Dry needling is one of many forms of acupuncture therapy. Although many consider both one in the same, Dry Needling wasn’t originally a part of the traditional practice of Chinese acupuncture. It’s considered a modern-day technique that’s specifically used to release trigger points that are causing neuromusculoskeletal pain. These trigger points are tightly stretched bands of skeletal muscle that are located within larger muscle groups.
Acupuncture focuses on imbalances of the entire body and has more to do with prevention and the body’s natural ability to heal itself. What inevitably separates the two is the specific anatomical locations that each target and the purpose behind each needle. All acupuncture techniques use different depths in certain areas of the body while dry needling involves deep insertion.
The Acupuncture Distinction
Aside from relieving pain and tension, Acupuncture can also boost immunity, combat aging, address imbalance and even enhance physical and emotional health. Although dry needling is included in the acupuncture treatment tree, here are some of the medical conditions that acupuncture is most commonly known for treating.
- Acid Reflux
- Menstrual Disorders
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Back and Neck Pain
- Skin Disorders
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Sleeping Disorders
- Chronic Fatigue
- Smoking Cessation
Why Physical Therapists are not Acupuncturists
Technically, physical therapists are medical practitioners of dry needling. They should never claim to be practicing acupuncture unless they’ve completed the proper education, training and certification. Possessing a Dry Needling certification doesn’t mean they specialize in Traditional Chinese Medicine methodology.
A physical therapist’s high degree of kinesthetic perception allows them to use an acupuncture needle as a palpation tool for treatment. Routinely seeing a PT for acupuncture isn’t realistic. There are a multitude of different techniques that would take years for a physical therapist to learn. At the end of the day, they have no use for most of these methods. Dry needling is specifically used as a complimentary form of treatment, or added value to treatment capabilities. Nothing more.
In order to drive the point home, let’s be more specific about what dry needling therapy doesn’t entail. First of all, acupuncture uses ancient meridian systems and energy channels such as Qi (Chi). These systems have specific meridian acupoints that treat a number of different body imbalances. Instead of using medical codes and diagnostic process like most medical providers, acupuncture has it’s own terminology and set of traditional theories. This form of medicine used diagnostic techniques such as pulse and tongue assessments. In a nutshell, an acupuncturist truly works towards balancing the entire body system while Dry Needling strictly pertains to neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
Although the benefits of acupuncture are endless, dry needling specifically relieves symptoms that limit patients from progressing with physical therapy. By releasing myofascial trigger points within muscle tissue, we’re able to increase your range of motion and flexibility while reducing pain and tightness. Dry needling is a great compliment to standard therapeutic methods of rehabilitation and recovery.
If you’re simply looking for full service acupuncture, we recommend visiting a licensed acupuncturist that can provide you with a wide variety of techniques. If you’re interested in scheduling an evaluation at Rise, we’d love to have you.