This weekend I had the opportunity to take Functional Dry Needling Level 2 from Kinetacore. For the first level, I took it in Colorado, but thankfully I was able to take this course here in Phoenix for the advanced level. I can’t say enough good things about this company. They teach with a true passion and understanding and that carries through in all that they do.
This time around, the course was much easier. As a requirement, Kinetacore requires 200 documented treated cases of level 1 muscles prior to being able to enroll for level 2. This is not by accident. The skill, finesse, and ‘touch’ you get with these cases gives you a true understanding for what power dry needling holds. It also gives time to raise further questions about what, why, when how, etc for this technique. Because of that patient contact time my classmates ability to needle skillfully was much better. The soreness factor overall is much reduced (less attempts, less repeated stimulation, more direct). That made being on the treatment table much less anxiety provoking and a much smoother experience in general. We were not learning a new skill, we were refining it. Which is good, considering the muscle groups presented in this course are much more subtle, much deeper, and much more powerful agents of change.
Just the feel of the course is great, we had 18 students and 3 instructors which gives ample time for observation, hands on time, and plenty of ability to contact staff should you have questions. The staff are great! They are personable, realistic, and make themselves available for not only questions related to the course but outside queries as well. They do food right. The good yogurt and snacks, water, coffee, tea etc were all available for breakfast. This surprised me as we are out of home territory, but they did not fail to impress. (this was a point I was happy to note in course #1 as well). Lunch was provided each day – and it was great; local hot spots that have good grub. Plenty of food and drink available. Plus cookies. I love cookies.
Day 1 we reviewed safety items from the first course, went over the physiology of needling, effects, and the latest research. This is another point that I believe separates Kinetacore from the pack. They make sure you are ready for level 2. There is pre-reading, the review is thorough and they make sure that you are prepped and mentally ready before jumping into further structures. From there, the fun starts. We dove full force into the structures of the hand. Arguably one of the features that defines us as humans, it is packed with nerves and involved with all sorts of dysfunction. Treatment of this area was finely tuned, but overall was less sensitive than I anticipated. With this area, as with all other areas of the body through this course- the staff is great about providing feedback, alternative methods, and works incredibly hard at making sure their students are well versed in safety.
We progressed to the foot. This is another area that is highly sensitive but surprisingly easier to be needled than I anticipated. This area is going to be a goldmine for my practice as I treat a great deal of foot and ankle restrictions and this adds some excellent tools to the toolbox. For those folks who foot pain hadn’t resolved with our current treatment and needling, I’m excited to try these new techniques out! When the first day ended in course #1 I felt beat up. Not so much with this course. The advanced level of skill is clearly apparent in this course.
Day 2 came with a promise of needling. And lots of it. It did not disappoint. Advanced neck, shoulder, thoracic spine, ribs, and torso were taught. I’d been dying to work the thoracic spine as I feel that treatment here will certainly open doors to betterness for many of my patients who haven’t responded to alternative treatments. At the same time, a healthy dose of anxiety is present because a wrongly placed needle could puncture someone’s lung. Not an ideal situation. Thankfully, instruction came at a manageable pace and we progressed steadily through areas- the staff was always there to help, give advice, and make sure that you knew what you were doing competently. Advanced stimulation techniques and treatment options were presented. The day again came with a sweet lunch option, good snacks, and the staff being willing to stay as late as needed to clarify and assist. I really appreciated the willingness to be present no matter what from the faculty- it’s this level of commitment which again sets them above the rest.
The final day is the practical and theory test along with the hip, and face. The hip was not as challenging in skill like the ribcage was (for me as a provider), but it was hell to be on the table for (for me). This is the hardest place for me to be needled. It is always humbling to be in a patient position because after many years in practice and so many needles dropped into patients, we often lose the ability to be empathetic to the power needles hold over us and focus on the science and ability of those needles to help. Perspective is everything. Then, there is the testing phase. I like this aspect the most of the course. I like it the most because it means you have to know your stuff before you go out and practice it. Of course it is a test, but if that means my profession and I are safer because of it, so be it. Yes, this is a test, but it also provides yet another option for teaching and for learning.
I cannot say enough good words about this course and the company and instructors. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone looking to further their PT practice. I also highly recommend you visit Kinetacore if you are a patient to see who, in your area, is certified in Dry Needling should you need it!