What’s the difference between acupuncture and dry needling?
Dry needling and acupuncture both involve the use of acupuncture needles. However, the similarities stop there.
Acupuncture involves the use of several needles in multiple points of the involved area, or more than one area of the body. These needles can target nerves, trigger points and traditional Chinese medicine points. Acupuncture reduces pain by producing a neurophysiological and electrochemical reaction that causes muscle relaxation, chemical and hormonal changes to your nervous system.
Dry needling is a single-needle technique that uses a very thin and flexible needle. It targets a trigger point or “knot” in a specific muscle and once the needle is inserted into the tightened muscle/trigger point, it creates an involuntary twitch of the muscle, which then helps the muscle to relax, loosen and function better. It’s known as dry needling since no solution or medication is injected through the needle. It is common that multiple muscles need to be needled during a single treatment. After your treatment, it is common to have some local aching over the area of treatment, which typically resolves within 24 hours. Unlike acupuncture, dry needling doesn’t require the needles to stay in once a local twitch in the muscle is triggered; therefore the treatment of each muscle is done very quickly.