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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7/25/19  12:00 pm
Commenter: Caroline Morris, PT, DPT, GCS Virginia Hospital Center

Dry Needling is NOT Acupuncture

As a physical therapist who performs dry needling and a patient who receives acupuncture, I can firmly contest that these are two very different treatment interventions guided by different goals and training. I go to my acupuncturist for overall health goals. He determines the points based on his exam including pulse, tongue, symptoms, etc. I perform dry needling on my patients to release specific dysfunctional muscles to facilitate more normal movement patterns and reduce pain caused by trigger points. I find these points based on palpation, observation of movement, and measurement of loss of range of motion/flexibility. It is misguided to confound the two practices. Physical therapists do not perform acupuncture and do not claim so to do. PTs undergo extensive entry level education related to human anatomy and physiology as well as extensive continuing education to become certified in dry needling. Dry needling is a safe and appropriate tool to enhance patient outcomes.

CommentID: 74162