Dry needling for Physiotherapists

Training requirements for physiotherapists

Physiotherapists may choose to practice using any one of the forms of acupuncture needling or may possess the skills to utilise the various forms in combination. The use of any of the needling approaches to needling by physiotherapists is within the scope of physiotherapy and as part of an overall management approach.

Dry Needling Plus incorporates the use of highly skilled and varied traditional and adaptations of traditional needling techniques,the effects of which are explained within an anatomical and neurophysiological paradigm. These techniques are then applied to stimulate changes in movement and tissue physiology based on neurodynamic and orthopaedic screening.

Dry Needling involves needling to altered or dysfunctional tissues in order to improve or restore function. This may include needling of myofascial trigger points, periosteum and other soft tissues.
Western Acupuncture utilises meridian points but applies it to ‘western’ reasoning with particular consideration to relevant neurophysiology and anatomy. It does not utilise any traditional Chinese medicine assessment methods or paradigms. Points are stimulated to create local, spinal segmental or supraspinal pain modulating effects.
Traditional Acupuncture examines changes in the tissues through the prism of the meridians as well as the status of the qi, blood and fluids [fundamental substances]. Acupuncture is then applied to the meridians either utilising specific acupuncture points or non specific areas where tissue changes are evident such as trigger points. The clinical reasoning process includes information derived from theoretical constructs found in Oriental Medicine.

The suggested minimum training is two days for an Introduction to Dry Needling or Western Acupuncture. The Level 1 APA course or equivalent is the suggested minimum training for Traditional Acupuncture (which equates to 150 hours of learning). Following the minimum training requirements physiotherapists are advised to complete 30 hours of continuing professional development (such as attending meetings, reading journals or attending workshops) on physiotherapy acupuncture over a three year period to remain competent in this field of practice.

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