Dry Needling

What is dry needling?

‘Clinical or Western acupuncture’, where sterilised acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin. It differs from an injection which is “wet needling”.

It is used to target and restore muscle function, in conjunction with physiotherapy, exercise prescription etc.

There is evidence to show it can be effective in pain reduction, healing and restoration of tissue function.

Is it the same as acupuncture?

No although similar, ‘Western acupuncture/dry needing’ is based on Western anatomical and neurophysiological principles, as acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese Medicine.

So how does dry needing work?

A growing body scientific research suggests, the tiny needle involves signals in the brain which initiates a cascade of events to repair the tissue. There is the reported ‘twitch’ response, whereby a trigger point will twitch in response to stimulation. Once the twitch is elicited, muscle fibres relax and function improves.

This is an area of debate, and still requires ongoing research.

What should I feel?

A local twitch or contraction may occur. Some patients may feel nauseas or relaxation. For 24-48 hours after you may feel some muscle soreness, after all tissue was damaged by inserting the needle.

Is it safe?

As long as the needle is sterile, yes.

Some clients have suffered pneumothorax; whereby the needle presses the lung. However, this is due to poor technique, and a therapist should weigh up risk/benefit before undertaking such practices.

Why needling in my recovery?

Needling can be used when treating muscle spasms or imbalances. Needling can be started at the beginning of a treatment cycle to break the ‘pain cycle’.

Dry needling can be useful in relieving pain; however it does not address the problem.

Some people have reported increased energy, appetite and sleep, but this may be due to the enhanced sense of wellbeing.


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