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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7/24/19  4:18 pm
Commenter: Darren Beilstein - PT Now

Further support dry needling by PTs (evidence vs emotion)

It appears one of the primary arguments by acupuncturists (L. Ac.) against doctors of physical therapy (DPTs) using dry needling (DN) is "public safety." Yet, there is little to no evidence, beyond anecdotal comments by acupuncturists, to suggest in the 20+ year history of DPTs using DN in the public realm that DPTs are more likely to "cause a significant injury" versus acupuncturists. There is no research or evidence to support this claim.

I have read many acupuncturists comments in this forum about the risk of injury with use of needles over the lungs and other organs and they are correct. There is risk. DPTs are well aware of these risks and are appropriately educated about the risks during DN education. Furthermore, a detailed education in anatomy would appear to be the most logical and rational method of prevention against needle injuries to the organs. DPTs have a substantial education in anatomy and the education often includes cadaver dissections. The in depth anatomy education precedes DPTs post-professional education in dry needling.

The "professional" level anatomy education in any DPT program may likely be a higher level of anatomy education than acupuncturists receive, but I cannot speak accurately or intelligently to an acupuncturists anatomy education, as I am not an acupuncturist. 

To that point, this conversation should be based on facts, not emotions. If DN is truly a "public safety issue" let's mention how removing DN from DPTs hands may be a disservice to the public health and safety. Research has shown DN used within a course of physical therapy plan of care reduced pain medication consumption and improved recovery.  How would removing this treatment option favor "public health and safety?" 

Ironically as a DPT who uses DN, I have referred clients to acupuncture care. There is no reason these two professions cannot co-exist for the best interest of the public's health and safety.

If "public health and safety" are truly the primary concerns, the only real question is - "How do we provide access to the highest level of care - to the greater number of people - to yield the best outcomes?"


Darren Beilstein, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

CommentID: 74055