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The Difference Between Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Have you ever heard of dry needling? Have you heard of acupuncture? Have you ever wondered if there was a difference between the two?

Well, you’re not alone. I get asked this question regularly, and although there is a long answer, I just want to simplify it for you.

difference between acupuncture and dry needling

The confusion is understandable, as both acupuncture and dry needling use the same, very fine, sterile single-use filament needles, however, Acupuncture originated in China approximately 5000 years ago, and is a fundamental technique practised by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. It's based on the belief that health is determined by a balanced flow of chi, the vital life energy present in all living organisms. Here are the differences between acupuncture and dry needling:

osteopathy consult, difference between acupuncture and dry needling

Dry Needling

Dry needling is an effective and efficient technique for the treatment of muscular pain and myofascial dysfunction. Dry needling can be extremely useful for relaxing overactive muscles, which contain trigger points, which are hyper-irritable spots in a muscle.

In simple terms, the treatment is more direct, going specifically into the painful spots. The approach is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles.

This is a very simple overview, and I LOVE dry needling, and will talk about it for hours! I use dry needling regularly in my practice and have found it to be hugely beneficial in the people I treat.

difference between acupuncture and dry needling


Luckily for me, I work alongside Dr Julia Bartrop, who is a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and acupuncturist!! So this is on good authority! According to acupuncture theory, qi circulates in the body along twelve significant pathways, called meridians, each linked to specific internal organs and organ systems. By inserting acupuncture needles at specific points along the meridians, your acupuncturist can redirect and reposition the flow of energy (qi) and rebalance disharmony within the body.

Acupuncture may be beneficial for the treatment of:

- Stress and stress-related tension

- Fertility and Pregnancy

- Menstrual issues

- Gastrointestinal issues

- Sleep disorders

- Digestive disorders; and many more.

It is important to note that both acupuncture and dry needling can be applied for the relief and treatment of musculoskeletal pain.

I have felt amazing after an acupuncture session with Julia, so depending on what might be going on in your body, you can apply either of these modalities to address your underlying issues.

This blog "The difference between acupuncture and dry needling" was written by Whole Health Osteopath Dr. Jess. Whole Health Osteopathy was established in 2017 and is located at 855 Plenty Road, South Morang, 3752.

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