Dry Needling in Washington State

Governor Jay Inslee signing bill into law

After Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State signed Second Substitute House Bill No. 1039 into law on May 1, 2023, dry needling will officially be included in the scope of physical therapy when the law goes into effect in July 2023, making Washington the 36th state to approve dry needling by physical therapists. Physical therapists in Washington have been working for many years to get to this historic moment, mostly due to fierce opposition by acupuncturists.

History of Dry Needling in Washington State

Twelve years ago, dry needling was already on the agenda of the Washington State Board of Physical Therapy (WBPT), however, at that time the licensing board took no action and remained silent on whether physical therapists would be allowed to use dry needling. In October 2014, the Honorable Laura C. Inveen, judge at the Superior Court for the State of Washington, County of King, ruled that dry needling is considered the practice of medicine in Washington State and outside the scope of physical therapy practice. The ruling was triggered by a lawsuit filed by the State of Washington ex rel South Sound Acupuncture Association vs. Kinetacore and its owner at that time, a course instructor, a course host, and all course participants (No. 13-2-04894-9 SEA). In 2015, several state legislators got involved and both House and Senate bills were proposed, which would have prevented physical therapists from using dry needling in Washington State. Even the State Attorney General concluded in 2016 that

“The definition of the practice of physical therapy indicates that the legislature did not intend to include dry needling within the scope of practice […]. We conclude only that RCW 18.74, as currently written and implemented, does not encompass dry needling in the practice of physical therapy.”

In March of 2016, Senator Randi Becker, Chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, requested the Department of Health conduct a sunrise review of a proposal to add dry needling to the physical therapist scope of practice. Following the “Physical Therapy Sunrise Review” in August 2016, the future of dry needling took a positive turn after Myopain Seminars President/CEO Dr. Jan Dommerholt and other recognized dry needling experts testified in Olympia, WA.

The Sunrise Review committee concluded that with adequate training, “dry needling may fit within the physical therapist’s scope of practice” and agreed that the evidence demonstrated a “low rate of serious adverse events” from physical therapists performing dry needling in other states, the US military and Canada.

Fast forward to 2023. Even though dry needling is now officially within the scope of practice of physical therapy in Washington State, unfortunately, physical therapists need to wait even longer before they can offer this very effective therapy to their patients. On May 18, 2023, the Board of Physical Therapy announced that

“The rulemaking process will take approximately 12-18 months to complete. Intramuscular needling may not take place in Washington until rulemaking is complete, and the endorsement has been established.”

Of interest is that in Washington State, the worldwide accepted term “dry needling” has been replaced with the somewhat misleading term “intramuscular needling,” at the insistence of the Washington East Asian Medical Association (WEAMA). Of course, the term “intramuscular needling” does not really cover the entire scope of dry needling as it negates scar tissue, fascial needling, periosteal needling, etc.

Myopain Seminars Dry Needling Courses in Washington State

Even though it may take a while before the dry needling rulemaking process will be completed, physical therapists are legally allowed to start their dry needling education once the law goes into effect in July 2023. Granted, since the specifics about the requirements and training are not yet known, there is a small risk that the Myopain Seminars would not get approved in their current format, but that would be a first in the country. Myopain Seminars Dry Needling courses have been approved in all jurisdictions where we have applied for approval in the US and in many foreign countries.

To celebrate the historic events in Washington, Myopain Seminars is offering its entire Dry Needling course program at a one-time 50% (!) discount starting on August 18-20, 2023 in Seattle, WA.

Start your DN education for only $547.50 for the DN-1 course, $547.50 for the DN-2 course (October 6-8, 2023) and $597.50 for the DN-3 course (December 1-3, 2023) , which includes the certification examination. This incredible deal will be offered only once so don’t wait and start your DN education with Myopain! Contact us to claim your discount and for more information about this course series.

Jan Dommerholt PT, DPT

President/CEO Myopain Seminars

The Obvious Choice for Dry Needling Education

Dry Needling Course Series

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The Dry Needling 1 course is an excellent starting point for learning the fundamentals of dry needling therapy. With a focus on the safe and effective application of dry needling techniques, you will gain a solid understanding of myofascial trigger points, needling techniques, precautions, and how to apply these techniques in clinical practice.

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The Dry Needling 2 course is an intermediate-level course that provides in-depth knowledge and hands-on training for dry needling techniques of the extremities, including the upper and lower body. By completing this course, you will expand upon the skills you acquired in the DN-1 course and better understand the application of dry needling for managing musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.

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The Dry Needling 3 course is the final course in the series and the last step before becoming a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist – Dry Needling (CMTPT/DN). This course offers an in-depth study of advanced dry needling techniques for hand muscles, several lower extremity and foot muscles, the craniofacial and craniomandibular muscles, and more.

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