Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Physical Therapy
Regulations Governing the Practice of Physical Therapy [18 VAC 112 ‑ 20]
Action Practice of dry needling
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 7/26/2019
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7/21/19  2:41 pm
Commenter: Don Thompson

Dry Needling Perspective

I am an acupuncturist with over 20 years of clinical experience, and I have some concerns about Physical Therapist performing 'dry needling."  First, public safety is paramount. I have had several patients come to me after seeing a PT for dry needling and talked about how painful it was and how there was no benefit,  or temporary at best. Acupuncturist have a vastly different training from PT's doing dry needling. Most acupuncturists have trained 3-4 years for the bare minimum knowledge of the use of needles to help pain and other health conditions. Would physical therapist think that an acupuncturist with 55 hours in training in physical therapy would be trained sufficiently to practice physical therapy as well as bill insurance companies for physical therapy services rendered by an acupuncturist?

Another concern is that if a patient has dry needling with a physical therapist and receives no help, they will have the idea that acupuncture doesn't work, and therefore won't seek help from a qualified acupuncturist for their pain or other health concern.  

I appreciate the idea that physical therapists want to help their patients feel better. But, at the end of the day, if they want to practice acupuncture (and call it whatever one wants to call it, but it's acupuncture), then go to acupuncture school and train to be an acupuncturist. And if I want to practice physical therapy in my acupuncture practice, then I'll go to physical therapy school. Again, if I go to nursing school for 55 hours, can I practice nursing..even a little bit? If I get 55 hours in medical school, can I practice some medicine and surgery? Licensing boards exist to protect the public, which has no idea of what training most health care professionals have. It's the responsibility of the Boards to protect the public. In my opinion, granting full dry needling privileges to physical therapists does not meet those responsibilities. 

CommentID: 73694