BAILEY’S BIG 3: NEEDLING TECHNIQUES IN PHYSIOTHERAPY I

March 25, 2015

AcupunctureSorry for my absence on Whole Therapy’s social media for all of my devout followers (If you are reading this at all, THANK YOU very much!). I was in Cuba for a WHOLE WEEK vacationing from thinking. I’m back though and ready to educate poison all of your minds!

It’s Wednesday and I’ve noticed that I’ve been performing a lot more needling techniques over the last week (with quite a bit of success!). This has inspired me. I feel like writing a series of blogs on the use of needling techniques in the practice of physiotherapy. Today’s goal is to clarify some misconceptions I commonly see in the public’s eyes. In future posts, I’ll look at its utility as an adjunct therapy, because contrary to what some of my client’s might think, I do not enjoy stabbing people with needles just for the fun of it (I will NEVER admit that the masochistic side of me loves seeing that angry, little hypertonic muscle twitch, wink wink).

So here is blog 1 of my needling series!

  1. First of all, I am NOT an acupuncturist. I am a registered physiotherapist who has taken extensive post-graduate course work in order to implement needling techniques as an adjunct therapy in my practice. What does this mean? This means I treat musculoskeletal injuries using acupuncture. I am NOT qualified to treat infertility, digestive issues, silence your nagging spouse, etc using acupuncture. That is outside the scope of practice for physiotherapists. For those types of health concerns, you need to go see a Doctor of Chinese Medicine or your family doctor.
  1. If you’re not an acupuncturist, why are YOU allowed to perform acupuncture then? Physiotherapists who have been trained in Canada now undergo six years of intense training in human anatomy and physiology. Six LONG years! Therefore, the Regulated Health Profession Act (RHPA) provides physiotherapists the authority to perform needling techniques provided we complete the appropriate post-graduate course work to use needling safely (even MORE training). What does this mean? The Regulated Health Profession Act has complete confidence in our ability to use acupuncture. This is because we KNOW the human body. We are little encyclopedias of bones and muscles. We’re pretty much obsessed with the human body (on the cusp of being neurotic). Rest assure, we are knowledgeable and safe!
  1. What schooling do physiotherapists need to take in order to perform acupuncture? There are many post-graduate courses that offer training in acupuncture. I completed two acupuncture and dry needling series with Meridian Health Education (total of 5 courses). Other notable programs include McMaster University’s Acupuncture Program, the Advanced Physical Education Institute, Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, etc. Feel free to enquire as to what your therapist’s educational background is with regards to needling. It is also the law to roster with the Ontario College of Physiotherapists. This means that if you search us up on our Regulatory College website, it shows that we are rostered to perform acupuncture (and the College knows about it). This is really important! If we do not roster, we can get into big trouble! It’s the public’s right to know that our regulatory body is aware of the skills we are qualified to do. And if your therapist isn’t rostered, STOP. They may not have the expertise we pride ourselves on having (BAD, BAD, BAD).

Bailey Gresham is a registered physiotherapist for Whole Therapy. She specializes in manual therapy and movement-based therapy. She likes bridging the gap between rehabilitation and performance training.  More about Bailey here.

Bailey