Functional Dry Needling® Courses & FAQs


Have questions about Dry Needling? We're here to help you understand this effective technique for treating chronic pain and severe injury. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Dry Needling is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a 'Trigger Point’.   There is no injectable solution and typically the needle which is used is very thin.  Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has and is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary drastically from patient to patient.  Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp -- which is often referred to as a 'twitch response’. The twitch response also has a biochemical characteristic to it which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms, and response of the tissue. Along with the health of the tissue, the expertise of the practitioner can also attribute to the variation of outcome and/or discomfort.  The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the patient's symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle. Typically positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner. Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

Prior knowledge or experience of Dry Needling is not required for successful completion of the Functional Dry Needling® Level One course. All participants are required to start with the KinetaCore Level 1 course regardless of previous Dry Needling training. KinetaCore teaches a specialized theory and application of dry needling that no other school or course teaches; therefore, all practitioners must start with the Level 1 Introductory course and progress through other KinetaCore courses thereafter.

Our courses are written for graduates of schools of Physical Therapy/Physiotherapy, Medicine, Osteopathy and Chiropractic. This course is extremely beneficial to practitioners with experience in the evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic pain disorders, as well as those clinicians who are seeking alternative, immediate and effective treatment options for the athletic population.  Professions that may participate in Functional Dry Needling training are those who have the ability, within their scope of practice, to puncture the skin and have extensive understanding of anatomy and palpation skills. The course was developed based on the anatomy and physiology education of the physical therapist, and practical and theoretical exams are based on this as well.  A passing grade for both the written and practical exams is required to receive the certification in Functional Dry Needling training.

KinetaCore requires a minimum of six months of experience treating patients while licensed.  For physical therapists in Colorado, there is a requirement of a minimum of two years of clinical experience before registering for the Level 1 FDN course. For other physical therapists in the United States, please consult your state's current scope of practice.

Please note, this course is not written for ATC, PTA or OT.  Acupuncturists may seek permission from KinetaCore with a professional referral.  Please email us at  for details.

In the US, the KinetaCore Dry Needling courses have been widely accepted as a quality education for dry needling. In Colorado, the KinetaCore Functional Dry Needling courses are conditionally approved by the Department of Regulatory Agencies.  Physical therapists completing their initial Level One training can practice dry needling only of the muscles instructed in Level One while completing their patient needling log in preparation for qualifying for the Level Two course.  Participants must complete their log of 200 patients and submit it to KinetaCore prior to qualifying for Level Two instruction.  Colorado physical therapists must complete their training within 6-8 months of starting their training per Colorado's specific rules and regulations (signing up at the 6-8 month mark with intention of taking Level Two within 12 months is acceptable).  KinetaCore will attempt to schedule Level 2 courses at times that will coincide with the 6-8 month time constraint for Level One trained course participants.  Functional Dry Needling/Trigger Point Dry Needling is pending or has currently been accepted in the scope of practice for physical therapists in all states except California, Nevada, Tennessee, Hawaii and Florida.  If you are interested in pursuing the acceptance of dry needling in your state's physical therapy scope of practice, please contact us as we may be able to assist you.

These courses have been approved and accredited by both the New Zealand and Australian Physiotherapy Associations. This means the course contents and objectives have been scrutinized by these associations who have endorsed their content and learning objectives. It means that Physiotherapists planning to participate in this course will be certified to perform Dry Needling techniques on their patients immediately following the workshops. Physiotherapists will receive a total of 52 CPD points for the Level One course and approximately 34 CPD points for the Level Two course. Other professions will need to check with their association to ascertain applicable CPD points.

Does this course count toward Continuing Education Units?

Our courses are approved in several states including Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. Each of our Functional Dry Needling courses offer 27 contact hours.  If there is no pre-approval in your state, we can assist you in submitting necessary forms to get your approval.

Can I still take the course if my state does not list TDN in its PT scope of practice?

You may still take the course but it will be your responsibility to know the laws and regulations for your state. if you are interested in pursuing the process of getting dry needling accepted in your state, let the KinetaCore staff know and we will assist you in any way we can.

Successful completion of the Level One Dry Needling course will provide you with skills and knowledge to begin utilizing the treatment immediately.  You have entered a course of study and have completed the first step; therefore you are able to begin practicing dry needling to develop a competency with your skill needed to progress to Level 2.  If you are practicing in Colorado and plan to take the Level Two course, it is required that you log performance of the FDN/TDN treatment for a minimum of 200 sessions before taking the Level Two course.  Please note -- if you are practicing in Colorado it is required that you sign up for a Level Two course within 6-8 months of completing the Level One course and take that course within 12 months.  If Level Two is not completed you must cease performing the FDN technique until you are able to obtain further education.  For those U.S. practitioners outside of Colorado, please consult your state's current physical therapy scope of practice.

Once you have successfully completed Level 2, you are deemed competent and skilled and have completed your course of study.  You are then a Functional Dry Needling Practitioner.

The quick answer for this is YES.  However, payment is dependent on your specific insurance contracts and on the state in which you practice.  This topic is covered more thoroughly in the courses regarding some of the variables you may encounter with billing.

The focus of the Functional Dry Needling Level 1 course is treatment for pain management and sport related injuries. Participants successfully completing the Level One and Two courses will be able to treat pain and dysfunction originating from active myofascial trigger points that can lead to conditions such as: tendonopathies, movement impairments, and other orthopaedic and sport-related conditions of the following areas:

Level 1

Level 2


Advanced Hip

Lumbar Spine

Advanced Lumbar Spine



Cervical Spine

Advanced Cervical Spine


Thoracic Spine

Upper and Lower Extremity

Advanced Upper and Lower Extremity

The most common cause of nerve irritation and neuropathic pain is underlying spinal degeneration (i.e. spondylosis of the spine), which can be a result of trauma and/or normal wear and tear. Spondylosis irritates the nerve root and leads to neuropathy which can result in muscle shortening. This process leads to pain and dysfunction in many common acute and chronic conditions that practitioners see in their everyday patient population. The introduction of a dry needle into the active trigger sites of these muscles can provide enormous relief of symptoms.

Dry Needling may also be used for acute and chronic sport-related injuries such as:

  • Muscular hematomas
  • Muscle tears
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis/golfers elbow

The application of Functional Dry Needling techniques for the above conditions will be demonstrated during these courses.  In Level Two, participants will be instructed in advanced techniques which will include the use of a needle plunger. The Level Two is considered advance based on the learning outcomes gained in Level One and/or for safety reasons.

Dry Needling can also be used for spinal conditions in which the underlying pathology may have triggered a movement disorder. This can result in the presence of reduced ROM or pain due to abnormal muscle tone or spasms. Such conditions may include:

  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Cervico-genic headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Hamstring issues

Common lower extremity conditions treated with Functional Dry Needling include:

  • Patellar Femoral Syndrome
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Groin Strain
  • Shin-splints, Compartment Syndrome
  • Achilles tendonopathies

Common upper extremity conditions treated with Functional Dry Needling include:

  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylitis (golfers elbow) 
  • Impingement syndromes

KinetaCore and the state of Colorado have the same expectation for participants to complete the Functional Dry Needling course of study once you have begun.  Once you have successfully completed Level 1, you may practice dry needling as a student within a course of study.  It is important that you are able to develop an ease and skill with the technique so that you can progress to learn the muscles taught in Level 2 which are in more advanced areas of anatomy. Therefore, once you have taken and passed Level 1, it is a requirement that practitioners compile a log of 200 treatment sessions prior to taking Level 2.  The state of Colorado requires enrollment in Level 2 within 6-8 months of taking Level 1, with the goal of taking the course by no more than 12 months post Level 1.  

Some states, such as North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia, require additional hours of training before practicing the technique. KinetaCore's new Functional Therapeutics course will benefit practitioners in these states, as it can immediately follow the Level 1 course and offer them additional training in the muscle areas of Level 1, while going more in-depth in patient assessment and treatment, utilizing dry needling and case study to assess patients more fully.

Functional Therapeutics offers an additional 27 continuing education units in the state of Colorado.

All course participants are provided with necessary pre-course study guides and reading material to prepare them for the rigorous educational experience they will find on the course. Each participant will receive an extensive full-color illustrated course manual describing and depicting the theory and course material covered during the 3 day workshops. All supplies needed for the course will be provided:  Seirin brand needles, alcohol pumps, stim units, sharps containers, etc.  At our Colorado courses, participants are able to purchase additional supplies to begin practicing the dry needling technique. 

We at KinetaCore take pride in offering the best course content material as well as a most efficient and comfortable course atmosphere. We order a variety of cuisine for in-house participant lunch each day of the course.  We also provide bottled water and healthy snacks to maintain stamina during a full weekend of dry needling treatments.

You will receive a certificate of completion for each level once you attend the course and successfully pass the course exams.  This is not an accredited certification through a university, but you are certified through KinetaCore® upon passing the exam and completing the course. The certificate will list your name, location and dates of the course, and the amount of contact hours (27 for each FDN/TDN course, 54 for both Level 1 and Level 2).  The course does qualify for CEUs for certain states for which KinetaCore® has applied; for other states you will need to apply individually.  See the scope of practice by state for more information.

The Level 1 Functional Dry Needling course is designed to prepare the trainee to practice dry needling immediately upon returning to the clinic Monday morning.  Theoretical and practical testing will be administered during the Sunday session and participants will be expected to display an appropriate level of competency prior to receiving their course certificate.
As of June 2013, KinetaCore® has instructed over 150 Introductory Level 1 Courses, Level 2 Advanced Courses and Functional Therapeutics Courses.  Since 2008 we have trained over 2,500 providers across the United States and Canada.

With your registration fee you will be provided with all of the supplies needed for the dry needling course participation.

Depending on the brand, we highly recommend using Seirin brand filament needles, which typically cost between $10 and $20 per box of 100 needles.  Each dry needling treatment session will vary in how many needles participants will use, but on average you will probably use 10-20 needles per each patient session.  This will be discussed in detail during the course, but the sizes of needles typically used are as follows:

.30 x 30mm

.30 x 40mm

.30 x 50mm

.30 x 60mm

.50 x 100mm 

You will also need medical examination gloves (nitrile recommended), sharps containers -- approximately $7 each, alcohol pump (with alcohol & cotton balls) -- $15. (You can also use alcohol swabs if preferred), and we highly recommend a stim unit, which costs $150.

You may order your supplies through various suppliers, we will provide complete information on this during the course.

HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization --  is willing to cover the technique under their basic liability insurance policies as long as it is within your scope of practice for the state in which you are practicing.
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