Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture
Have you ever wondered the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture?
Our South Melbourne Practitioner Josh Neeft gets down to the point…
A common question we receive in clinic is what is the difference between acupuncture and dry-needling.
Dry-needling historically has been used by manual therapy practitioners as a means of managing pain and dysfunction associated with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, while acupuncture has a vast array of applications in treating any number of problems within the body.
Dry-needling is called such as it does not involve injection of fluid of any sort into the tissues. Practitioners use a sterile, single-use, thin filament acupuncture needle of varying thicknesses depending on the type of target tissue and the intention of the treatment, be it pain reduction, anti-inflammatory effect, tissue remodelling and repair and/or decreasing tissue tension.
Acupuncture differs in that its methods are derived from traditional Chinese medicine specifically relating to meridians, which can be thought of energy channels throughout the body. Meridians convey the flow of Qi throughout the body. Blockages along these pathways bring about dysfunction in various forms. Acupuncture works to restore the normal flow of Qi by opening these channels.
Dry-needling techniques have been formed within a western neuro-anatomy paradigm. It incorporates anatomical and physiological knowledge of the myofascial and nervous systems and is an evidence based practice supported by strong research.
Dry-needling works to elicit changes within the neuromusculoskeletal system through mechanical, chemical, endocrinological (hormonal), vascular and neural means.
In much the same way as Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation, dry-needling and acupuncture work in enhancing the bodies own healing mechanisms.
By virtue of the needle being within the tissue we are able to bring about changes in cellular activity responsible for repair and remodelling of injured tissue.
Down regulation of central nervous system activity involved in acute and chronic pain states has also been observed, in conjunction with a release of the bodies own pain relieving chemicals, commonly known as the endorphin-encephalin response.
Importantly needling works to activate the in-built pain inhibiting pathways of the central nervous system and as recent research has shown to inactivate the limbic system and its involvement in the pain experience.
Our practitioners at Evolve Manual Therapy work utilising a form of dry-needling called Integrated Dry-Needling, as devised by Physiotherapist and Acupuncturist, Andrew Hutton (https://www.dryneedling.com.au/).
Conventional dry-needling is typically performed targeting myofascial trigger points (commonly referred to as ‘knots’ within muscular tissue) which is quite often an unpleasantly painful experience, and limited in its scope of effectiveness.
Integrated Dry-Needling addresses underlying causes of myofascial trigger points by identifying and treating all contributing dysfunctional processes within the neuromusculoskeletal system and their role in pain states, movement disorders, injury and disease.
Dry-needling and acupuncture have considerable benefits in their application and both constitute an efficacious and enduring means of managing a number of medical injuries and conditions. To discuss the appropriateness of these forms of treatment and how they might help you, or just to learn more, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we will be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.