy

Jerrod graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology in May of 2021 with a minor in nutrition for physical performance. He played different sports growing up, including baseball, basketball, cross country, track and field, football, and various forms of martial arts. By overcoming his own athletic injuries through physical therapy, he found his passion to help people heal from their own struggles and find ways to empower them towards healthier living. Jerrod will be pursuing his Doctorate in Physical Therapy and is invested in helping people regain their mobility and return to enjoying a pain free lifestyle.

Jerrod enjoys lifting weights, rock climbing, playing basketball, watching sporting events, cooking, eating, catching up on movies or TV shows, and playing with his dog during his free time.

Denisse Torres

Laura Lorrain

As a Bay Area native, Laura graduated from Sonoma State University and received her Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and American Multicultural Studies in 1998.  At SSU, she was President of the Anthropology Club as well as an athlete in the Track and Field and Cross Country teams.  From there, she spent the next eight years working for a major videogame platform holder in the Bay Area as an Associate Account Manager, maintaining and growing the publishing business partner relationships.  After that, Laura developed a successful career as a California Certified Massage Therapist for a major resort and spa along San Mateo’s majestic coastline for almost 12 years where she utilized deep tissue, Neuromuscular Therapy, Swedish, Reiki, and various body treatments.  For over 10 years, she has been a professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association.

Laura’s desire to continue to support others in their healing journey has led her to earn a certificate as a Patient Navigator and to transition to a Medical Receptionist position and front office management path for Advance Physical Therapy in 2019.

When Laura is not working at the front desk, she enjoys reading books, going outdoors for a hike in the redwoods, and planning backpack trips to the Sierra Nevada mountains with her husband.

Pooja Pandya

Pooja received her Bachelors of Physical Therapy from JG College of Physiotherapy in Ahmedabad, India. With over three years of experience at a prominent physical therapy clinic in her home country, she cultivated a strong foundation for physical therapy assessment and treatment for various orthopedic injuries.

After relocating to the U.S., her desire to help individuals through physical therapy inspired her to learn about medical management. Her focus transitioned to the role of a patient care coordinator and medical receptionist at Advance Physical Therapy. She aspires to specialize in healthcare Administration while maintaining her dedication to helping patients manage their physical therapy care. Pooja draws her energy from knowing that she makes a positive impact on people’s lives while exploring new opportunities to be impactful in healthcare.

In her leisure time, she enjoys traveling to new destinations and watching movies and web series with her husband.

Dr. Ching took the time to really understand what was causing my pain and accurately diagnosed the knee joint problem. He was very thorough and educated me about what was happening inside my knee – he knows his subjects extremely well. I went to him instead of an Orthopedic doctor because I was worried someone would recommend surgery which I wanted to avoid – I’m glad I went to Dr. Ching because I don’t need surgery to correct this.”
Johanna F.
“Deanne Smith has sold me on the value of physical therapy, but I feel what she has taught me in the process of my healing has already proven to be a great enhancement to my life and to my future. She has taught me to manage nerve damage and chronic pain that otherwise would make me want to give up and spend too much time thinking about my boo boos. What I like best about Deanne is that she knows how to treat the whole person–and she is good at it.”
Teresa C.
“Deanne Smith has sold me on the value of physical therapy, but I feel what she has taught me in the process of my healing has already proven to be a great enhancement to my life and to my future. She has taught me to manage nerve damage and chronic pain that otherwise would make me want to give up and spend too much time thinking about my boo boos. What I like best about Deanne is that she knows how to treat the whole person–and she is good at it.”
Teresa C.

Our Greatest Reward Is Knowing That What We Do Best Transforms Lives Towards A Renewed Zest For Living Pain Free.