The finer points between Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Written by Daniel Webster
Acupuncture is a Traditional Chinese Medicine discipline and a profession. Just like a Doctor practices medicine in Western society, an Acupuncturist practices Acupuncture in Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture is based on the theory that the body is controlled by a spiritual energy force (Qi) that circulates between organs along meridian channels. Acupuncture has been used in Eastern medicine for treatments such as fertility, smoking cessation, gastro-intestinal disorders, allergies and other non-musculoskeletal conditions.
The distinct feature of the needles is that they’re thin, not hollow, do not contain liquid and therefore less painful than a typical injection experienced with vaccination.
Dry needling differs to Acupuncture, as it is a treatment technique utilized by trained physiotherapists, based on anatomy, physiology and biological concepts within the Western model of health. Dry needling involves the insertion of exactly the same thin needles as acupuncture (but different reasons, locations and techniques) and has been shown to effectively manage painful conditions including neck and back pain, osteoarthritis, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome and plantar fasciitis. There is an expanding body of evidence showing that dry needling can be effective at decreasing pain, improving range of motion, reducing sensitivity of myofascial trigger points (knots in muscle), and improving the quality of life for patients. It can be utilized as part of a patient specific management plan with physical, hormonal, neural and central effects from within the tissues directly and by changing the brains perception of acute and chronic pain.
Dry needling is an evolving low-risk treatment modality used to improve patient symptoms in many different conditions within the complex experience of pain.
Daniel has completed additional training in dry needling from specialist physiotherapists and Acupuncturists with a particular focus on sports and spinal injuries. If you are experiencing pain or restricted movement and want to know more about your treatment options, Daniel is happy to answer any questions you may have and available for consultations at our Cottesloe and Claremont clinics.
Dunning, J., Butts, R., Mourad, F., Young, I., Flannagan, S., & Perreault, T. (2014). Dry needling: a literature review with implications for clinical practice guidelines. Physical Therapy Reviews, 19 (4), 252-265.
Unverzagt, C., Berglund, K., & Thomas, J. (2015). Dry needling for myofascial trigger point pain: a clinical commentary. The International Journal of Sports Physiotherapy, 10 (3), 402-418.
Zhou, K., Ma, Y., & Brogan, M. (2015). Dry needling versus acupuncture: the ongoing debate. Acupuncture in Medicine, 33, 485-490.