Dry needling vs. acupuncture: what is the difference?

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Dry needling and acupuncture look similar due to both practices inserting needles into the skin in an
attempt to treat pain. But don’t be fooled, their similarities are actually few and far between after that.
While acupuncture has been used as an alternative method of medicine, particularly for relieving pain
through a person’s energy for thousands of years, dry needling has only been developed in the last few
decades and focuses on stimulating trigger points and muscles which are irritating a person.
Understanding the key differences between the two treatments can help you decide which is the right one
for you.

What is dry needling?

Growing in popularity, dry needling is a treatment method designed to fix muscular discomfort. Developed
in the 1980’s, this method uses filiform needles, which are fine, short stainless steel needles which don’t
inject a liquid into your body. Our therapists will place them into trigger points which are generally knotted
or hardened muscles. The needles are then left in the trigger points for some time to help release muscle
pain and restore muscle function by creating an elicit response.
If you’re looking for dry needling Chelmsford treatment but for a greater nerve or muscular issue, our
therapists can use the dry needling technique on a broader area and instead insert the needles around the
main area of pain.

What are the benefits of dry needling?

The main benefits of dry needling are relieving muscular pain and stiffness without the use of surgical
procedures or medication. However, the treatment can also help improve range of motion and flexibility.
This method is largely used to treat injuries received from sport or exercise as well as chronic muscle pain.

What is acupuncture?

Used for thousands of years as a method of pain management, acupuncture originates from Asian medical
practices and is licensed in many countries all over the world.
During the acupuncture process, thin needles are inserted into the skin along meridian lines and left in
place for 15-30 minutes. Meridian lines represent the body’s organs and the idea is that doing this will
restore proper energy flow throughout the body.

What are the benefits of acupuncture?

As part of acupuncture, the belief is that illness is developed as a result of blocked energy within the body.
The acupuncture process is then believed to remove those blockages in order to relieve any symptoms.
In particular, acupuncture is often used to treat headaches, nausea, period pain, allergies, digestive issues
and vomiting.

Are there any side effects to dry needling or acupuncture?

Here at Faye Pattison Physiotherapy, we’re dedicated to providing the best dry needling in Chelmsford as
well as the UK, and that’s why we do our utmost best to provide a comfortable and helpful experience.
While severe side effects are rare, mild side effects are common and they include bruising, bleeding or
soreness in the area of needle injection. These side effects will likely go away on their own within a few
Due to the physical nature of the process being very similar, acupuncture has the same list of side effects as
dry needling.

Which treatment should I try?

You may want to chat to your doctor or physiotherapist before deciding on the best treatment for you, but
ultimately if you’re experiencing muscle pain from a chronic disorder or just to injury, dry needling is a good
You might be sceptical about holistic treatments like acupuncture, but should you suffer from chronic
nausea or headaches and haven’t found the best treatment yet, it could be an avenue worth exploring.

To chat to one of our experts about dry needling and how it can help you, call us today.