Albeit, a lot of people consider acupuncture and dry needling indistinguishable but there is a vast difference between dry needling and acupuncture. Dry needling is used to treat cases of chronic and acute pain without the use of medication and surgical procedures. Whereas Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body. It is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
Both acupuncture and dry needling therapies use needles and the similarities end here, According to acupuncture theory, chi, (the vital life energy) circulates in the body along meridian (twelve major pathways) linked with specific internal organs and organ systems. Blockages and imbalances result in the hindrance of the circulation of this flow of energy and by inserting needles at specific points along the meridians; acupuncturist redirects the flow of energy (chi) for the purpose of relieving stress, and pain. The unimpeded flow of energy along these meridians contributes to a healthy body.
Dry needling therapy vs. Acupuncture
While understating the difference between dry needling and acupuncture, one should know that during acupuncture, the needles are inserted in body, and left intact for near about 25-30 minutes. It can be used to treat nearly all sources of muscle and joint pain and is most often used to treat internal ailments, including digestive problems, insomnia, stress and chronic pain.
It should be kept in mind that acupuncture is done appropriately by trained practitioner using sterile needle technique in order to lessen the chances of adverse effects. Accidents and infections are associated with infractions of sterile technique or negligence of the practitioner.
The harmful side effects may include various issues such as changes in body weight, alterations in levels of enzymes, loss of functions and morbidity.
Dry needle treatment is based on modern Western medicine, during which needles are inserted into trigger points, that is, tender bands of muscle located within larger muscles. It is an effective and efficient technique that is used to treat myofascial dysfunction. Also known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS),it is extremely effective for relaxing overactive muscles, including trigger points. It is aimed at myofascial trigger points also called hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle, associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a trigger point.
Dry needling is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiologic principles and should not be confused with the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) technique of acupuncture. This is primary difference between dry needling and acupuncture. This treatment involves insertion of needles into the trigger points of muscles without injecting any medicinal substance into the body.
While comparing both techniques dry needling vs. acupuncture, latter is well studied, and therapists are regulated in training and practice. If you prefer a well-established alternative treatment then, acupuncture may be more beneficial for you. Whereas, dry needling is newly invented technique, so research remains limited. Though, large-scale studies are lacking.
First thing that you must take care before confirming your appointment under either of the therapy is that the practitioner or the therapists holds an authentic license.