Lawrence Gleich Acupuncturist
We are often asked “What is the difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?”
For many years there have been different professions using needling techniques to provide relief from pain and discomfort. Broadly these professions can fall into two major groups, those that practice East Asian Traditional Medicine, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, or those from Western Musculoskeletal professions such as Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists. And until 2012 there was no general differentiation of the type of needling between the two groups.
What happened in 2012?
In 2012, in Australia, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture became a registered profession and the title of “Acupuncturist and Acupuncture” became protected to be used by only those people who are registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia. As a consequence, other professions using needling have taken on the term Dry Needling.
What are the differences between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?
There is actually a lot of difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling but what they do have in common is the insertion of fine filiform needles into the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. But this is where the similarities end.
Dry Needling is the insertion of needles into Trigger Points (tight bands of muscle fibres) to achieve what is called a “twitch response” after which the muscle is able to go into a relaxation phase and release muscle tension. It is only used for the treatment of muscular disorders.
Acupuncture uses the insertion of fine needles into specific locations (acupuncture points) along the body’s energy pathways (meridians or channels) to improve the flow of energy and stimulate the body to heal itself. Acupuncture also has other methods of stimulating acupuncture points and channels, with techniques like acupressure, cupping, moxibustion or electro-acupuncture.
Acupuncture can be used for not only pain and musculoskeletal disfunction, but also for other internal conditions like nausea and vomiting, rhinitis, digestive disorders, anxiety, hypertension etc. The biggest difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling is in the amount of training required.
Summary of differences between Acupuncture and Dry Needling