Laura Bannister


Laura Bannister is a modern dancer who applies her love for movement and unique understanding of the human body to her practice as a PT. Since graduating from the University of Washington with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2005, Laura has been dedicated to post graduate education, earning advanced credentials as a board certified Orthopedic Specialist (American Physical Therapy Association 2009) and as an Orthopedic Manual Therapist (Ola Grimsby Institute).

Laura is the owner of Avant Physical Therapy. Since opening the clinic in 2013, she has grown Avant to become an integral part of the Belltown, South Lake Union, Downtown and Lower Queen Anne neighborhoods. She enjoys working with a broad spectrum of clients including orthopedic injuries, hip hypermobility, acute and chronic low back pain, postural dysfunction, and loves to work with those patients who may be a bit of a puzzle. Laura is also a specialist in dance medicine. In addition to sitting on the Board of the Seattle Performing Arts Medical Association, she is dedicated to treating both professional and recreational dancers from around the greater Seattle area.

Laura enjoys spending her free time with her husband, chasing their two lovely daughters through the city, beaches and mountains. She finds personal fulfillment in exercise, gardening, interior design, and entertaining.

Board Certification

Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (APTA)

Physical Therapy


Orthopedic Manual Therapist; Ola Grimbsy Institute (2008)

Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Washington (2005)

Bachelor of Arts, Dance from the University of Iowa (1999)

Professional Affiliations

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

Physical Therapy Association of Washington (PTWA)

Board Member Seattle Performing Arts Medicine Group

Private Practice Section member (APTA)

Clinical Instructor for Physical Therapy Education

Invited Speaker

Dance Injury Education and Prevention: Spectrum Dance Theater

Current Concepts in Core Stabilization for Pilates

Healing From Injury: How Pilates can facilitate tissue change in collagen, cartilage and bone

University of Washington – The Benefits of Pilates for Injury Prevention and Treatment. (2006)


Proprioceptive Based Exercise and Lateral Ankle Sprains

Happy Patients

I was recently dealing with a vestibular issue, commonly known as BPPV, and I was absolutely miserable. For those that don't know, this is where you experience sudden onsets of vertigo, and it can be absolutely debilitating. Not knowing anything about it, I went to my primary care doctor for this, and he suggested I see a physical therapist. I haven't had much prior experience with physical therapy, so I wasn't sure where to go. A friend of mine referred me to Avant Physical Therapy, and I can't stress enough how good of a referral that was. They are knowledgeable, caring and really go out of their way to make sure you are getting the right attention. With the help of one of their knowledgeable therapists, Dr. Kate Amsden, I was back to my normal self in no time! Obviously, the hope is that one never has to see a doctor of any kind, but I gotta say, I'm gonna miss the staff at Avant! They are the best. Hands down.

Bryce H.

When I damaged my knee during my Ironman training in the summer of 2017, I was devastated. Upon finding out surgery was necessary, I was sent to VCU for physical therapy. During this time, Maral was assigned to me as the best PT fit for my needs. As an athlete herself, the perspective she brought to my therapy was absolutely invaluable. Not only did she put me through the most advanced ACL PT regimen, but something happened that I could not have foreseen. She became a life coach, as it were. She watched me curse, tear up, give up, but stayed beside me the whole time. She pushed me at every session, using my competitive nature to help fuel me. There were times when I was frustrated with my progress, even walking out of a PT session one day. The next time I came in, she became a coach and a friend, giving me some tough “love”. That moment was a turning point in my recovery. I was motivated and invigorated to push myself, to be patient, to follow each exercise to the tee, and my recovery time quickly accelerated. I can honestly say I am stronger, both physically and mentally, thanks to Maral’s expertise and motivation. I actually had a personal best on the run of a triathlon I did less than a year after my surgery. I hope, as does every athlete, to never have to face this type of injury again. But, if I do, I hope Maral can be there for me.

Lance H. - Ironman Triathlete

Maral is the real deal. As an 11 year NFL veteran running back, I have worked with many therapist and trainers. I appreciate Maral’s ability to assess movement deficiencies, identify where the restrictions in my body are and come up with a detailed plan during treatment as well as for me to do on my own. From the first day I worked with Maral she set out to understand my goals and do everything she could to help me accomplish them. We went through countless test and retest session after session to ensure maximum results. She is attentive to detail, she listens and really tries to understand what I’m feeling and what I want to accomplish. I appreciate her passion and energy that she brings to every session. Maral loves her work and I’ve watched how she cares about every patient . I appreciate her willingness to think outside of the box, her desire and appetite to learn and her determination to find a solution at all cost.

Tim Hightower, NFL Running Back

After playing eighteen years of competition soccer, seven years of professional soccer & five major surgeries, I was blessed with the best medical personal I've ever had. I would trust Maral with any piece of my training/therapy, shoot MY LIFE! I have worked with numerous medical professionals in my college career and my international career. Maral is the most educated & dedicated medical support staff member I've worked with. Not only do I appreciate her professionalism with me I also appreciate her professionalism with EVERY single client. It doesn't matter if you are an athlete returning from an ACL or a non athlete, she treats everyone the BEST and with the most respect. She cares about each clients path and their well being. I could literally go on and on about what Maral brings to the table.

Lauryn Hutchinson -Trinidad & Tobago Womens National Football Team

Ryan Perry is simply the best. I first came to him with pain in my back that no one else could figure out and he ultimately helped discover that I had an issue with my hip. After having surgery, Ryan helped me rehab and then additionally addressed additional long-standing issues I had with degenerative discs in my neck. He helped me to resume athletic activities such as hiking and biking and gave me the long term maintenance tools to stay pain free. Ryan is deeply knowledgeable in all areas of anatomy and dedicated to keeping current with new PT options and treatments. I would highly recommend him to treat any issue, no matter how complicated.

Keith L.

I dislocated my shoulder May’18. My sports doc gave me a small list of PT’s to choose from. I originally chose Avant for convenience of location (close to work/downtown bus routes), but it was the luckiest choice I could have made. Laura has put together a superb team that excels at every level. Brenna and Bianca brought their extensive knowledge and fellow-athlete attitude to run my therapy twice a week while Casey kept my scheduling and insurance tidy. I did nearly all my sessions with Brenna. We began each session with a numerical progress check for range of motion and strength, then moved into multiple forms of manipulation and a variety of exercises. She was always personable, positive and encouraging, continually pushing me to the next level. Everything was tailored to what my shoulder was ready for and kept me moving towards my goal of running and swimming again. Avant’s exercise area is open and spacious with lots of natural light and well-equipped. When not engaged with other patients, all of Laura’s team chips in to keep you motivated. If I need PT again, Avant is where I’ll go.

Jason A.

I would highly recommend Avant Physical Therapy to my friends, family, and coworkers... to everyone! Here’s why: I had back surgery in July 2016. After I finally got the okay to go back to dancing and working out, I would go to stretch to my right side and found the same pain I had before surgery was still there. It felt like my leg needed to be torn apart and put back together in order for the pain to go away. I began seeing Kate Amsden at Avant PT for pelvic floor rehab. On my 1st visit, she did an evaluation and immediately knew what was wrong with me. I started doing kegels and other pelvic floor exercises with weights everyday to strengthen a weakness in my pelvic floor, and self massage. After 2 months of physical therapy, I was able to stretch with no pain and I'm 100% back dancing again. I was in shock on how all of this worked! If it wasn’t for this amazing team I would probably still be in pain to this day. I would highly recommend Avant to anyone. They really do care about your well being.


I was referred to Avant last autumn after my back and shoulder were injured during a move to Seattle. The pain I was experiencing left me unable to sit at work and travel obligations left me exhausted. I worked with Kate who quickly helped me strengthen and heal. After 3 months I was seriously running again and at 7 months I completed a marathon. I now know how to protect my vulnerable spots and, at a minimum, have a trusted place to go if I relapse. Thanks to Kate (and Casey at the front desk) for making the experience so positive.

Nicholas L

I’ve always had a goal of totaling 1000 lbs between my squat, bench, and deadlift, but a lower back injury made it almost impossible to squat or deadlift. I avoided both exercises for six months hoping the pain would go away--instead it seemed to get worse. When even just sitting for 30 minutes became painful, I decided to contact Avant. Within a month, Kate had me starting to squat and deadlift again, and six months later, I was back to hitting personal bests. I put off seeking treatment for so long to avoid hearing that I shouldn’t squat or deadlift, but rather than discouragement, Kate taught me invaluable warm up and mobilization exercises for these lifts that remain staples in my routine. Now that I'm back on track to my goal, my only regret is not contacting Kate and Avant sooner.

Andrew M

I completed pre and post surgery physical therapy treatment for a torn ACL with Brenna at Avant - amounting to nearly six months of treatment, often several days a week. Brenna prepared me for surgery, both physically, and mentally - answering my questions and putting me at ease. She creatively found ways to motivate me to do my exercises, creating custom, personalized programs to match my goals and preferences. I was especially impressed with the amount of research she did between our sessions, she always made me feel like she was on top of the current ACL recovery trends. I came to look forward to our sessions, because I could feel I was making progress, but also because Brenna is pretty fun, too.

Brittany S