Dry Needling, also known as acupuncture is a technique within acupuncture. Some of us know this as Ahshi needling, it hurts here. Others of us refer to it as trigger point needling. There is a movement to allow physical therapists to do Dry Needling and those in this movement believe that using an acupuncture needle in an acupuncture point is somehow not acupuncture and therefore not just under the acupuncture license. The Dry Needling training for physical therapists is typically a weekend training and folks are sent home to practice with no supervision, supervised clinical practice, national exam or licensure to practice acupuncture.
In some states, this is already happening. In Illinois, physical therapists were granted permission to use Dry Needling and then it was retracted. In CA and NY, it is legal only for licensed acupuncturists to practice acupuncture. In MA, it is unknown. This is the time to be proactive and let the Board of Allied Health Professionals know how you feel and why. When an acupuncture needle is put into an acupuncture point, it is dry needling. Dry Needling is acupuncture and needs to be licensed as such.
The letters below are for us to sign, disseminate and send. You can send them by email or snail mail. Please send them as soon as possible, to arrive before August 18, 2015 to both
Sonial Jordan at the Board of Allied Health Professionals which governs the practice of physical therapists and cc Governor Baker by email (below). This is important and will affect patient safety, patient perception of acupuncture and your practice. When someone puts a 3" acupuncture needle into a patient and causes them pain, are they able to differentiate that needle as a Dry Needle and not an acupuncture needle? Probably not.
Please act now and send a letter, pass the practitioner letter on to other practitioners and the patient letter to patients.
Amy Mager MS, LicAc
Diplomate Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
Board member, Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Society of MA
For More Information
Please read this and read the executive order for comment, then get your patients and fellow acupuncturists to sign the letters that will follow please.
Board of Allied Health Professions http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/ah/
To help you in your actions, here are two letter templates for your use. The first is designed for licensed acupuncturists to use and send to the Board of the Allied Health Professionals and copy to the Governor Baker. The second is a general letter that anyone can send, please share it with your patients and friends.
The Board of Allied Health Professionals
Copies to the Governor
Massachusetts State House