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South Dakota PT Dry Needling


"Dry needling," a skilled technique performed by a licensed physical therapist who has completed an approved course of training using filiform needles to penetrate the skin and underlying tissues to affect change in body structures and physical function capability for the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, movement impairments, and disability.

Education and Training Requirements

The course of study shall include:

    • Surface anatomy as it relates to underlying tissues, organs, and other structures, including variations in form, proportion, and anatomical landmarks;
    • Both emergency preparedness and response procedures related to secondary physiological effects or complications with dry needling;
    • Both emergency preparedness and response procedures related to secondary emotional effects or complications associated with dry needling;
    • Standards for dry needle handling;
    • Factors influencing safety and injury prevention;
    • Personal protection procedures and techniques as related to dry needling;
    • Theoretical basis for dry needling;
    • Theoretical basis for combining dry needling with other interventions;
    • Secondary effects or complications associated with dry needling on other systems;
    • Theoretical basis of pain sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and relation to body structures and function;
    • Indications, contraindications, and precautions related to dry needling;
    • Palpation techniques as related to dry needling;
    • Needle insertion techniques;
    • Needle manipulation techniques;
    • Physiological responses to dry needling; and
    • Solid filament needles.

The majority of the course of study shall be in-person. Courses held entirely online or by other distance learning will not satisfy this requirement; and

The physical therapist may only perform dry needling on the parts of the body included in the course of study.

Prior to performing dry needling, the physical therapist shall, on a form approved by the board, provide proof of successful completion of a board approved course of study in dry needling evaluated through a practical, hands-on evaluation and a written examination.


Dry needling may not be delegated to a physical therapist assistant.


S.D. Codified Laws ยง 36-10-52

S.D. Admin. R. 20:66:04

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