What are the Differences Between Dry Needling & Acupuncture?
We are often asked the difference between dry needling and acupuncture.
Dry needling and acupuncture are similar practices in many ways but are very different in terms of application.
Both practices use very fine (filament-thin) needles, which are expertly applied to a discrete area of the skin for therapeutic purposes.
The main difference between dry needling and acupuncture, however, is that acupuncture practitioners aim to improve energy flow and meridians and to help treat issues such as infertility, nausea, depression and menopause etc.
Dry needling, on the other hand, is used primarily to treat musculoskeletal complaints, with the practitioner targeting myofascial trigger points.
The term “dry needling” simply refers to the fact that these filament-thin needles contain no fluid.
Our therapists at Origin Health are trained in dry needling techniques to help relieve issues such as:
How Does Dry Needling Work?
Trigger points that are targeted by dry needling can be tight fibres of muscle (muscle “knots”), or tendons, ligaments, or areas close to nerves that may either cause or refer pain in a patient.
Research has demonstrated that the human body may develop areas of tightness or hypersensitivity in response to stress.
Physical stresses can be the result of poor posture or repetitive movement.
Trigger points are activated in response to pain and can stimulate surrounding muscles to tighten. This in turn reduces those muscles’ abilities to function properly.
The aim for dry needling is to stimulate a healing process by targeting these trigger points.
Studies have indicated that the action of the needles can be beneficial in helping relax muscle contractions, improve flexibility, reduce pain, and thereby restoring function and mobility.
The needles can also improve blood flow to the nerves and tissues and initiate an immune system response to help healing.
Is Dry Needling Painful?
At most, dry needling typically causes slight aching or discomfort. It can even be virtually painless.
However, everyone is different, and the level of discomfort also depends on the condition being treated.
If you do feel anything, it’s most likely to be a cramping of the muscle and possibly involuntary twitching where the needle is inserted, but this sensation should quickly disappear.
A typical session lasts for about 20 minutes but the needling may need to be repeated over several appointments.
We often suggest reinforcing the positive effects of needling through icing the area afterwards. This will help alleviate any ongoing discomfort, further stimulate blood flow, reduce inflammation to the area, and support the healing process.
Initial consultation: £60
Follow-up consultation: £50