According to the Acupuncture profession,Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN), Intramuscular Stimulation, Functional Integrative Needling and related techniques are forms of Acupuncture.
The Physical Therapy profession and many others argue that these techniques are not the practice of acupuncture.
Dry Needling and related techniques are therapies not simply limited to the practices of physical therapists or acupuncturists:
Whatever the opinion, there are other types of healthcare practitioners, doctors and therapists that utilize dry needling and related techniques using acupuncture needles. One should note that Dry Needling was practiced by many physical therapists for decades before it was ever indicated as a therapy within the physical therapy scope of practice and written into any State's practice act. It was and continues to be classified as a type of manual therapy by non-acupuncturists or identified as acupuncture by acupuncturists.
There are two fundamental concerns:
1. The safety of the patient
2. The appropriate training and efficacy of the practitioner.
The lack of universally accepted standards of education and regulation in the field of Dry Needling has resulted in many different types of practitioners using acupuncture needles.
It is has been left to the consumer to determine which practitioner they feel comfortable and safe seeing for this type of care with solid filiform needles.
The sad and unfortunate modern reality for the Acupuncture profession is that one does not have to be an acupuncturist (meeting the standards and regulations of the Acupuncture profession) to use acupuncture needles; and the use of acupuncture needles no longer constitutes the practice of acupuncture.
In the past few years, many of the techniques that were once exclusively practiced within the field of Acupuncture have now been adopted by other professions and practitioners that are not trained as acupuncturist.
The Acupuncture profession has done a very poor job protecting its own professional turf against the intrusion by others outside of the Acupuncture field. The current reality is that the typical patient today does not care what type of practitioner provides this type of care (with solid, sterile, filiform needles) since they do not associate the treatment with Acupuncture.
The aggressive marketing campaign of "Dry Needling" by the Physical Therapy profession has been successful. As a result, it is has opened the door for other healthcare professions to also offer Dry Needling and related therapies in their practices.
At our clinics, our providers are the most highly trained and experienced practitioners to provide acupuncture needle therapies since they are graduates of graduate colleges of acupuncture with well over 3,400+ hours of training with over 550+ hours supervised clinical training, passed national examinations, hold graduate degrees in needle therapy (acupuncture) and meet the regulation requirements for acupuncture. They have also completed a certification course with 25 hours of clinical training in Dermatomal Trigger Point Dry Needling (DTDN) with Dr. McCormick.
Non- Acupuncturists do not have to meet any of these standards and often have a very small fraction of this training (25 - 45 hours of a weekend continuing education course).
Other healthcare fields have adopted some of the core techniques of the Acupuncture profession. These include the use of acupuncture needles in Dry Needling (TDN / DTDN) and Intra-Muscular Stimulation (IMS), cupping, gua sha (graston), electrical point stimulation among others.
Common problems treated with Dermatomal Trigger Point Dry Needling:
Acute and Chronic Myo-fascial Pain Conditions
Tendonitis and Repetitive Strain Injuries
(hamstring, calf, shoulder, back, neck)
and many other conditions. . .
According to non-acupuncturists, the major difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling (and its related techniques) is the language used to describe the therapy even though it may look like the same procedure since acupuncture needles are used in both styles of care:
Acupuncture uses the language, theories and practices of Traditional Asian Medicine.
Dry Needling and related therapies use anatomical language and modern scientific theories.