Dry Needling vs Acupuncture

Depending on who you ask, you may hear how similar or how different these two service therapies are. However, Dry Needling and Acupuncture have both, similarities and differences.

Similarities Between Dry Needling & Acupuncture

• Both use a thin, filiform needle
• Both may look for a local, twitch response also referred to as a LTR (read more)
• Both can work on a chemoneurological level
• Both are looking to relieve tension
• Both may needle areas close to and away from the site of pain
• Depending on who you ask, Dry Needling may be considered a part of Acupuncture
• Both may produce the same adverse effects

Differences Between Dry Needling & Acupuncture

• Acupuncture is a part of a larger concept known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
• Acupuncture targets balancing energy flows known as Qi which are important for overall health
• Acupuncture emphasizes balancing the body as a whole, at one time by connecting Qi lines to make the ENTIRE body feel balanced; Dry Needling emphasizes balancing an AREA of the body to improve the balance of the ENTIRE body
• Dry Needling will typically insert a needle deeper into the body to elicit a desired response
• Dry Needling does not focus on treating deeper organs by stimulation of a needle into the skin
• Dry Needling has numerous subsets or styles of dry needling
• Dry Needling is constantly becoming more acknowledged and distinct within healthcare and greater legislative bodies

By the look of the lists above, one might think there are more differences between the two than similarities, but the similarities are overwhelming if you compare either Dry Needling or Acupuncture to other soft tissue techniques such as A.R.T. or cupping.

Each approach has its own merits. It is important to understand when one approach may give better results than the other. A simple rule to follow is, if your pain hurts with a certain position or movement then Dry Needling is the way to go. If your body pain may be a referral pattern from deeper organs, then acupuncture may be the way to go.


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