[separator headline=”h1″ title=”Setting the Facts Straight”]
Dear Patients, Friends and Families of Patients, Colleagues, Doctors, Nurses, Chiropractors, and Physical Therapists;
A great fraud is being perpetrated by a very small, nevertheless vocal, scruple-less minority of PTs and DCs. This fraud is being perpetuated right under the nose of the law, consumer, and in defiance of all logic and honesty. This fraud is called “Dry Needling.”
For the first time ever, I am going to set the facts straight for you about this currently legal fraud. Hithertofore it has too disgusted me to speak on the matter publicly. But I am emboldened by the man who fought to get chemical weapons out of the Blue Grass Depot. It’s time for the Truth to ring free.
What is Dry Needling?
“The origin of the term “dry needling” is attributed to Janet G. Travell, M.D. In her book, ‘Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: Trigger Point Manual’, Dr. Travell uses the term “dry needling” to differentiate between two hypodermic needle techniques when performing trigger point therapy. The two techniques she described are the injection of a local anesthetic and the mechanical use of a hypodermic needle without injecting a solution (Travell, Simons, & Simons, 1999, pp. 154–155). “
Because the procedure was very painful, especially when repeated over and over across different so-called “trigger points” (correctly known as “ashi” acupuncture/pressure points), therapists began to purchase and use Acupuncture Needles which, by FDA law should only be sold to Licensed Acupuncturists.
What is acupuncture? It is the puncture of the skin by use of thin, small gauge to medium gauge filiform needles, typically steel or silicon coated over steel, anywhere on the body with the exception of forbidden locations, to produce changes in the energy of the body, mind, or spirit.
KRS 311.672 (5) “Practice of acupuncture” means the insertion of acupuncture needles, with or without accompanying electrical or thermal stimulation, at certain acupuncture points or meridians on the surface of the human body for purposes of changing the flow of energy in the body and may include acupressure, cupping, moxibustion, or dermal friction. The practice of acupuncture shall not include laser acupuncture, osteopathic manipulative treatment, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, or surgery.”
Chinese & Oriental Medicine involves the use of acupuncture, herbs, massage, manual therapies, cupping, reiki, stones and qigong or yoga to affect the body’s energetic systems. Because all matter is energy [a scientific fact since Albert Einstein], this is the entire body.
All, 100% of “Trigger points” are actually acupuncture/pressure points. All of them. They all affect energy, and are all in our traditional and folk libraries, and are all acupuncture points. Not 90%, not 85%. Not 30%. All 100%.
There are more than 1,000 named points. 365 are traditional “main” points, there are another 100 on the ear alone, and hundreds on the hands and feet. At every knob, hole, joint, and origin or insertion point of a muscle there are named regions and points that are “ashi” (that’s the one!) depending upon the nature of the condition. Some are so commonly used they were identified as the 365 to go with the 365 days of the year. But there are thousands, perhaps more than are currently known between Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, each medicine is more than 3,000 years old.
By definition and simple logic: that which is younger, smaller, and included in that which is older, more broad and encompassing, more specific, with more research must be one and the same. With the sole exception of when a Medical Doctor, for whatever reason, (and despite concerns of cross-infection rate which are higher in hypodermics than filiform needles) uses an empty hypodermic needle to perform Dry Needling.
[separator headline=”h1″ title=”What About Licensing?”]
In Kentucky, a Licensed Acupuncturist must have 1,800 hours* of training, including 400 hours of practical training under supervision, and pass the following three boards under the National Certification Commission of Acupuncturists and Oriental Medicine:
- Biomedical exam: Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmaceuticals, and Nutritional Supplements
- Acupuncture exam: theory, channels, location, safety, and emergency conditions
- Oriental Medicine exam: various types of differential diagnostics, tongue, pulse, etc…
In Kentucky, the NCCAOM Herbal board is not required to become a Diplomate of Acupuncture and become licensed. However, every 2 years 30 additional hours are required in Continuing Education.
*At Blue Lotus, all of our staff has 3,500 hours of training, nearly twice the state requirements.
This is more than what is required by most states – 24 hours – to start putting needles in a person. Kentucky does not even require that.
While dry needling is within the scope of practice of physical therapy, a physical therapist must practice only those procedures that the physical therapist is competent to perform. The board can discipline a physical therapist for “engaging or permitting the performance of substandard patient care by himself or by persons working under their supervision due to a deliberate or negligent act or failure to act, regardless of whether actual injury to the patient is established.”
You read that right. Literally no oversight. How would you define competent? Almost any reasonable person – other than the Board of Physical Therapy – would conclude that a single course is insufficient to establish competence. But the above lead Attorney General Jack Conway to issue an illogical statement, that you can read here. We of course, encourage you to write to Jack Conway and express your severe doubts as to the competency of individuals performing intervention therapies with minimal or no training.
The fault of this logic is in assuming that dry needling is a form of Physical Therapy, rather than a doctor’s research fantasy to be performed by doctors to assist in research comparisons, and then because acupuncture is not “physical therapy” to say that dry needling is also not acupuncture. This would be akin to saying that because a car is an automobile, and a truck is not a car, then a truck is not also an automobile. This is patently false. Dry Needling specifically is the insertion of acupuncture needles – filiform needles – at ashi points, inappropriately named “trigger points” which did not exist 50 years ago (as opposed to acupuncture points which did exist up to 3,000 years ago, by people who are trained in approximately 15-20 hours as opposed to the 1,800+ required by the state.
In short, the “wool was pulled over the eyes” of Jack Conway’s office, the public, and every patient being needled by a “dry needle specialist”.
Here’s a small test the patient can give to their Dry Needler to prove that they are, in fact, practicing without even enough education to qualify as practitioners of so called “dry needling”:
- What are the proper insertion angles of the quadratus lumborum release points, the depth, and how many points are there for the QL muscle?
- How many points are involved in the release of the entire calf, including both soleus and gastroc nemeus as well as fibularis?
- When the sacro-illiac joint is release, the resulting release of inflammation and fluids will often reside/become stuck at the sciatic nerve or the fibular nerve located at the hip, how does one release this inflammation and in which direction should it be released? Which “trigger points” should be stimulated to facilitate this?
- A man presents barrel chested, with difficulty breathing, and low back pain. He has a correlation of DDD and stenosis in L4/L5. Aside from releasing all the muscles (what is called “surround the dragon”) for the local, what other points must be drained to release the stress causing the failure of descending fluids, air, and food, leading to tightening of the low back?
- What are the hand release points for the low back, neck, and shoulders?
- What is the basic difference between the proper methods for stimulating and draining a “trigger point”?
The fact is I doubt that a single “dry needler” can answer even one of the above correctly, and if pressed would be incapable of proving they have any rigorous knowledge, other than basic local stimulation. That is to say: the lowest, and simplest, and least effective method of practice. Something that an acupuncturist learns to grow out of during clinic to the first year or two of practice. If a dry needler desires to be effective, they will seek acupuncture courses, books, and techniques, and over a period of five to ten years, their practice will change to use channel theory, distal points, and alternative theories that discuss how to deal with clients that do not get well through local treatment alone. Therefore, it is the opinion of this acupuncturist that Blue Lotus Health & Acupuncture must do the following:
- Identify the actual acupuncturists that are properly trained and licensed, in a list below. By this you will be able to know which dry needlers are frauds and avoid them and encourage others to avoid them.
- Establish an alliance to force the issue to legislation to properly identify and define acupuncture and dry needling in their original, and accurate, and safe contexts.
- Define safe Chinese Rehabiliatory Therapy guidelines which utilize full Chinese Medicine, for certain conditions, and define the correct methods for achieving transformational therapy of the whole spirit-mind-body body of which only four medical systems have complete, thorough, peer-reviewed documentation for thousands of years in the treatment: Oriental Medicine, Ayurveda, Persian/Greek Medicine, and Aboriginal or Shamanic Medicine, such as Cherokee, Navajo, etc…
We will be inviting other acupuncturists to be involved in the formation of these standards, as well as safety and regulation guidelines for the safe practice of PTs, and other licensed professionals that are currently practicing acupuncture since very obviously a great many wish to participate in learning and (obviously) safely practicing this time honored, potent medicine. Thank you, and safe travels, Shifu A. Ramon Careaga, L.Ac., MSTOM, 3rd Black Sash, #AC071 [separator headline=”h1″ title=”Kentucky’s Real, trained Acupuncturists”]
Note – listed only are the owners and their locations which may have more than one acupuncturist on site.
- Dinah Blue, L.Ac., Balanced Care Acupuncture
- Kathleen Fluhart RN, MA.Ac., Dipl.Ac., L.Ac., Artemesia Community Acupuncture and Wellness Center
- Li Sparks L.Ac., Dipl.OM, OMD, Acupuncture Health Health Alliance
- James P. Odell ND, L.Ac. – KY, CO, SC, UT, Inner Light Consultants Inc.
- Shelby VanCleve M.Ac.O.M., L.Ac., C.Ac., Lyndon Place Office Condos
- Colby Helton, L.Ac, Dipl. OM, Meridian Acupuncture
- Daniel E. Lee L.Ac., C.Ac., D.A., NCCAOM, Bowling Green Office
- Brit C. Potter Jr. L.Ac. Dipl.Ac. (KY/VA), Potter Acupuncture
- Mimi Tagher L.Ac., LMT, Synergy Holistic Health Center
- Joseph Fiala Jr., L.Ac., The Light Clinic
- Martha M. Graziano C.Ac., Dipl.O.M., M.Ac., Classical Acupuncture & Herbs
- Amy M. Gresl L.Ac., Holistic Acupuncture & Herbs
- Heping Wang, L.Ac., Kentuckiana Precision Acupuncture
- Hardin Field, L.Ac., Streampoint Acupuncture
- Jeffrey Russell, OMD, L.Ac., Abacus Integrative Chinese Medicne
- Huihui Wu, L.Ac., MD, MS, Yangming Acupuncture
- Benjamen Clancy, L.Ac., Dipl. Acupuncture, Clancy Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine
- Rik Ehmann, L.Ac., MQP, NuYu Acupuncture
- Jacqui Kenzig, L.Ac., MSTOM, Sustaining Health Acupuncture
- Hetty Adema, L.Ac., Dipl. Acupuncture, Healing Point-Acupuncture Wellness Center
- Shelby Vancleve, L.Ac., MAcOM, Louisville Acupuncture Clinic
- Lindsay E Matthews, L.Ac., MAcOM, Common Ground Wellness
- Li Sparks, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, Acupuncture Health Alliance
- Gigi Peireira, L.Ac., M.Ac. Klimick Acupuncture
- Andrea Johnston, L.Ac., Dipl OM, MSAOM, EnerQi Holistic Acupuncture at Stream Point
If you are not on this list, have your own place, feel free to email us and we’ll add you to the list if you are a real acupuncturist.