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Dry Needling


Physical Therapists (P.T.) are practicing “Dry Needling”                                           Dry Needling IS Acupuncture!

The definition and issue of “Dry Needling” is complicated and completely depends on who you ask. If you ask a Physical Therapist who advertises Dry Needling (D.N.) they will claim that is is NOT acupuncture. They will claim that D.N. is a practice where needles (acupuncture needles) are inserted in the body at myofascial “trigger points” to help reduce pain. This difference is made ONLY to allow a legal loophole in order to avoid prosecution by practicing acupuncture without a license. They lure patients in with the promise that it is covered under their insurance. They then falsely bill insurance as a “manual therapy”.

THE TRUTH: Several organizations, including the world Health Organization, The American Association of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), have all determined that DRY NEEDLING IS THE PRACTICE OF ACUPUNCTURE. The argument that “D.N. is the use of needles at trigger points and as such is not acupuncture” is a ludicrous and invalid statement. In the practice of acupuncture, acupuncturists will utilize “ashi” points, (which is roughly translated as “tender points”). These points correspond to the “trigger points” that physical therapists claim to have exclusive rights to. This has been done since the beginning of acupuncture 4000 years ago and is the primary way I perform acupuncture. Following this argument, virtually ALL ACUPUNCTURISTS fully trained in TCM also do “dry needling”, but with vastly higher levels of raining, expertise, and understanding in the use of needles and how it affects the Qi of the body and the safety of the patient.


Many states in the U.S. have recognized the risk and have banned P.T. from doing this to their patients. Unfortunately, Arizona still allows them to try this on their patients. P.T.’s are putting both the patients and the practice of acupuncture at risk in 2 ways: Lack of Training: Insufficient training and education poses a health risk to the public. P.T.’s may only have 24 – 48 hours of actual training in dry needling.  A licensed acupuncturist is required to have over 2800 hours of training, pass a Clean Needle Certification, a National Certification for Acupuncture, and be state licensed to perform needling.  The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) state potential dangers that may result when acupuncture (dry needling) is practiced without the proper training or education: collapsed lung; punctured organs; miscarriage; extreme pain; adverse effects. Misrepresentation: with their lack of training and education, the care given by P.T. during D.N. is considered sub-standard. Unsatisfied patients will often believe acupuncture does not work without knowledge of their (P.T.) lack of training.

Untrained persons are practicing acupuncture without licensure in Arizona. If you know about the unauthorized practice of acupuncture or know someone who has been injured by dry needling, file a complaint with the Arizona Board of Acupuncture.  The Coalition of Arizona Acupuncture Safety (CAAS) has been formed to protect the public safety and economic health resources by calling for proper education, training and licensing levels in order for P.T.’s to be allowed to perform any type of acupuncture, including dry needling, on their patients.

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