The training and licensing requirements for other medical practitioners performing dry needling varies widely. In Colorado, physicians and osteopaths can practice 'acupuncture' with no additional training of any kind. Chiropractors must undergo 100 hours of training in theory and must document 25 patient visits. Physical therapists are only required to engage in 46 hours of training with no clinical supervision. In contrast, acupuncturists in the state of Colorado must under go over 1900 hours of training with an additional 1000 hours of supervised clinical practice.
Many states, such as Washington and New York, have determined that dry needling is an invasive procedure that is outside of the scope of practice of physical therapists. In the states where dry needling has not specifically been added to the scope of practice for physical therapists, there are lawsuits to address whether or not this belongs with the scope of practice for physical therapists.
In general, the answer to this is no. Practitioners should take into account the medications that you are currently taking and devise treatments that will not interfere. This is especially true when prescribing herbal formulas or when patients are taking medications that affect blood coagulation such as heparin.
It is possible that as a result of treatment by Chinese medicine, medication doses may need to be adjusted. Many patients report changes in their lab values and a need to reduce medications that they are taking after receiving treatment from a Chinese medical practitioner. Patients should always consult their physician when adjusting the dosage of medications or when considering whether to continue taking pharmaceuticals.
panorama_fish_eye What training and certification are required to practice the use of Chinese herbs in the United States?
This is a complex issue that has two main issues that need to be addressed. There are two main categories of herbs that require consideration. The first are herbs that have inherent toxicity. The second are herbs that acquire toxicity through poor agricultural practices such as pesticides or heavy metal infiltration due to improper processing.
Some herbs (like some Western pharmaceuticals) have a natural inherent toxicity. Some herbs can be toxic if prepared incorrectly or if combined with the wrong substances. We have extensive training in the use of herbs that have toxicity and understand how to prescribe them safely, as well as how to instruct patients about what negative side effects to watch out for.
As for herbs that have acquired toxicity, we strive to avoid these herbs at all cost. In order to prevent this issue, we obtain our herbs from companies that do rigorous testing on the herbs that they import and certify that those herbs do not have toxicity issues. We also seek out sources of organically farmed herbs whenever possible. Even though this may increase the cost of some of our herbs, we feel it is important to use the highest quality herbs whenever possible to protect the health of our patients.