You probably aren’t aware of it, but there’s a turf war being waged in New Jersey about….acupuncture needles. According to, physical therapists and acupuncturists are opposed over legislation that would allow the physical therapists to use a practice called “dry needling” to relieve pain.

Dry needling is the use of hollow needles inserted into muscles. The acupuncture lobby (yes, there is one) is vehemently opposed to the measure, believing it would weaken standards and put patients in danger. Large hospital groups as well as the New York Giants supported the bill while a doctors’ group and acupuncturists opposed it. As it stands now, licensed acupuncturists are the only ones allowed to use that treatment; they must undergo 2500 hours of training as opposed to the 54 hours required of physical therapists under the legislation for PTs who want to use the technique.

Physical therapists were once allowed to use dry needling but that ended in 2017 with an opinion by the state attorney general that is exceeded the scope of their licensing. The therapists’ lobby says that dry needling is just a technique while acupuncture is a profession and as many patients as possible should be able to benefit from it. reports that the measure has cleared the Assembly Regulatory Professions Committee while a companion bill in the state senate passed the Senate Commerce Committee.

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