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Let's talk Needling...

This weeks question

What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture? 


My Answer:

If you've been reading these emails for awhile, you know there is one common answer to most of the questions that comes up - it depends. And this one is no different. Part of the reason for that is language. The term "dry needling" is used both to describe a specific technique done by acupuncturists, as well as to describe all needling techniques done by physical therapists. 

All dry needling and acupuncture refers to using the same type of needle (an acupuncture needle) to break the skin and treat under the skin. I'm not going to speak much further on acupuncture, as I am not an acupuncturist and have surface level knowledge at best on the specifics of that. 


However, dry needling is a modality I have been practicing for 8 years while living in various states. I am now certified in both integrative dry needling (which can involve placing a needle and leaving it or removing it without manipulating the needle at all) and trigger point dry needling (which involves repeatedly inserting and removing a needle to get a twitch response from the muscle). 


Integrative dry needling tends to be a bit more "comfortable" and more of a "mild technique" though can produce significant results. Trigger point dry needling can be a bit more intense, though produce an immediate relaxation effect of the muscle. 


Dry needling, as practiced by physical therapists, generally focuses on treatment of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems, where acupuncture can be directed towards a variety of systems including reproductive, GI, etc. 


So to summarize, if you have tried acupuncture without good results, it does not mean you should not try dry needling, and vice versa. The practitioner, the technique used, the type of needle and even the environment and your mental state can have a large effect on the treatment success. 

Want to give dry needling a try? Call us today 973-556-8465


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