Acupuncture Vs Dry Needling
We’ve been asked a few times why we list both acupuncture and dry needling as modalities we practice, when they are essentially the same thing. The truth is, the differences between dry needling and acupuncture far outweigh the similarities.
Keeping it simple, acupuncture involves needles being inserted at certain acupuncture points, mostly found along meridian lines. These lines represent organs of the body and have their origins in ancient Chinese medical history. The underlying treatment philosophy is based on the concept of balance and maintaining free flow of electricity within the body.
Needles are inserted, and are generally retained for 15 to 30 minutes. Acupuncture is subtle, gentle and is usually used more for internal treatments – complaints like digestive issues, stress, insomnia, sub-fertility, or in cases of chronic or ongoing pain. The needles sometimes elicit a slight dull or achy sensation on insertion, which quickly goes away and the treatment is generally relaxing.
Dry needling is comparatively brand spanking new, having only been developed into the form we use today in the 1980’s. We use Trigger Point Dry Needling, which is based on the theory that when trigger points develop in muscles, they lead to neuromuscular dysfunction, resulting in pain, decreased function and increased stress on surrounding structures.
Acupuncture style needles are used to elicit a twitch response to release the trigger point and restore normal function to the muscle. Needles are not retained. This is a more physical modality and can produce quite a strong sensation, usually resulting in a twitch and/or crampy sensation.
We are bachelor degree qualified in acupuncture and post graduate certified in Trigger Point Needling. We don’t believe one is better than the other, but believe the appropriate treatment is always the best option – and while some cases are best suited to either technique, we have found that many patients benefit from a combination of acupuncture and dry needling.