Dry Needling Update – 06/26/2024

We’re excited to announce that dry needling will soon be a readily available treatment at Stride Physio starting in July 2024. The opening date for applications for the official endorsement for Physical Therapists to practice dry needling is July 1, 2024. Many of our therapists at Stride started working on the requirements for endorsement this past winter, including Susanne Michaud, Laurie Gribschaw, Trevor Farm, Amanda Benson, Alexis Eusterbrock, Suzanne Soine, and Ticha Green. Those of us who’ve completed the 75 hours of in-person training have started practicing with clients as part of the 150 practice sessions required to obtain the endorsement.

What this means for you, as a client of Stride Physio, is that you will now have access to a proven treatment technique to effectively improve movement function and performance.

“What is dry needling?” you may ask. Also known as intramuscular needling, this is a skilled intervention performed by trained professionals, using sterile, thin, filiform needles that penetrate the skin, muscle, and connective tissues to stimulate or inhibit the underlying structures and systems. Within the context of a physical therapy practice, dry needling is performed for the evaluation and management of pain and movement dysfunction. Physical Therapists use dry needling within the patient’s plan of care, not as a stand-alone treatment. In fact, research confirms that dry needling is most effective when done in conjunction with movement and prescriptive exercise. The therapeutic purpose of dry needling is to address pain and neuromuscular impairments (e.g., muscle tone, recruitment, thickness, output), facilitate blood and lymphatic flow, reduce spasticity, improve autonomic regulation, and restore cortical mapping (i.e., body/brain connection). In short, dry needling addresses the issues in the tissues so that you can move better sooner.

Intramuscular needling performed by a Physical Therapist and acupuncture performed by an Eastern Medical practitioner are not the same. These practices overlap only in their use of the same type of needle and the therapeutic goal to improve health. Otherwise, they are distinct practices, using their own examinations, diagnoses, and clinical reasoning related to each profession’s foundational training. Intramuscular needling is based on a western medical model, supported by current research and best practices, and guided by advanced training in anatomy, physiology, neurology, and universal precautions.

Washington Physical Therapists fought for more than 10 years to codify dry needling into our scope of practice, which was made into law (RCW 18.74.200) in the 2023 legislative session. As of July 1, 2024, Physical Therapists in Washington State will be able to apply for their intramuscular dry needling endorsement, once the required coursework and practice sessions are completed. The WA Department of Health, Board of Physical Therapy recently completed their work around rule-making and creating an administrative process for this new licensure endorsement. Stride Physio’s own Susanne Michaud helped bring this legislation forward over the past 10 years, working with the American Physical Therapy Association, Washington chapter. We celebrate all the hard work of many who fought for patient rights to access the best treatments available.

Stay tuned for Stride updates on when the official endorsements start coming in.

– Susanne Michaud, DPT, OCS