Learn the differences between acupuncture and dry needling

The Differences Between Acupuncture and Dry Needling

A common question our physical therapists are asked is “What are the differences between acupuncture and dry needling. While an acupuncture needle is used for both procedures, the differences end there. The following is a comparison of both very beneficial techniques.

Acupuncture is based on the concept of balance and maintaining free flow of electricity throughout the body a.k.a “Qi or Chi.” Thin needles are inserted at specific points, mainly along what is called meridian lines and then left inserted for 15 to 30 minutes. The meridian system is believed to be a highway or path through which the life-energy or “qi” flows. Although not scientifically proven acupuncture has been used successfully for pain relief, fertility, migraines, digestive problems, stress, insomnia, and many other internal organ issues.

Dry Needling focuses on releasing muscular trigger points throughout the body.  When trigger points develop in muscles, they can lead to neuromuscular dysfunction which can result in pain, decreased function (over active or under active muscles), and increased stress on surrounding joints, ligaments and tendons. The needles used are very similar to acupuncture and create a “twitch response” within the muscle when the trigger point is released, and function is restored to the muscle. This involuntary muscle contraction allows the muscle to relax and reset which in turn relieves pain. Dry Needling can also improve blood flow, speed healing time, and rid the muscles of deep knots that other more superficial techniques cannot. While dry needling has not been scientifically proven the Physical Therapy community is currently doing much research to better understand the affects.

The physical therapists at PT360 Sandy Springs and PT360 Johns Creek are certified in dry needling and would love to meet with you to determine if dry needling is right for you.  We offer free consults upon request. Call today at 770-225-8860 or email at [email protected].

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