Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture   needles

I find that a lot of my clients struggle to differentiate between Acupuncture and Dry needling. Another common one is clients saying they’ve had acupuncture before with another therapist when really, they have had dry needling.

This is a prime example of why it is important to ask lots of questions before you receive a treatment you may not have had before. Education is power and when it comes to professionals using needles as a modality it is probably a good idea to ask why they’re doing it and what the benefits are

To start with a bit of history – acupuncture is an eastern medicine technique whereas dry needling is a western medicine technique. Acupuncture works along the meridians (a 2000-year-old dogma) and energy systems within the body. It is used purposely to either remove or add energy into the body and also works with energy blockages, disrupted and stagnated flow and illness and disease. It is used for a range of physical and mental conditions.

Dry needling on the other hand uses the same needles as acupuncturists however we are working with muscles, fascia (connective tissue) and trigger points. We use needles to relax and deactivate over active muscles, release the muscle fibres and help adequate blood flow to be able to move through the muscles. It is based around the modern scientific study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Dry needling causes the muscles to relax, causes local healing responses in the dysfunction and/or painful tissue which restores normal function through the natural healing response. It also disrupts pain messages being sent to the central nervous system.

Dry needling is great for;


  • Acute and chronic tendinitis
  • Athletic and sports related injuries
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Post traumatic injuries – motor vehicle and work related
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Lower back pain
  • High levels of stress held in muscle tissue
  • Headaches
  • A range of overuse injuries e.g. Tennis Elbow

If you feel like this is something you could benefit from all Myotherapist’s are trained in Dry Needling. The needles on average have a gauge of 0.30mm and length of 40mm for arms and smaller areas of the body and 75mm for thicker muscle such as the glutes which have a lot of fatty tissue to get through before you hit the muscle belly.

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