There are hundreds of acupuncture techniques, styles, and procedures. Why wouldn’t there be? Acupuncture has been a medical procedure and a world leading medicine for well over 2,000 years.

Entry-level acupuncture books list many of these common techniques, styles, and procedures. Diagrams of Acupuncture lists the many types of needles, holding techniques, needling skills, posture, insertion techniques, angles, direction and depth of insertion, needling manipulation and retention time. The book then goes into great detail about the many different styles of acupuncture listing over 170 techniques! Many are simple while many takes years to master, for example, from relaxing muscles and easing pain, to raising or lowering blood pressure, or its use for surgical anesthesia. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Acupuncture: A Comprehensive Text, and A Manual of Acupuncture, all support this information in great detail and explain the importance of mastering the variety of techniques, styles, and procedures, for not only improving therapeutic effectiveness, but also for patient safety.

Alongside these great acupuncture books, all acupuncturists study and train for 2,500-3,000 hours over a 4-year time period. Acupuncture students are taught by some of the top acupuncture doctors in the world and who’ve been practicing acupuncture for decades.

The novel technique adopted by physical therapy practitioners called dry needling has been around for less than 50 years. Its history is short and the technique is identical to acupuncture. Some students of dry needling are even taught by acupuncturists and use the acupuncture books and manuals as references. The only difference is that these unregulated courses offer certification for only 25-50 hours of training. That is 1% of the time in which an acupuncturist is trained.

Acupuncture has traditionally used theories of Qi to explain how it works. Today, there are thousands upon thousands of scientific research studies being conducted to explain how acupuncture works in modern science biomedical terms. An Introduction to Western Medical Acupuncture goes into some of the scientific ideas and approaches, as well as this wonderful video from the Acupuncture Now Foundation. Acupuncture is holistic and stimulates many systems simultaneously including: Nervous, muscular, endocrine, immune, circulation, reproductive, digestive, and respiratory systems. Here is a summary of current research and medical standards supporting acupuncture.

The attempt of physical therapy practitioners to adopt dry needling into their treatment scope is an unlawful attempt to go around current state acupuncture laws and statutes. In the past, if an MD or a DC wanted to practice acupuncture, they had to meet the state requirements and complete the proper training courses to become certified in acupuncture. The problem is simple: Dry needling is the renaming and rebranding of acupuncture to allow physical therapy practitioners to go around these adopted laws and bring acupuncture into their scope of practice. It’s not only unfair, it is also unethical, unlawful, and the public is unaware.

I would challenge any physical therapist to show me that their technique, style, or procedure is even a little different to anything practiced in the scope of acupuncture. Secondly, I would challenge any physical therapist to show me any evidence that dry needling somehow works on a different biomedical model other than any explanation already put forth by the medical acupuncture community and scientific researchers. Third, why are physical therapists nationwide skirting or ignoring current acupuncture statutes? Why are they not following lawful procedures in adopting it into their scope of practice? Why are they trying to overturn current laws in the courts with financial force? There is only one real good reason that comes to mind: Profit. Ethics, quality of care, and patient safety doesn’t seem to matter?

Here is a link to more information on the subject!