“The AAOMPT leadership wishes to share with the membership the recent
memorandum written by APTA President, Paul Rockar, Jr, PT, MS, DPT that
summarizes an APTA legal opinion in response to a November 13, 2013 letter from
National Center for Acupuncture Safety and Integrity (NCASI). The NCASI letter
alleged that physical therapists’ use of monofilament (acupuncture) needles in
“trigger point dry needling” is inconsistent with the requirements
for the sale of acupuncture needles under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) regulations. The AAOMPT Board in collaboration with the AAOMPT Practice
Affairs Committee have reviewed this and fully support the APTA legal analysis
that concludes that the NCASI claims are without merit and that in states where
physical therapists have the legal right to perform dry needling procedures,
there should be no restrictions on physical therapists’ right to purchase the
monofilament needles. READ the APTA Letter.
The AAOMPT has taken a leadership role in protecting physical therapists’ right
to perform dry needling; the first step being AAOMPT membership passing
the following position and support statement on October 17, 2009:
POSITION: It is the Position of the AAOMPT Executive Committee that dry
needling is within the scope of physical therapist practice.
SUPPORT STATEMENT: Dry needling is a neurophysiological evidence-based
treatment technique that requires effective manual assessment of the
neuromuscular system. Physical therapists are well trained to utilize dry needling
in conjunction with manual physical therapy interventions. Research supports
that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes
biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates, and facilitates an
accelerated return to active rehabilitation.
The AAOMPT has also collaborated with the APTA in the development of 2
important related documents. The first was published in January 2012 and
titled: APTA Education Resource Paper Physical Therapists and the Performance
of Dry Needling. This document provides information on dry needling scope of
practice considerations to assist in understanding the legal or regulatory
requirements or restrictions on the performance of dry needling.
The second document is titled: Description of Dry Needling in Clinical
Practice: An Educational Resource Paper and was produced by the APTA Public
Policy, Practice, and Professional Affairs Unit in February 2013. This is a
more comprehensive document to assist physical therapists related to clinical
practice, research, and educational issues related to dry needling. Both
documents are available at: www.apta.org/stateissues.
The AAOMPT remains committed to strongly advocate for practice issues such as
dry needling and other areas of orthopaedic manual physical therapy practice
when threats arise from other practitioners.”