Dry Needling or Traditional Chinese Acupuncture? What’s the difference?

In Blog by PixelWhip

I am often asked what the difference is between ‘dry needing’ and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture.  Well here is a brief history of what’s what and the benefits of acupuncture.

It is believed that acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and has been dated back as far as the Stone and Iron ages (407 – 310 BC).  In the 1950’s Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture began to be integrated with Western Medicine and over the past 35 years there has been significant growth in scientific advances in acupuncture research throughout the world.

Classical Acupuncture was developed in China as a system of diagnosing pain and disease.  Acupuncture is one form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which aims to balance and restore energy (Qi) and blood in the body in order to keep it functional and healthy and recover from injury and illness.   Anatomical acupuncture refers to a more modern approach to classical acupuncture, which specifically considers the anatomy and function of the human body and response to disease and injury.

Anatomical acupuncture uses acupoints along the 14 paired ‘meridians’ or energy channels joining points on the body.  Virtually all acupuncture points correspond to known neural structures.

Acupoints can be grouped into 10 groups relating to anatomical structures deep to the skin.  Of these groups includes ‘ashi’ or tender points which often correlate with myofascial trigger points.  Needling these tender points is often referred to as dry needling and can give dramatic relief to patients with myofascial pain.  Dry needling is very specific at treating a particular muscle or muscle group and shows instant benefit.  Often fewer needles are used and the length of treatment is much shorter.  Anatomical acupuncture on the other hand, can involve a longer treatment and include a more systemic approach to treating an injury or illness.  At the same time it can also be very specific to a particular area of the body and often includes ashi points as well.  Both forms of acupuncture are very beneficial in their effects.

Physiotherapists primarily deal with musculo-skeletal disorders and use acupuncture as a treatment to;

  • Reduce pain by stimulating the body to produce its own natural pain relieving chemicals called ‘endorphins’.
  • Reduce inflammation and restore normal function
  • Normalise the autonomic nervous system, which helps to maintain homeostasis in our body.
  • Promote regeneration and healing.

Anatomical Acupuncture is a very safe treatment for acute or chronic pain conditions.  There is almost completely no adverse effects or complications when practiced safely and by a trained therapist.  Most patients find the treatments to be very relaxing and cause minimal discomfort.

If you are interested in finding out more information or would like to book an acupuncture treatment please contact the clinic on 9361 5123.