Florida physical therapists cannot offer “dry needling” procedures to their patients, a state judge ruled in a legal challenge filed by a group representing acupuncturists. 

An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an order rejecting a proposed rule by the Florida Board of Physical Therapy that set minimum standards for physical therapists to use dry needling. The ALJ said the proposal exceeded the Board of Physical Therapy’s “grant of rulemaking authority because it would expand the scope of physical therapy practice, not merely establish a standard of practice.”

Dry needling is the name physical therapists use to describe a technique of inserting filiform needles into the skin at various “trigger points,” which causes certain responses. Filiform needles — which are used for acupuncture — are solid. They cannot be used to inject substances or medicine, hence the word “dry.”

Physical therapists in more than 30 states practice dry needling, but it is not authorized by law in Florida.


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