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Tennessee PT Dry Needling

In order to perform dry needling, a physical therapist must obtain all of the educational instruction below. All such educational instruction must be obtained in person and may not be obtained online or through video conferencing.

Mandatory Training

Before performing dry needling, a practitioner must complete educational requirements in each of the following areas:

Fifty (50) hours of instruction, to include instruction in each of the four (4) areas, which are generally satisfied during the normal course of study in physical therapy school:

    • Musculoskeletal and Neuromuscular systems;
    • Anatomical basis of pain mechanisms, chronic pain, and referred pain;
    • Trigger Points;
    • Universal Precautions; and

Twenty-four (24) hours of dry needling specific instruction

    • The twenty-four (24) hours must include instruction in each of the following six (6) areas:
      • Dry needling technique;
      • Dry needling indications and contraindications;
      • Documentation of dry needling;
      • Management of adverse effects;
      • Practical psychomotor competency; and
      • Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Bloodborne Pathogens Protocol.
    • Each instructional course shall specify what anatomical regions are included in the instruction and describe whether the course offers introductory or advanced instruction in dry needling.
    • Each course must be pre-approved or approved by the Board or its consultant, or the Board may delegate the approval process to recognized health-related organizations or accredited physical therapy educational institutions.

Additional Rules

A newly-licensed physical therapist shall not practice dry needling for at least one (1) year from the date of initial licensure, unless the practitioner can demonstrate compliance his or her pre-licensure educational coursework.

Any physical therapist who obtained the requisite twenty-four (24) hours of instruction in another state or country must provide the same documentation to the Board that is required of a course provider. The Board or its consultant must approve the practitioner’s dry needling coursework before the therapist can practice dry needling in this state.

Dry needling may only be performed by a licensed physical therapist and may not be delegated to a physical therapist assistant or support personnel.

A physical therapist practicing dry needling must supply written documentation, upon request by the Board, that substantiates appropriate training as required by this rule.

All physical therapy patients receiving dry needling shall be provided with information from the patient’s physical therapist that includes a definition and description of the practice of dry needling and a description of the risks, benefits, and potential side effects of dry needling.

Clinical Students

Physical therapy clinical students who have completed all educational requirements above may practice dry needling under the direct, on-site supervision of a physical therapist licensed in the state of Tennessee who has met the educational prerequisites and practiced for at least one (1) year.


Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1150-01-.22

Tennessee Board Policy Statement

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