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Dry Needling vs Acupuncture: Things you need to know

You may have heard of a treatment called dry needling and wondered what exactly it is. Is it the same as acupuncture? Is it safe? Why is it called dry needling? Is there a wet one? Who are qualified to do the procedure? Is it this the right treatment for you? Looking at the photo, you might be stumped to differentiate dry needling and acupuncture, that's because both procedures use thin, stainless steel needles which are inserted into the skin and is both known to treat pain.

While the name of the procedure may sound overawing, dry needling is safe, minimally discomforting and is known to alleviate pain.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a treatment performed by skilled, trained physical therapists, some chiropractors, medical doctors certified in the procedure to treat myofascial pain. A thin monofilament needle penetrates the skin and treats underlying muscular trigger points for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement

The technique uses a "dry" needle, one without medication or injection, inserted through the skin into areas of the muscle. The needles may be placed deeply or superficially, for shorter or longer periods of time, depending on what type of pain is being treated and how long it has lasted. Shorter periods of time would mean that needle would stay in the muscle for seconds, while longer periods could mean 10 to 15 minutes.

Dry needling is NOT Acupuncture,which is a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern Western medicine principles.

What are the benefits of dry needling?

Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates which help speed up the patient's return to active rehabilitation.