The Difference Between Acupuncture And Dry Needling

dry needling acupuncture
dry needling acupuncture

Dry needling and acupuncture are therapeutic practices that involve puncturing the skin with thin needles. While both share the same aim and purpose, to relieve pain, these two practices are very much different. One major difference between the two is that acupuncture is majorly based on traditional Chinese medicine, while dry needling is purely based on human anatomy and neurophysiological principles. So that you can understand better the difference between these two forms of pain relief therapy, take a look at this detailed explanation.

What Is Dry Needling?

It is a term popular by chiropractors and physical therapists to refer to a muscle stimulation technique using needles. It gets its name, dry needling, because, usually, there is nothing injected through the needles into the body. Instead, dry needling uses strong stimulations on muscles to make them less tense. The procedure can be painful, but the experience depends on each patient.

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The needles used in dry needling are stainless thin filiform needles. During the therapy, the therapist or the practitioner will insert the needs into the pressure points, sometimes referred to as the trigger points. They are the tight areas in the muscle. Administering dry needling does not require much training; a 24-hour class is enough to enable one to carry out the therapy.

Usually, the practitioner inserts the needles into the trigger points and then leaves them for about 30 minutes. However, there are other two types of dry needling that are not very common:

  • The non-trigger points technique. During this therapy, the practitioner will insert the filiform needles into the surrounding muscle instead of the pressure points.
  • The in and out technique. During this treatment, the therapist will insert the needles into the pressure points and remove them immediately. According to some research, this technique of dry needling acupuncture does not offer any benefits to the patient.

There are many controversies about dry needling and its effectiveness in improving flexibility. However, it may be more effective than not receiving any form of treatment at all. At the same time, stretching can be as effective in improving overall flexibility.

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