How is acupuncture different to dry needling?

Dry needling is a technique used by Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths and massage therapists for the treatment of  local musculoskeletal pain through the insertion of needles into myofascial trigger points. Some of these points do correlate with acupuncture points, however their use is very different. Dry needling is great for alleviating musculoskeletal pain, however, it is not effective in treating internal conditions. As many musculoskeletal conditions are caused by internal imbalances, this treatment is seen as a ‘band-aid’ treatment if the source of the problem is not treated. Acupuncture addresses the root cause of disease, as well as the presenting symptoms. The training is also very different for practitioners of these two therapies. Registered acupuncturists in Australia need to have a four year minimum science degree and hundreds of hours of clinical practice before being able to practice. Dry needling courses currently offered in Australia have approximately 12 hours of a practical needling component.

Keep in mind that most adverse events which have been reported in Australia as a result of acupuncture, have been caused by unqualified or unregistered practitioners. To find a registered Acupuncturist near you, go to the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia www.chinesemedicineboard.gov.au.

How does acupuncture work?

From a Chinese medicine point of view, acupuncture moves Qi and Blood around the body to either strengthen or reduce the energy of particular organs that are imbalanced and causing disease or pain. However, this concept is foreign to anyone other than Chinese medicine practitioners, so research is constantly being performed to find a scientific explanation for acupuncture’s effects. So far, research has found that acupuncture has the ability to effect every major system in the body through increased blood flow (and therefore oxygen and nutrient delivery to major organ systems), releases natural painkillers, relaxes muscle, reduces stress and balances hormones through the central nervous system. It’s effects can be local or central and all medication free!