Affectionately known as Dr. Anni to her patients, when Anni Wang was in high school, she dreamed of working in medicine. Upon graduation, the Chinese government informed her that she would be an engineer. While disappointed not to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps, she worked hard on that path. After the first year, the top five percent of the class got the opportunity to change careers. Because her university didn’t have a medicine major, Dr. Anni chose Materials Chemistry, earning her Bachelor’s in Materials Chemistry from the Beijing University of Science and Technology in 2009.
“I’d always been curious about the human body, how it worked. Growing up, watching my grandfather do all kinds of techniques like acupuncture and cupping was fascinating,” she explained. “So I changed my study from metallurgy to material chemistry and focused on biological materials; how to grow cells; how to optimize prosthetic implants to fit the human body better; the mechanical properties of human tissue; from basic science to applied material in medicine. ”
Before moving to Boston, Massachusetts, she published a few papers on biological material optimization papers. Her uncle was a research professor at Harvard University. Dr. Anni was shocked at the amount of freedom she had in the United States. Suddenly, her dream of studying medicine like her grandfather was attainable. She shadowed all medical fields, including pharmacy and physical therapy.
“I really liked physical therapy, so I applied to PT school at Northwestern. During that process, I got a degree in Chinese medicine.”
Dr. Anni discovered that her background and degree as a biomaterial engineer greatly benefited her PT studies at Northwestern University Fienberg School of Medicine. She earned her doctorate in Chinese Medicine in 2015 and her doctorate in Physical Therapy three years later.
She worked in the field of physical therapy for four years before opening her practice, Aurora Acupuncture and Physical Therapy, in Tampa in May 2022. She combined her two loves to treat patients where other physicians had failed.
“The human body doesn’t work one joint at a time; Muscle, tendon, connective tissue, adipose tissue, and even blood vessels and nerves all have different material properties to support their various functions. My biomaterial research helped me understand the human body and pain better. So pain really is soft tissue getting stressed, or the human body’s biological material is deteriorating and asking for help. As a soft tissue expert with all these acupuncture and physical therapy tools, my clients often get 70% relief in one session.”
All Aurora Acupuncture and Physical Therapy patients benefit from Dr. Anni’s combined experience and knowledge of the human body. She developed connective tissue needling to assist the chronic pain population, including fibromyalgia. She has filed two patents while researching the best holistic, individualized treatments for clients’ well-being.
At Aurora Acupuncture and Physical Therapy, Dr. Anni uses dry-needling – acupuncture needles based on the anatomical structure to get rid of the muscle trigger point, which is good for orthopedic pain conditions. Dr. Anni developed acupuncture-guided meditation, acupuncture with therapeutic exercises, and connective tissue needling. The practice of cupping is milder than acupuncture and great for anyone fearful of needles. Cupping is a therapy in which heated glass cups are applied to the skin along the body’s meridians, creating suction to stimulate the flow of energy. It covers a larger area for myofascial release, decreasing soft tissue tightness, improving blood flow, and detoxifying the body. These services work in conjunction with physical therapy exercises.
She sees many patients with joint pain, neck/low back pain, and many female patients throughout the pregnancy journey. Her processes decrease systematic inflammation, the most significant reason people suffer from pain.
Dr. Anni relayed several stories of patients who had lost hope before discovering her practice. She sees many fibromyalgia patients whose connective tissue is often knotted up. The peripheral neuropathy gets better slowly with electrical effused nerve reenergizing. Another patient came in with a severe TMJ problem and tinnitus. In combination with safe exercise, connective tissue needling released the tension, remedied their pain, and repaired their limited range of motion.
“1+1=3,” explained Dr. Anni. “I can dive in and fix the tendon, reactivate the muscle, reset the muscle before we do any exercises. Because the muscles are inflamed, they are cramping and painful, and they wouldn’t respond to the therapeutic exercise. If we do a couple of dry needling and ensure the muscle reset, they’ll be able to get ready for exercises and grow stronger. Combining two treatment options makes the outcome better than either one. It’s really pretty magical.”
Dr. Anni is proud to honor her culture and her grandfather’s legacy of eastern medicine combined with science and physical therapy exercises to improve the health and wellness of a population needlessly suffering pain.
“So here I am, having my clinic, helping my clients in my own way. And I love being able to help my patients feel better and get better.”
To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 813.454.5715 or visit www.aurorapainspecialist.com. Aurora Acupuncture and Physical Therapy accepts most major insurances. Dr. Anni also gives seminars and lectures about pain management treatment. Stay up-to-date by visiting her website.