Immediate Action Needed!

Immediate Action Needed!

Immediate action needed!

The Board of Acupuncture in the State of Maryland is demanding unreasonable regulations and educational requirements for physical therapists utilizing trigger point dry needling as part of their practice. Dry needling has been included in the physical therapy practice act in Maryland since 1984. The Maryland State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners has been patiently working with the Board of Acupuncture to resolve this issue; however, their work is in jeopardy of being undone if feedback from the public is not received by September 28.

This is important because we can bet that it will happen in other states if this Board of Acupuncture initiative is successful in Maryland.

Let your voice be heard – demand that physical therapists retain the right to use dry needling in their scope of practice!

Information via Kineticore’s website about background and what to do: 

Information from the State of Maryland about what to do, with email addresses, fax numbers and phone numbers to let your voice be heard:

Template of letter to email, fax, or snail mail:


Please help in showing support for the Board of Physical Therapy and the right of qualified PTs to perform this technique. We need individuals (both PTs, patients, and even other providers) to submit written comments via email or hard copy letter to the Secretary of Health.


Step 1.  Draft your comment letter.  Please see the below template and suggested talking points.  It is vital that comment letters stress the advantages to public health of physical therapists performing dry needling. In addition comment letters need to emphasize that the proposed training and safeguards by the Board of Physical Therapy are more than adequate to ensure safe practice.


Step 2.  Submit your comment letter.  Send comment via email to:

Or mail them to:

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Attn: Michele Phinney, Director, Office of Regulation and Policy Coordination

201 W. Preston St., Room 512

Baltimore, MD     21201


Step 3. Please be sure to send a copy of your comment letter to APTA of Maryland at:




Again, even if you do not personally perform dry needling, it is imperative that we show our support for our PT colleagues that do perform it!  We encourage you to submit letters of support to the Secretary of Health’s office before the deadline of September 28.


Thank you for your support and dedication to the PT profession!


APTA of Maryland





Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Attn: Michele Phinney, Director

Office of Regulation and Policy Coordination

201 W. Preston St., Room 512

Baltimore, MD     21201


Re:  Proposed regulations on dry needling


Dear Secretary Scharfstein,


As a licensed physical therapist and resident of the state of Maryland, I strongly urge you to allow the proposed Board of Physical Therapy regulations on dry needling be allowed to move forward in the regulatory process.  I strongly support the ability of qualified licensed physical therapists to perform the technique of dry needling in Maryland, and believe that the proposed regulations ensure public protection, and will benefit patients.


Personalize the letter – explain briefly who you are, where you practice, and where in Maryland you live or work. If you perform dry needling, explain the benefits that your patients have seen from it.  


Use four to five of the following suggested talking points; be sure to personalize your letter by adding your own information, experiences, and opinion:


  • The proposed regulations are more than adequate to ensure public protection and the safe performance of dry needling by qualified physical therapists.  They are more stringent and prescriptive than any other regulations governing PTs and dry needling in the country.


  • The Board of Physical Therapy went through a thorough process to formulate the proposed regulations.  The Board of Physical Therapy formed a special task force to gain input from stakeholders and other providers – including acupuncturists. The proposed regulations are a compromise that provide for public safety while also ensuring PTs meet tough standards. Given all the time and work that the Board did to formulate the proposed regulations, I am concerned that the current opposition to them is nothing more than smokescreen meant to undermine the ability of PTs to perform dry needling.


  • Physical therapists are not performing acupuncture, nor will they claim to be acupuncturists. The technique of dry needling is not ‘owned’ by any one profession.  Qualified licensed physical therapists who meet the proposed tough standards will utilize dry needling within the scope of physical therapy practice, as part of a PT plan of care. 


  • Concerns that PTs will use dry needling for conditions like mood disorders is unwarranted, as treating mood disorders is not within the PT scope of practice. The proposed regulations even state that PTs may NOT utilize dry needling for the purposes of detoxification, smoking cessation, or stress relief.


  • PTs will not advertise or hold themselves out to the public as performing acupuncture; physical therapists must utilize the regulatory designation of “PT” and can only claim to provide physical therapy or physiotherapy.


  • This is NOT a scope of practice issue – Dry needling has been within the scope of practice for Maryland physical therapists for many years, and was confirmed by the Maryland Attorney General.  The proposed regulations simply ensure that all physical therapists who perform this technique meet the same criteria. 


  • The advantages of PTs performing dry needling to the public health are numerous – it is an effective technique utilized by PTs across the country that has been shown to greatly assist the patients we serve for a variety of movement impairments, and neuromusculoskeletal pain within the scope of PT practice. Dry needling by PTs ensures patients in Maryland have CHOICE and ACCESS to the care that they need.


  • The training and safeguard proposed by the Board of Physical Therapy are VERY stringent and more than adequate to ensure public protection.  The proposed regulations state that a PT must have at least 2 years of clinical experience just to qualify.  Plus the proposed regulations require 230 hours of instruction – 80 hours of which are very prescriptive and detailed on the theory and application of dry needling PLUS another 50 hours of practice hands-on experience. 


  • The performance of modern dry needling by physical therapists is based on western neuroanatomy and modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Physical therapists that perform dry needling do not use traditional acupuncture theories or acupuncture terminology.  The opposition by acupuncturists to the proposed board regulations governing the performance of the technique of dry needling by qualified physical therapists is unwarranted given the differences between the profession of acupuncture and the profession of physical therapy.


Again, I strongly urge you to allow the proposed regulations from the Board of Physical Therapy to move forward in the regulatory process.  Thank you for your consideration and for the opportunity to comment on this important issue to the PT profession and the patients we serve.




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