Why Choose An Acupuncturist Over Dry Needling & What Is The Difference?
Dry needling is based on trigger point theory developed by Janet Graeme Travell, M.D. (President John F. Kennedy's personal physician). Trigger points were identified as tender spots within muscle tissue which cause dysfunction and referred pain. Needling these points produce a twitch response that triggers the muscle and fascia to relax, in turn, reducing pain, improving range of motion and increasing strength of the affected muscle.
In traditional acupuncture theory, trigger points are known as "ashi" points. The term ashi translates to “oh yes“, referring to the involuntary vocalisation when the point is pressed or the twitch response is elicited. In acupuncture practice, these points are just one of many that an acupuncturist are trained to use in treatment. Traditionally, the affected area was rarely needled directly, instead, specific points in other areas of the body were used to tigger a healing response - helping to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve movement and strength, all without risking aggravating an already irritated area. Points can also be included to help other symptoms such as digestion, sleep, stress, and more.
Level of education and amount of training is a big difference between registered acupuncturists and those who do dry needling. To become an acupuncturist requires a minimum of a 4 year bachelors degree with hundreds of hours of hands on training, compared with dry needling courses that can be done over a weekend.
While dry needling can be an effective form of treatment when done for the right conditions and done with the appropriate skill, a registered acupuncturist will be able to determine when these techniques are suitable and when other treatment methods may be better for you and your injury. A good acupuncturist will treat you as a whole person, not only treating your injury, but also helping improve your overall healing and recovery so that there's less chance of future injuries and pain.