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  12:19 pm
Commenter: Colleen Rossier, Virginia University of Integrative Medicine

Dry Needling should be recognized as a type of Acupuncture

Dry needling is one of a suite of practices that acupuncturists are trained in performing. It should be recognized as such.

If a Physical Therapist is to practice dry needling, they must understand what they are doing from both a Western and Eastern (e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine- TCM) perspective which requires more training than most get currently. Dry needling should only be practiced by Physical Therapists who go through in-depth training on both Eastern and Western perspectives. They must understand the difference between excess and deficiency patterns in TCM and when to apply rigorous stimulation. They must also understand nerve, muscular, and blood supply anatomy, and how not to cause damage to the patient - both via overstimulation of a deficient patient or via damage to physical structures.  This is training that acupuncturists receive in their 3-4 year accredited Masters' programs. 

Additionally, PTs practicing dry needling should not be able to claim that they are doing something "different" from acupuncture as the majority currently believe.

Dry needling is simply a specific type/application of acupuncture that uses "aashi" points  (similar to trigger points) and deep stimulation. It is not something separate. This should be recognized, as this situates dry needling in the appropriate context of thousands of years of practice. It is not something new and different as is commonly - and mistakenly - believed by many.

Acupuncturists should be recognized as the experts on dry needling that they are, with physical therapists borrowing one of their tools. Not the other way around. 

CommentID: 74163