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How to choose your acupuncturist

As I wrote about here, I have serious concerns about the lack of clear minimum standards for health care providers practicing dry needling.

What is dry needling? Dry needling is another name for acupuncture performed by physical therapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers, physician’s assistants, and other allied health professionals, typically after as little as 30 hours of training

The video below is an excellent example of the very real risks associated with dry needling. The video shows a physician performing dry needling on a volunteer subject at a seminar (the volunteer subject also happens to be a physician). Ironically, as he performs the procedure, the instructor is lecturing on safety considerations related to needling over the thorax. He then proceeds to insert the needle much further that he should have, puncturing the membrane surrounding the volunteer subject’s lung and causing it to collapse.

This mistake was made by an “expert” (a physician and a lecturer on the topic of dry needling) — how much easier would it be for a novice practitioner of dry needling, with no more training that a 30-hour weekend course, to make the same mistake?

Here is a detailed investigation of what went wrong in the video above:

Pneumothorax complication of deep dry needling demonstration