Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture: Is There a Difference?
Most people are familiar with acupuncture, or at least are familiar with what it looks like or entails. But what about dry needling? Fewer people have heard of this treatment for pain relief despite it’s medically proven benefits. Dry needling is one of many services offered by our chiropractors here at Sonnier Chiropractic Clinic in Baton Rouge. So, maybe you’re wondering: is dry needling the same thing as acupuncture? What’s the difference?
Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese (Eastern) medicine in which a licensed acupuncturist sticks hair-thin solid or hypodermic needles (that are empty) into specific points of the body in an attempt to heal an underlying issue.
Dry needling is based on Western medicine and modern medical knowledge. Trained medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists perform it. Practitioners also use solid or empty hypodermic needles to pinpoint areas of pain and restore function.
Acupuncture is based on the concept that every person has an energy called Qi (“chee”) circulating through our bodies on distinct pathways called meridians which connect all our organ systems. So, when the flow of energy through these meridians becomes blocked or disrupted, the body will show physical symptoms such as pain or sickness. Acupuncture gets your Qi moving and flowing freely again.
Dry needling is focused on relieving myofascial pain, or muscle pain, and targets specific trigger points, or super-sensitive spots underneath the skin, where the muscle bands have bunched up all tight and are causing pain. By inserting needles into these trigger points, that knot of muscle releases.
Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to healing. Thus, it treats a variety of conditions. This includes gastrointestinal issues, infertility and erectile dysfunction, anxiety and depression, allergies, smoking cessation, and weight loss.
Dry needling is much more focused on relief from symptoms, but not necessarily the underlying cause. However, it has a much narrower focus. That is, it works on very specific trigger points in the muscles, particularly in the shoulder, neck, face, hip, and back. These trigger points link dysfunction in muscles, tendons, movement, and posture.
The distinction between acupuncture and dry needling is controversial amongst medical professionals and scholars. Some claim that it is an over-simplified form of acupuncture to rebrand ancient Chinese terms. Others maintain that dry needling is an “updated” and “modernized” type of trigger acupuncture. This is because it uses modern medical terminology and is based on Western medical research. You can think of it as the “most recently released model” of acupuncture that comes with the backing of science.
Despite their fundamental differences in theory and aim, acupuncture and dry needling are very similar. They use the same types of needles, techniques, points of needle insertion, and both work to alleviate your pain.
Learn More About Acupuncture vs. Dry Needling
When it comes to your specific aches and pains, dry needling might be a wonderful solution. To learn more, contact us or come see us at Sonnier Chiropractic Clinic in Baton Rouge. We can point you in the right direction!