About Trigger Point Acupuncture
Tender or painful points, also known as “trigger points” or “motor points,” are acupuncture points.
Tender or painful points are located in muscles and connective tissues, and, as their name suggests, are identified through tenderness or pain on palpation. This was, in fact, one of acupuncture’s earliest forms of point selection. China’s preeminent physician, Sun Si-Miao (581–682 C.E.), called these tender or painful points “ashi” points. In Chinese, ashi means Ah yes! (That’s the right spot.). Trigger point acupuncture is a more aggressive, direct manipulation of muscular tightness (knots) – known as trigger points. It seeks to generate repeated, involuntary twitching from the suspect muscle or muscle group and usually leads to an immediate reduction of the tightness as well as a reduction or elimination of the related problems.
Recent years, some professional moves terms from trigger point acupuncture to dry needling in order to bypass the requirements of acupuncture training. The American Medical Association (AMA) has made statement on regulating Dry Needling. The AMA adopted a policy that said physical therapists and other non-physicians practicing dry needling should – at a minimum – have standards that are similar to the ones for training, certification and continuing education that exist for acupuncture.
Facts for you to know
- “Dry needling” is acupuncture. “Dry needling” was first described over 2,000 years ago
- Tender or painful points, also known as “trigger points” or “motor points,” are acupuncture points.
- “Dry needling” is not “manual therapy;” it is an invasive, acupuncture needle intervention
- “Dry needling” is not a “technique;” the act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body, under any pretense, or for any purpose whatsoever, is the practice of acupuncture.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified acupuncture needles as Class II medical devices subject to strict regulations under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and FDA’s regulations.
- Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture are using acupuncture needles to perform “dry needling.”
- Acupuncturist must complete a minimum of 1,905 hours of education and supervised clinical training (1,245 hours of education and 660 hours of supervised clinical training). Yet physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture are inserting acupuncture needles (up to four inches or more in length) into unsuspecting patients with as little as a weekend workshop in acupuncture.
- There are real risks associated with the use of acupuncture needles by physical therapists and other allied health professionals who lack the education and supervised clinical training of licensed acupuncturists.
- There have been recently reported cases of injury or harm from the use of acupuncture needles by physical therapists and other allied health professionals who lack the education and supervised clinical training of licensed acupuncturists.
- It is illegal for physical therapists or any other providers to submit claims for payment to Medicare for “dry needling” (a non-covered service) as “physical therapy” (a covered service).