Dry needling

Female patient having acupuncture dry needling treatment
Getty Images under licence to PhysioQinetics Ltd.


What is dry needling?

Dry needling is a treatment technique whereby a sterile, single-use, fine filament needle is inserted into the muscle to assist with pain relief and improve function through the release of myofascial trigger points (knots in the muscle).

Despite the obvious similarities, there is important difference from acupuncture. The main difference came from the theoretical mechanism of how it works and the practical application of the needles. In acupuncture, needling at specific key points (medidians) are used to restore the flow of energy (Qi) through which certain medical conditions are treated. In comparison, dry needling is primarily focused on myofascial trigger points release in muscle to relieve pain and restore muscle function.


How does dry needling work?

When a fine filament needle is inserted into the centre of a myofascial trigger point, blood pools around the needle triggering the contracted muscle fibres to relax by promoting enhancement of blood flow, hence oxygen delivery and waste removal. This is hypothesize to then break the feedback loop, and promote further relaxation of the surrounding muscle fibres, which in turn, leads to decompression of the local blood and nerve supply.



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