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Is acupuncture the same thing as ‘dry needling’? In short, No.
The increasing use of the term ‘dry needling’ has created some confusion not only in Australia but across the world.
Acupuncture incorporates many different needling techniques and a variety of these may be required to gain the best results. Dry needling, also known as trigger point acupuncture or, more traditionally, as ashi acupuncture, refers to just one of these techniques.
A registered acupuncturist is qualified in many techniques, including trigger point acupuncture, and will adopt the best approach depending on your individual needs. The best approach does not rely on trigger points alone and sometimes trigger points are not necessary at all. If you’re only having ‘dry needling’, you are missing out on most of what a registered acupuncturist has to offer.
What is 'dry needling'?The practice of ‘dry needling’ involves inserting an acupuncture needle into a trigger point and is typically used to treat the pain associated with injuries. A trigger point is a tender spot in a tight band of muscle that causes pain when pressed or squeezed. A dry needling training program often runs for just two or three days – which is just enough time for people to gain a basic understanding of how to ‘needle the point that hurts’ and perhaps deliver short-term symptom relief.
So do acupuncturists offer something more?
Absolutely. There is much more to acupuncture than the insertion of needles into tender points. Often the tender point will return if the underlying cause is not identified and addressed. Quality acupuncture practice involves comprehensive patient assessment, an acupuncture diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan. The most appropriate needling methods and supplementary Chinese Medicine treatment can then be designed to match your needs.
How do I find a qualified, registered acupuncturist?
Always see a registered acupuncturist who is also accredited with the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA). To find a registered acupuncturist in your area, call AACMA on 1300 725 334 or use the free online practitioner search facility.
Disclaimer: This blog is my own opinion, derived from my working experience, knowledge and education in the industry. I have also sourced inspiration, facts and stats from some great studies, websites and other resources.