Training Requirements

Maybe you’ve heard a physical therapist say that while there are some similarities between acupuncture and dry needling, they are, in fact, completely different. Let’s take a closer look and you can make your own conclusion. The Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB), the legal entity that grants physicians and acupuncturists their license to practice says that, “Dry needling is a technique of the practice of acupuncture.”  Ga. Code § 43-34-62(4) and the American Medical Association (AMA) has stated that dry needling is indistinguishable from acupuncture. Well, “what’s different?” you ask. When a physical therapist and an acupuncturist insert a needle into the body to reduce your pain, they use the same FDA regulated acupuncture needles, the same acupuncture points or sometimes trigger points or tender spots (traditionally referred to as Ashi points in Chinese medicine), and may use the same or similar needling manipulation techniques. Sounds like the same thing, right? We think they just changed the name and secondly the amount of training required to perform dry needling (acupuncture).

There is a huge discrepancy in the training required to practice Acupuncture vs training to practice Dry Needling in Georgia. Licensed acupuncturists obtain a 3-4 year Masters degree that includes…Learn More+.

Contrast this to 50 hours (2 weekend courses) of training for physical therapists with no supervised clinical practice, national standardized competency exam nor continuing education in Dry Needling to practice the same procedure. Did you know that medical doctors who wish to be granted the right to practice acupuncture in Georgia need to complete a 300 hour Board approved program? Of course doctors are infinitely more trained than physical therapists to perform invasive procedures such as dry needling acupuncture; you might be starting to think that only 20-50 hours just defies logic, right?!?