As an acupuncturist with 26 years experience, it is fascinating to suddenly be asked if we do dry needling. Dry needling is a new term to describe the ancient technique called ‘Ashi acupuncture’ or more commonly ‘trigger point acupuncture’. Do our acupuncturists use dry needling? Of course! But we will always call it trigger point acupuncture because we are registered acupuncturists and trigger point acupuncture is just one tool in our acupuncture toolbox.
Why a new name for an ancient technique? Since the registration of acupuncture in Australia in 2012 it has been illegal to use the title ‘acupuncturist’ unless registered or endorsed by an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) board as an acupuncturist.
The term ‘dry needling’ has been adopted by people who practice trigger point acupuncture but are not qualified as acupuncturists. Dry-needling is usually taught in short courses (often as little as 1 weekend). These short courses are often popular with physiotherapists and massage therapists.
Dry needlers are not eligible for registration through AHPRA as acupuncturists, and are not bound by the national education and safety standards which regulate acupuncture practice in Australia.
The registered acupuncturists in this practice are qualified in the full range of acupuncture techniques required for registration, and adhere to the safety and practice standards required for acupuncture set by the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).