Dry Needling Rulings


Is Dry Needling Legal in Virginia?
  • 18VAC112-20-121. Practice of dry needling. A. Dry needling is not an entry level skill but an advanced procedure that requires additional post-graduate training. 1. The training shall be specific to dry needling and shall include emergency preparedness and response, contraindications and precautions, secondary effects or complications, palpation and needle techniques, and physiological responses. 2. The training shall consist of didactic and hands-on laboratory education and shall include passage of a theoretical and practical examination. The hands-on laboratory education shall be face-to-face. 3. The training shall be in a course approved or provided by a sponsor listed in subsection B of 18VAC112-20-131. 4. The practitioner shall not perform dry needling beyond the scope of the highest level of the practitioner's training. B. Prior to the performance of dry needling, the physical therapist shall obtain informed consent from the patient or the patient's representative. The informed consent shall include the risks and benefits of the technique. The informed consent form shall be maintained in the patient record. C. Dry needling shall only be performed by a physical therapist trained pursuant to subsection A of this section and shall not be delegated to a physical therapist assistant or other support personnel. Statutory Authority § 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.
  • In 2020, the Governor signed the rules into law.
  • In 2018, the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy developed dry needling regulations, which were approved by the Governor on April 30, 2019. After a public comment period, the regulations are awaiting the Governor’s final signature.
  • In March 2007, the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy determined that dry needling is within the scope of physical therapy practice, after having been challenged by the Virginia Acupuncture Society in August 2006. Jan Dommerholt, president of Myopain Seminars, testified in favor of dry needling during the Board’s meeting in October 2006.
  • In April 2002, the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy started issuing statements that dry needling appeared to be within the scope of physical therapy practice.