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Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture: What's the Difference?

Dry needling treatmentMost people have heard of acupuncture, which has been used for thousands of years in Chinese culture. Dry needling, available at Effortless Superhuman, is often confused with acupuncture. Though from the outside, these two therapies may look similar. The aim of each can be vastly different.

Comparing and Contrasting Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Acupuncture is based on the idea that the body’s energy flow, or Qi, can be out of balance and requires assistance to regain balance. Thin needles are inserted at specific points along meridians within the body. In doing so, the flow of Qi is redirected and repositioned to how it is intended to be. The goal is to relieve tension, stress, pain, or other unwanted symptoms.

In contrast, dry needling is used by physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and other allied health professionals and follows evidence-based strategies. The skilled practitioner can use their fingers to palpate (feel) the soft tissues of your body and identify points of tension – taut bands of muscle fibers – called trigger points. The needle is then inserted to the depth of the trigger point causing it to ‘let go’ or ‘release’. When this occurs, a twitch response can be felt by both the therapist and the patient.

Studies would suggest that there is a local response (at the location of the muscle being needled), a spinal response (along the nerves innervating the muscle and within the spinal cord), and a supraspinal response (within the brain).

Dry needling has been demonstrated to reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow, enhance recovery times, alleviate pain and other unwanted symptoms, and improve movement around joints, including within the spinal column.

The same thin, hair-like needles are involved in both acupuncture and dry needling, which is why many people don’t know the difference. Some of the same points may be used in acupuncture and dry needling. The reasoning behind where the needle is placed, however, is often quite different.

Releasing Areas of Tightness

At your initial consultation with us, you’ll meet with physiotherapist Stephen Hooper to discuss your concerns. We’ll ask all about your lifestyle, what has occurred that made you seek our help and what you’ve done up to this point to get answers. Once we have determined that you can benefit from dry needling, we’ll let you know what you can expect at each visit.

When you have a dry needling session, needles are inserted in areas of tension, which are known as trigger points or knots. When the needle is inserted, the tissue will react, often twitching. Directly after, the tissue can relax, which will result in an immediate reduction in your pain.

Get Started Today

If you’d like to learn more about whether dry needling is right for you, contact us today! You can fill out our Intake Forms, and one of our Effortless Superhuman coordinators will then book an initial consultation for you.

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