Our Team

Release Physical Therapy staffs the top physical therapists in Washington, D.C. and Tysons, VA. Our experienced and highly trained physical therapists specialize in treating the outpatient orthopedic population, including sports therapy, chronic pain management, orthopedic/spinal therapy, pre/post-surgical therapy, as well as wellness and prevention. Our PTs utilize a wide range of therapies and technologies to deliver a personalized care plan.  All of our physical therapists are accepting new patients.

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Cari Simon Physical Therapist

Dr. Cari Simon PT, DPT, CMTPT, ART

Owner & Physical Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Dr. Cari Simon received her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Hartford. A former All-New England and All-State soccer player, she was part of the U.S. Women’s Soccer National Team pool, but ultimately decided to redirect her career in pursuit of her true passion: care. She is now one of the top physical therapists in Washington, DC. As one of the most highly regarded physical therapists in Washington, DC, Dr. Cari Simon’s treatment approach combines manual mobilization and manipulation techniques with individualized therapeutic exercise. She is a full body Active Release Technique (ART) provider. Additionally, Dr. Simon utilizes McConnell, athletic, and Kinesio Taping methods, as well as Trigger Point Dry Needle Therapy. When she is not helping her patients meet their physical goals, Dr. Simon enjoys networking with other physical therapists in Washington, DC, outdoor activities and spending time with her family.

stephanie lam physical therapist washington dc

Dr. Stephanie Lam PT, DPT, CMTPT

Physical Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Dr. Stephanie Lam received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the School of Health Technology and Management at Stony Brook University, after attaining dual degrees in Biology and Psychology from the University of Virginia. She is highly experienced in several fields of adult orthopedics, including post-surgical recovery, acute sports injury rehabilitation, athletic performance improvement, and chronic pain management. She also has a passion for pediatrics and has treated kids of all ages for congenital and developmental issues.

Dr. Lam uses her patient’s individual goals to guide treatment, addressing her patient’s symptomatic impairments while considering their day-to-day ability to function and perform athletic and recreational activities. Dr. Lam incorporates manual therapy throughout her treatments, specializing in extensive deep soft tissue manipulation and mobilizations of the spine and peripheral joints, as well as dry needling.

Ethan Gramstad physical therapist washington dc

Ethan Gramstad PT, DPT, CMTPT

Physical Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Dr. Ethan Gramstad is the newest addition to the staff at Release Physical Therapy. A native of Virginia, he has recently relocated to Washington, DC following the last two years of practicing PT in Denver, Colorado. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia where he was a member of the UVA Men’s Rowing team for three years. It was that experience that ignited his interest in the science of exercise, as well as physiology and anatomy. He went on to obtain his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University from Norfolk, Virginia in 2017.

Dr. Gramstad uses manual therapy and mobilization techniques to obtain optimal patient outcomes and places a high priority on establishing a strong patient-therapist relationship. He focuses on assisting his patients in meeting their physical goals and finds satisfaction in the application of individualized exercise programs, as well as dry needling to achieve success. He has previous experience in providing pre and post-operative therapy protocols and treating the outpatient orthopedic population. Besides his rowing days, Dr. Gramstad has personally participated in endurance sports; running Cross Country and multiple marathons and continues to maintain a devotion to a rigorous gym regimen.

Deborah Ajala physical therapist washington dc

Deborah Ajala PT, DPT, COMT, CMTPT

Physical Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Dr. Deborah Ajala is an astute physical therapist who takes her time to get to know her patients in order to provide the best possible care. Dr. Ajala’s lifelong passion for caregiving led her to a career in physical therapy. She received a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with a minor in Exercise Science and Wellness Management from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, where she obtained a Doctorate in Physical Therapy thereafter. Dr. Ajala holds certifications in Orthopedic Manual Therapy (COMT) and Trigger Point Dry Needling (CMTPT). Her goal with each patient is to optimize their return to function.

Dr. Ajala previously worked at an Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic in Maryland as a staff clinician. There, she served a diverse patient population treating a wide range of orthopedic conditions including sports medicine, pre/post operative rehabilitation, overuse injuries and several others.

In her free time, Dr. Ajala enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and sports. She also enjoys exploring new DC neighborhoods and is a restaurant enthusiast.

Mia Smyser

Mia Smyser PT, DPT, COMT, CIDN

Physical Therapist, Pelvic Floor Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Tysons and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Mia Smyser is a native of the DMV. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Miami, after receiving her Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina. She thinks movement is of foundational importance and is dedicated to improving people’s mobility and function and helping them achieve their optimal physical well-being.

She is passionate about continuing to learn and grow in the profession. She is a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT), certified in Integrative Dry Needling and is continuing her coursework with Herman & Wallace as a pelvic health therapist.

Dr. Smyser previously worked at outpatient physical therapy clinics in Washington, DC and Falls Church, VA, treating a wide variety of conditions including sports medicine, pelvic health, pre/post-operative rehabilitation, and pediatrics, among others.

In her free time, she prioritizes spending time with her husband, son & dog; playing soccer and running; coaching HIIT and checking out new restaurants.

Caitlin Tollis massage therapist washington dc

Caitlin Tollis LMT

Massage Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Caitlin Tollis graduated from the Baltimore School of Massage in 2009 and has been working in massage therapy for over 10 years. She specializes in targeted deep tissue, myofascial release, injury rehab, and postural realignment. She enjoys specialized deep work that addresses each client’s unique challenges and preferences.

Alyxx Johnson massage therapist washington dc

Alyxx Johnson LMT

Massage Therapist, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Alyxx Johnson is a native of Dallas, TX where her earliest memories of embodiment started at age 6 with West African Dance and All Star Competition Cheerleading. She is a graduate of The Ailey School/Fordham University BFA Program in Dance, and holds an MFA in Performance + Performance Studies from Pratt Institute. Over the years, her passion for dance and movement has evolved into a love of the body, which led to her furthering her education at the Northern Virginia School of Therapeutic Massage. Alyxx uses her experience as an artist and NASM Certified Personal Trainer, as well as the principles of lengthening and aligning the body from her work as a Zena Rommett Floor Barre Instructor to inform her practice of massage. Through the use of various techniques, with an emphasis placed on deep tissue work, Alyxx does her best to guide each client toward their best feeling body.

Lynnette M. Gonzalez Avila

Office Manager, Release Physical Therapy Washington, D.C.

Lynnette M. Gonzalez Avila moved to DC in January 2021 to take on the role of Office Manager at Release Physical Therapy. She is from a small island off the east coast of Puerto Rico, called Culebra. Lynnette has an Associate Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Puerto Rico, a Bachelor’s Degree in Language and Speech Therapy from Ana G. Mendez University and is currently finishing up her Master’s in Business Administration at Walden University.

She has experience working as an occupational therapy aid in pediatric clinics and as an administrator in hospitality and vehicle rental businesses. She is fully bilingual in Spanish and English, enjoys CrossFit, rock-climbing, and exploring the city. Lynnette is dedicated to managing her work with 100% professionalism and always welcomes you with a smile and warm “hello”.