Dry needling is the term used either by a person who does not qualify under Australian standards to practice as an acupuncturist or by a qualified health professional to signify that they use a limited amount of acupuncture as an adjunct to their main treatment mode.
This legislation means that if a health professional states that they are a general practitioner, dentist, podiatrist, etc. they have completed the education and training for that profession in Australia. The Australian Health Regulation Agency governs and polices health professionals Australia-wide. If a person is seen to be misleading the public, the offender is prosecuted.
A person providing acupuncture (dry needling), who is not an acupuncturist, has to be very careful how they advertise or explain their services. This is why dry needling is often used to describe acupuncture provided by a person who cannot legally use the professional title of acupuncturist.
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Acupuncture (dry needling) is, however, a term used by legitimate health professions such as chiropractors, physiotherapists, and podiatrists to signify that they use limited acupuncture techniques relevant to their health profession. To make things more confusing, some of these health professionals choose to do further study to qualify as an acupuncturist and are thus legally able use the professional title of acupuncturist in lieu of dry needling expert.
In general, the term ‘dry needling’ is either used by a person who does not qualify under Australian standards to practice as an acupuncturist, or a term used by a qualified health Professional to signify that they use a limited amount of acupuncture as part of their treatment.
You can check the Australian Government website AHPRA to see if a health professional is a registered acupuncturist or endorsed to perform acupuncture.
The title acupuncturist is protected under Australian law just as the title dentist is a protected professional title. The legislation by the Australian Government protecting professional titles is to protect the Australian public from people fraudulently impersonating a health professional.
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For more information on the regulations please follow the link to: Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency