Integrative Acupuncture is one of the leading dry needling facilities in Vermont, with significant experience using this technique. We work to bring natural pain relief to the affected areas of residents in the Washington, Chittenden and Lamoille, Vermont areas. Dry needling therapy is a form of acupuncture that we use often. Patients visit our Montpelier practice to naturally reduce pain through the help of dry needling also known as ashi acupuncture.
A “New” Therapy With An Old History
Dry Needling is a technique being introduced in physical therapy offices around the US for musculoskeletal pain. The therapy is based on the trigger point work promoted by Dr. Janet Travell, who inserted saline via syringes into specific points in muscles for pain relief.
As the technique evolved, clinicians realized the saline was unnecessary, making the technique “dry”. They also experimented with the size of needles and realized smaller, acupuncture needles could be used. What they unknowingly stumbled upon is a technique that has been used for thousands of years by acupuncturists, called Ashi Needling, a form of acupuncture.
Some professionals insist acupuncture is different from dry needling due to the theory behind the technique. Traditionally, acupuncturists thought only in ancient terms of qi and meridians. Modern acupuncturists, like the providers at Integrative Acupuncture, are well trained in physiology and neurology and are well versed in the neurophysiological response of our techniques, just like physical therapists are.
There is no difference between dry needling and ashi acupuncture, one of many acupuncture techniques.
The same small needles that are used for acupuncture are used for dry needling, or ashi needling. The providers at Integrative Acupuncture include dry needling to a full acupuncture session, so the underlying cause of the pain is addressed as well as the acute pain.
A needle is inserted into the trigger point (also known as an acupuncture point), and thrusted to create a neurophysiologial response. Just like acupuncture, the dry needling technique results in an increase of circulation and healing response.
The Education and Experience
Licensed Acupuncturist are the experts at providing dry needling. The training in insertion of acupuncture needles that occurs over a 4 year post graduate degree program for acupuncturists is unparalleled. Although acupuncture is very safe when performed correctly by licensed professionals, there are risks involved.
The providers at Integrative Acupuncture have completed a required Clean Needling Certification in addition to the hundreds of supervised patient contacts required for graduation of an acupuncture degrees program. By contrast, some of our colleagues in other professions may take a weekend long program and begin to offer this service. Their degree programs have no training in insertion of any needles at all and no clinical supervision requirements.
Acupuncture is considered minor surgery, do you want it performed by an expert or novice?
The legalities of performing Dry Needling by a physical therapist has not been decided in many states. The state boards of New Jersey, Kansas, Idaho, New York, South Dakota, California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii have stated it is not within the scope of practice of PTs and it is not allowed to be offered by physical therapists in those states.
Vermont has not yet ruled on dry needling. As of March 2015, it is considered a “grey area” of practice and physical therapists are operating out of assumption it is in their scope of practice.
Acupuncturists are licensed to insert filiform needles into the body, regardless of the philosophy behind the insertion, Chinese medicine or Dry needling, it is in their scope of practice.
The Professionals Statements
We honor informed consent and want everyone to make their own decisions for their best health care. Here are some quotes from professional associations regarding the safety of dry needling.
The AAMA (America Academy of Medical Acupuncture) the group that represents MDs and DOs has weighed in to say “dry needling is an invasive procedure using acupuncture needles that has associated medical risks. Therefore, the AAMA maintains that this procedure (dry needling) should be performed only by practitioners….such as licensed medical physicians and licensed acupuncturists.”
NCCAOM (National Council and Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) in a letter to the state of Vermont has stated “We highly recommend that physical therapist meet the same standard for education and examination that licensed acupuncturists must meet in order to practice (dry needling) safely and effectively in Vermont.” Currently there is no standard set for Physical Therapists in VT to practice dry needling and may incorporate the technique with one weekend of training.
The Vermont Acupuncture Association’s opinion is dry needling is acupuncture, and is being performed by non-licensed practitioners operating outside their scope of practice when being offered by Physical Therapists.