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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7/22/19  6:40 pm
Commenter: Jordon Moore, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Dry Needling is NOT Acupuncture

Dry Needling is a technique physical therapists use for the treatment of pain and movement impairments.   The technique uses a "dry" needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle.

Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles, and supported by research done in part by Physical Therapists.

As part of their entry level education, physical therapists are well educated in anatomy and therapeutic treatment of the body. Physical therapists who perform dry needling supplement that knowledge by obtaining specific postgraduate education and training.  

Trigger Point Dry Needling is in the scope of practice of Physical Therapists and We support this regulation being approved. 


Licensed Physical Therapists have highly credentialed training in medical screening, evaluation and safe treatment of patients with a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems. Dry needling is NOT acupuncture and Physical Therapists, with our rigorous training and continuing education on anatomy, physiology and medical screening are arguably the safest profession to be performing dry needling. It is well within our scope of practice and is a valuable treatment to help our patients improve. It is backed by literature and proven to be a safe treatment. 


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