What is dry Needling?

Dry needling is quickly becoming a very popular modality in medical and physiotherapy clinics nationally, as musculoskeletal complaints are one of the most reported conditions for which people seek professional attention.

Dry needling is a broad term used to differentiate “non-injection”  needling from the practice of “injection needling”. Dry needling utilises a solid, filament needle, as is used in the practice of acupuncture, and relies on the stimulation of specific reactions in the target tissue for its therapeutic effect.

There are several popular, well established schools of dry needling practice and they commonly involve the needling of myofascial trigger points using acupuncture needles to deactivate and help resolve trigger points.

The dry needling approach addresses many of the limitations of established dry needling practice such as limited variety in needle technique used  and the reliance on the presence of trigger points. This is achieved by by differentiating between a variety of needling techniques and applying them to specific changes identified in the tissue by means of skilled palpation and logical, range based physical assessment .

What does dry needling do for me & what is the difference between dry needling, western acupuncture and traditional acupuncture?

Dry Needling incorporates the use of highly skilled and varied traditional and adaptations of traditional needling techniques, the effects of which are explained within an anatomical and neurophysiological paradigm. These techniques are then applied to stimulate changes in movement and tissue physiology based on neurodynamic and orthopaedic screening.


Dry Needling involves needling to altered or dysfunctional tissues in order to improve or restore function. This may include needling of myofascial trigger points, periosteum and other soft tissues.

Western Acupuncture utilises meridian points but applies it to ‘western’ reasoning with particular consideration to relevant neurophysiology and anatomy. It does not utilise any traditional Chinese medicine assessment methods or paradigms. Points are stimulated to create local, spinal segmental or supraspinal pain modulating effects.

Traditional Acupuncture examines changes in the tissues through the prism of the meridians as well as the status of the qi, blood and fluids [fundamental substances]. Acupuncture is then applied to the meridians either utilising specific acupuncture points or non specific areas where tissue changes are evident such as trigger points. The clinical reasoning process includes information derived from theoretical constructs found in Oriental Medicine.

Our Physio’s  at Norwest, Epping and Rozelle are all trained in level 1 and/or 2 of the above dry needling techniques and have been having some great results recently with both acute and chronic shoulder, knee & ankle pain as well as hamstring, calf and adductor strains.

Information taken from  www.dryneedling.com.au, where our physiotherapists have received training.

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