Physio K difference with dry needling

Updated: May 3

Have you heard of dry-needling?



Difference between dry needling and acupuncture

Perhaps you’ve even experienced it for yourself! We have discussed dry-needling on the website before, (catch up here if you missed it!) but given we get asked a lot about the specifics, we wanted to go into a little more detail!




In this post we’ll be discussing the important differences between dry-needling and its arguably better-known cousin; acupuncture. Whilst the needles used for acupuncture are quite similar to the ones used for dry needling, there are distinct differences between the two modalities.

Let’s sum up the 5 biggest differences between the two:


1. Positioning

Acupuncturists position needles in anatomical spots which aim to alter the energy flow or ‘chi’. These spots are the same in every human body and have to be memorised. With dry needling, we will search for a trigger point (points in the muscle that can cause local or referred pain). These are different with everyone and depend on your pain pattern. Dry needling will be tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

We focus on the clinical reasoning and will do needling in muscles that cause your pain, not necessarily in the muscles that are giving you symptoms.


2. Depth

In acupuncture, the needles will only just puncture through the skin, generally quite superficially. With dry needling, we will search for the trigger point. This can either be superficial or deep in the muscle, depending on your individual issue.

We use needles produced by GEMt; a Melbourne-based business which conducts professional training in dry-needling world-wide. The design of the needle itself has been refined and perfected after repeated clinical testing, and these are the best available on the market at present. Our fully qualified physiotherapists have completed certified GEMt training courses, ensuring they have the most up-to-date training and experience. Of course, safety and hygiene are of the utmost importance in any treatment of this nature. To ensure this, our therapists also disinfect their gloves before starting each procedure, and needles are safely disposed of following treatment; NEVER re-used.




3. Duration

Where an acupuncture treatment can take 20 or 30 mins with the needles inserted, whereas with dry needling at Physio K, we use efficient and effective techniques for stimulating the neuromuscular system that takes only about 10 seconds per targeted area. This means we’ll be with you the entire time, rather than leaving you for longer, as is often the case with acupuncture.

4. Reaction

With acupuncture, you normally don’t feel much of what’s happening. In dry needling, we will search for a twitch response, which will feel like a short spasm of the muscle. This is a quick contraction followed by a release of the muscle fibres, which will have a beneficial effect on the tissue and will normalise the tone of the muscle. Some ‘dormant’ muscles can get activated by this process, other ‘overactive’ muscles will relax. The end result will be a better functioning muscle.

5. Results

Contrary to acupuncture, you’ll feel or see immediate results with dry needling. It is very easy to assess and reassess the effectiveness of the treatment. It’s very common to have an immediate increase in range of motion in the joint or a release of tension in the muscle.

We often use dry needling as a treatment modality in combination with other techniques and we do not charge extra for it! Let us know if you’re interested in this very effective method in order to get you moving pain free again!

To book online: click here

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