dry needling in relation to acupuncture and physiotherapy

Dry Needling: Where it stands in relation to acupuncture and physiotherap

Dry needling remains a sensitive subject today with many physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, myotherapists and massage therapists saying it has nothing to do with acupuncture, while many acupuncturists say that it is a technique that comes from acupuncture.

In Chinese Medicine, trigger points and their treatment with a needle technique (that we now call ‘dry needling’) has been written about since before the time of Christ, meaning more than 2,000 years ago.

Physiotherapists say the technique was created by accident when experimenting with injecting saline solution into muscle spasms. In fact the muscle knots dissolved by just placing the needles in the right location, showing that the solution was unnecessary, hence the term ‘dry needling’.

The same technique is used in both professions except Chinese Medicine discovered it more than 2,000 years ago and incorporated it into its holistic treatment theory and practice. In Chinese Medicine the technique is called ‘Ashi needling’ with ‘Ashi’ meaning points that when pressed cause a painful reaction. When combined in acupuncture treatments with other associated points, such as channel points, Ashi needling can have a stronger more lasting effect, rather than providing immediate relief with the pain only to return later or more pain or injury if the needle is inserted in the wrong area.

References to dry needling in acupuncture appear in the following:

  • Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huangdi neijing) – motor/trigger point contractions; on/off channel points
  • Sun Si Miao (581-682 CE) – Ashi needling into painful points including motor/trigger points.
  • Ling Shu Chapter 13 – Ashi on/off channel points
Posted in acupuncture, Ashi needling, TCM.