What is the difference between Acupuncture and Trigger Point Dry Needling?
One of the most common misconceptions about Trigger Point Dry Needling is that it is very similar to Acupuncture. This is untrue. However, having said that, there is a theory out there that might just contradict my very last sentence. Read on to find out.
Let us start with the similarities.
Firstly, they both use very fine, sterile needles that will be inserted into various parts of the body as required. Practitioners of both Dry Needling and Acupuncture have, in the past, used re-usable needles. This in itself is not too much of a problem, assuming they followed the correct protocols and procedures in ensuring the needles are cleaned properly. However, these days, single use, disposable sterile needles are so affordable that most practitioners are leaning more towards these.
Secondly, they… well, that is about that, actually. Everything else about the two modalities are quite different.
Traditional Acupuncture works mainly with the energy flow of the client, the Qi, or Chi, or Ki (all depending if you are saying it in Chinese, Romanized Chinese, or Japanese). It is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine that if the flow of energy in the body is blocked, certain systems start breaking down and giving trouble. This could range from liver issues to poor eyesight and even the common flu. The purpose of Acupuncture then, would be to clear these blockages, allowing the energy to flow, thus restoring proper balance to the body’s systems.
Trigger Point Dry Needling, on the other hand, works primarily with the physiological aspect of a muscle. It is basically working with how a trigger point in a muscle is deactivated, but doing that with a needle instead of sticking a finger or an elbow into the client’s muscle.
The benefits of Trigger Point Dry Needling, as compared to the traditional elbow or finger, are that with an elbow, you usually can only work at one point at a time, possibly two. However with Trigger Point Dry Needling, you can insert multiple needles into a client, and leave them there to do their thing.
Also, with a needle, you can work on muscles that might be hard to reach with a finger or elbow. One example is the subscapular muscle. Jab a client near the armpit with a finger, and they can quite sore because so much is happening in that region. With a needle however, soreness is kept to a minimal and mainly only to the subscapular, which is the main target. Need to hold pressure on a small multifidi in a muscular back? No problem. With a needle, you can go through layers of muscle to get to the finer ones, all without having to wait for the top layers to soften enough.
Now, the theory I mentioned in my opening paragraph.
It has been shown that if you map Acupuncture points with Trigger Points, 80% of them actually coincide. Have we been calling the same thing by two different names?