Acupuncture and dry needling – what is it?

Founded 5,000 years ago in China, acupuncture aims to restore the distribution of Chi or “life energy” throughout the body. Impeding the flow of Chi was believed to result in diseases and illness. Inserting tiny needles into the body’s meridians or “Chi pathways” was said to help improve a person’s overall health.

Although Western medicine believes these energy pathways do not exist, they do correspond with various muscles and nerve points in our bodies. Acupuncture today is being utilised to treat a variety of medical conditions including headaches, gynaecological issues and even depression. Physiotherapists often use acupuncture to treat different musculoskeletal conditions and combine it with common physiotherapy techniques to help treat ailments.

Another form of alternative medicine is dry needling. The needles used are the same as those in acupuncture but the approach is different. Dry needling usually referred to as the Western counterpart of acupuncture.

Compared to acupuncture, which is a traditional Chinese medicine technique, dry needling utilises neurophysiological and anatomical principles of Western medicine. Acupuncture-type needles are inserted into different trigger points to help ease the pain caused by certain injuries. These trigger points are located by squeezing or pressing tender spots in a dense mass of muscles. This technique helps these tight muscles relax and relieve the pain in the injured area. Dry needling is also used to treat myofascial dysfunctions.

Given the similarities of both healing techniques, many people are confused about the principles of acupuncture and dry needling. Acupuncture utilises a variety of needling techniques to heal the cause of pain. Blocked meridians are cleansed of their stagnant Chi to let the energy flow through the meridian. Dry needling, on the other hand, is one of the techniques used in acupuncture. It’s an adjunctive treatment for limitations with muscle flexibility, biomechanical muscle imbalances and even postural dysfunctions. Both alternative healing techniques can help patients with treatment for their illnesses or recovery from muscle injuries.

Physio on Brunswick, a Fortitude Valley based physiotherapy clinic, offers acupuncture and dry needling. Our qualified therapists combine different physiotherapy techniques, along with dry needling and acupuncture to help patients find relief and achieve their health goals. Call (07) 3252 5277 to book an appointment today.

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