Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

Many people hear the terms acupuncture and dry needling used interchangeably. But the truth is, dry needling and acupuncture are two different techniques. While they both work by inserting microneedles into the skin, the biggest differences between dry needling vs. acupuncture are the underlying theories and the overall focus of the treatments. Dry needling is achieved from the principals of Western medicine, whereas acupuncture originates from Eastern spiritual tradition and is performed through the paradigm of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Understanding Acupuncture

Acupuncture originated in China during the Shang Dynasty between 1600-1100 B.C. and has only gained popularity in the Western hemisphere since 1971. It is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and like other TCM practices, acupuncture has its roots in Daoism and Yin/Yang Theory. It is primarily these underlying spiritual precepts that act as the framework for acupuncture treatments.

More specifically, Traditional Chinese Medicine operates under the belief that vital energy (called “QI”) flows through the body and is responsible for performing multiple functions that maintain health. In comparison to dry needling, acupuncture focuses on the treatment of medical conditions by restoring the flow of this energy (Qi) through critical points along the body to restore balance.

Acupuncture began with the discovery that stimulating specific areas of the skin affected the physiological function of the body. Today, acupuncture is a highly regulated practice, and it has evolved into a full-blown system of healing that has gained some scientific support for its efficacy.

Understanding Dry Needling

Contrary to acupuncture, dry needling is primarily focused on targeting myofascial trigger points in the muscle that are believed to be the underlying cause of pain and function impediment. Although dry needling is a newer practice, it is considered to be a more scientifically research-based approach than acupuncture. It was developed by practitioners from studying the relationship between myofascial trigger points and neuromuscular dysfunction.

Dry needling does not operate on spiritual beliefs, but rather on medical study findings that inserting a needle directly into a knot or pressure point releases tension in the surrounding muscle. Practitioners have found that the blood that pools around a dry needle at the point of insertion provides the surrounding muscle fibers with fresh oxygen and nutrients, which causes the muscle to relax. Acidic chemicals and toxins are also flushed away from the affected muscle tissue, resulting in a decrease in pain for the patient.

Which Should I Choose?

Both dry needling and acupuncture are popular treatment options. When considering dry needling vs. acupuncture, it’s critical to consider your motivation for seeking treatment. Since acupuncture is a spiritually-based practice, if your beliefs align with its underlying spiritual foundation, you may be more likely to pursue acupuncture. However, if you are primarily seeking targeted natural pain relief to address concerns such as arthritis, injuries, or chronic pain conditions, then dry needling may be best for you.

Dry Needling in Jacksonville, FL

At Dry Needle Pain Relief, we specialize in expert dry needling. Our goal is to bring pain relief and injury recovery to the Jacksonville area through experienced doctors and proven techniques. The dry needle services we provide can be utilized by individuals from all walks of life who are interested in beginning a journey to pain-free living. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more about our dry needling services!