Categories: Acupuncture

by bryan


Categories: Acupuncture

by bryan


Needle and hands of physiotherapist doing a dry needling

Stainless steel needles are used with both dry needling and acupuncture. That can make it a little hard to tell the difference between them visually. Both treatments make claims to treat pain successfully and both insert needles into your skin. However, that’s where the similarities end. There are some big differences between these two treatments and knowing that will help you decide which one is best for you. 

The Origins 

The first place to highlight the difference between the two treatments is with their origins. Acupuncture is based on an ancient form of Chinese medicine. The National Library of Medicine reports that acupuncture has been practiced in that country for over 3000 years. The practice spread to America and Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Dry needling has a much more modern history. In fact, its origins date back to the Czech physician Karel Lewit in 1979. Unlike acupuncture which has its roots in Eastern medicine, dry needling was the result of orthopedic tests and the study of pain patterns in the West.

Understanding all that you can about both of these treatments will help you make an informed decision. 


Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles at different strategic points through the skin. Gentle and specific movements activate them or electrostimulation can be used. 

Acupuncture points are used to stimulate the central nervous system. Chemicals are released into the brain, spinal cord, and muscles. This in turn stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities to promote both emotional well-being and physical health. 

This form of therapy is over 2000 years old. In the United States practitioners need to attend a Chinese medicine or accredited acupuncture program that supplies a Masters’s degree.

As well as formal training, many states in America require that you pass certification examinations like the ones in the link.    

Dry Needling 

Dry needling is a technique that’s often used for sports and physical injuries. It specifically focuses on relieving stiffness and muscle pain. That includes fibromyalgia. 

This modern treatment involves the practitioner inserting needles into your skin that don’t inject any kind of fluid. These needles are placed in strategic trigger points in your tissues and muscles. Hard or knotted muscle areas are often targeted. 

Dry needling quite often uses techniques that are called sparrow pecking or pistoning. They both involve the in and out movement of the needle so it doesn’t stay inserted under the skin for a long period. The goal is to hit trigger points and then remove them. 

Another technique involves inserting needles around the pain points rather than directly into them. This is called a non-trigger point technique. 

Sports injury therapists and physical therapists are the two groups that most often perform dry needling. 

The American Medical Association states that only people who have the right training should perform dry needling. That includes both acupuncturists and doctors. 

Presently, there are no official regulations for people like physical therapists or healthcare professionals to practice this technique.

Thumos Health Center specializes in Chinese herbology and acupuncture. The therapies that we use are based on traditions that are thousands of years old. We offer a variety of acupuncture services that include detox, healthy pregnancy, and fertility acupuncture options to name a few. Phone us at (323) 372-5150 today.

Related Posts