Acupuncture Continuing Education

Arizona Acupuncture Needle Decision

The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy seeks to allow acupuncture to be performed by medical practitioners without an acupuncture license. Arizona faces an acupuncture crisis in public safety. They would like physical therapists (PTs) to be allowed to insert acupuncture needles into patients although PTs receive little to no formal education in the insertion of filiform needles. By contrast, Arizona law requires a minimum of 3,000 hours of training and a master’s degree for a licensed acupuncturist to be allowed to apply needles to a patient.

Acupuncturists use solid, very thin needles called filiform needles. An acupuncturist stimulates specific points on the body to balance parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system impulses towards a homeostatic response. This induces a sense of well-being, relieves pain and reduces swelling.

The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy defines their form of acupuncture as the process of dry needling. Regardless of the semantics, the needles are identical and must be applied with a deep knowledge of their exact application. Acupuncturists are trained to avoid needling specific regions in their extensive training. Acupuncturists are required in most states to obtain acupuncture continuing education PDAs, professional development activity points, every four years in safety and ethics through the NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) for the course of their entire careers. This is an ongoing process that ensures public safety.