Dry Needling vs Acupuncture

What is it and what is the difference?


You may have heard the terms ‘Dry Needling’ and ‘Acupuncture’ used interchangeably; and while they both involve inserting very thin needles into specific locations, the theory underpinning each practice is vastly different.

Acupuncture is a type of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and is focused on facilitating the flow of the body’s innate energy. In TCM this energy is called Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’), and it flows through meridians (or pathways) of the body, helping the body to exist in harmony with itself, and the wider world. When these meridians become blocked, it is believed that the Qi stagnates, and may be the cause for many different signs and symptoms for a variety of conditions.

Acupuncture needles are inserted into specific meridians identified by your Acupuncturist, to help return the flow of Qi, and thus help the body return to harmony.


Dry needling is based on a more western concept of illness. Through controlled stimulation of the natural anti-inflammatory processes of the body.

Inserting very thin needles into certain soft tissues (muscle, fascia, tendons, or ligaments) creates a small amount of controlled, localised microtrauma.

Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Dry Needling – (Part One)”


The physical act of microtrauma helps to break up scarring and adhesions, stimulating healing on a structural level of the tissue. Additionally, controlled microtrauma stimulates the body’s chemical healing response through activation of the body’s natural anti-inflammatory cascade.  This stimulates an increase in blood flow in the region, facilitating the release of several naturally produced chemicals with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Both of these processes are thought to help the body accelerate its healing response.


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What else should you know about dry needling? Please read here