Dry Needling Acupuncture

Dr. Ryan performs “dry needling” at Acupuncture RI as indicated for her patients. However, she is cautious at implementing this procedure as she does not feel that it is applicable in all cases. It is a fairly aggressive acupuncture approach that warrants caution, so she approaches and utilizes dry-needling on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Ryan likes to get to know the patient and understand their tolerance for acupuncture prior to guaranteeing that “dry needling” will be a part of the treatment protocol.

Dry needling is not, in and of itself, a separate process from acupuncture. However, many other types of practitioners who are not trained in conventional acupuncture are performing it after an abbreviated training (versus the extensive and formal four-year training of acupuncture post-graduate school).

Please read below about “dry needling” and rest assured that it will be incorporated if and when you and Dr. Ryan feel it is in your best interest.

The American Medical Association recognizes dry needling as an invasive procedure and maintains that dry needling should only be performed by practitioners with standard training and familiarity with routine use of needles in their practice, such as licensed medical physicians and licensed acupuncturists. https://policysearch.ama-assn.org/policyfinder/detail/dry%20needling?uri=%2FAMADoc%2FHOD-410.949.xml

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is a non-profit organization in the United States that aims to “establish, assess, and promote recognized standards of competence and safety in acupuncture and Oriental medicine for the protection and benefit of the public.”

The NCCAOM is responsible for credentialing acupuncturist in the United States – practitioners of acupuncture must be credentialed by the NCCAOM in order to practice acupuncture.

Please visit their web site at https://www.nccaom.org

Please read the the NCCAOM® Dry Needling Position Statement from the NCCAOM website ( https://www.nccaom.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/NCCAOM%20Dry%20Needling%20Position%20Statement.pdf ) and below:

According to the NCCAOM:

What is Dry Needling? “Dry needling” is acupuncture. Acupuncture is the insertion of thin solid needles into anatomical locations to treat disease, injury, pain, or dysfunction, and to promote health and wellness.

“Dry needling” is a recently coined name for an acupuncture technique that involves the insertion of acupuncture needles directly into muscles and “trigger points” for the relief of musculoskeletal pain.

Licensed acupuncturists have practiced and documented this acupuncture technique, now referred to as “dry needling”, for decades in the US. Some physical therapists and other healthcare providers have claimed that “dry needling” is “new” and “not acupuncture”, because the point locations and needling style are based on anatomical structures and physiological function, rather than on traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture theory.

In fact, licensed acupuncturists receive training in the application of both traditional foundations of acupuncture and modern biomedical theories and have done so since long before the term “dry needling” was invented.

“Dry needling” is an advanced and invasive procedure. In the hands of a practitioner who has received limited and/or substandard training, it has the potential to cause great harm. It can be considered safe only when performed by properly trained and experienced acupuncturists.

NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ receive hundreds of hours in the core skills required to correctly perform invasive and potentially dangerous needling techniques, assuring their competencies to insert and manipulate acupuncture needles safely.

Is there a required accredited academic program for the training of physical therapists to practice dry needling acupuncture?
· There is no national standard entry-level academic curriculum that offers training or education in any form of needling for physical therapists. The only training in dry needling acupuncture for physical therapists are abbreviated continuing education workshops. There are no minimum hours or curriculum standards for these workshops.

Is there a valid and reliable examination to test competency of physical therapists in the practice of dry needling acupuncture?
· No. There are no national psychometrically validated examinations to test competency of physical therapists in the practice of dry needling acupuncture.

What academic and clinical practice training are required for licensed acupuncturists to practice dry needling acupuncture?
· Licensed acupuncturists receive years of academic education and training in many acupuncture techniques, including what is now termed “dry needling”. Nearly all states require licensed acupuncturists to meet NCCAOM standards of eligibility and pass national board certification exams.

What are the specific requirements for NCCAOM Nationally Board-Certified Acupuncturists™?
To become an NCCAOM Nationally Board-Certified Acupuncturist™, applicants must, at a minimum:

· Complete a minimum of three years or 1,905 hours of postgraduate education, including a minimum of 660 hours of supervised clinical training.

· Graduate with a Master’s degree or Professional Doctorate degree in Acupuncture or Oriental Medicine that is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and OrientalMedicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the only accreditation agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education.

· Successfully pass three psychometrically validated NCCAOM National Board Examinations:
o Foundations of Oriental Medicine
o Acupuncture with Point Location
o Biomedicine•Document completion of an NCCAOM approved course and assessment in Clean Needle Technique.

· Sign and be held accountable to the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics and Grounds for Professional Discipline. Failure to comply is subject to disciplinary action.

· NCCAOM National Board Certification and/or a passing score on the NCCAOM certification examinations are required for acupuncturist licensure in 46 states plus the District of Columbia.

What is the NCCAOM?
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the only nationally accredited certification organization that assures entry-level competency of acupuncturists. The NCCAOM’s certification programs in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine are accredited by a third-party accrediting body, National Commission for Certification Agencies (NCCA).The NCCAOM’s mission is to assure the safety and well-being of the public and to advance the professional practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine by establishing and promoting national evidence-based standards of competence and credentialing.

NCCAOM’s top priority is to protect the public from the unsafe practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine by individuals who do not have appropriate training and meet competency standards. What are the position statements of other professional organizations regarding the practice of “dry needling”?

Please follow these links for further information on dry needling acupuncture:

American Academy of Medical Acupuncture Position Statement
https: www.nccaom.org/about-us/press/press-releases/aama-policy-on-dry-needling

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Position Statement: https://www.nccaom.org/about-us/press/press-releases/aapmr-policy-on-dry-needling/

American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety White Paper: https://www.nccaom.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/AAPAS%20White%20Paper%20on%20Dry%20Needling.pdf

American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Position Statement: https://www.aaaomonline.org/Dry-Needling-Position-Paper/

American Medical Association Position Statement: https://policysearch.ama-assn.org/policyfinder/detail/dry%20needling?uri=%2FAMADoc%2FHOD-410.949.xml )

American Society of Acupuncturists Position Statement: http://www.asacu.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/American-Society-of-Acupuncturists-Position-on-Dry-Needling-_9_14_16.pdf )

American Traditional Chinese Medical Association Paper on Dry Needling: https://www.nccaom.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/ATCMA%20Position%20Letter%20on%20Dry%20Needling.pdf

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Position Paper: http://www.asacu.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CCAOM_Position_Paper__May_2011_Update.pdf

National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine2025 M Street NW, Suite 800, Washington DC 20036 / (888) 381-1140 / [email protected] / www.nccaom.org