is dry needling the same as acupuncture?
No, dry needling is not acupuncture. While both dry needling and acupuncture use monofiliment needles to cause positive changes in the body, they are performed by different practitioners who have different training.
Dry needling provided by physical therapists is based on Western medicine principles and research to treat local neuro-muscular conditions. Theory is based on neuro-muscular anatomy, physiology and research based pain models. Therapy dry needle assessments evaluate pain patterns, posture, movement patterns, function, and orthopedic tests. Needle insertion points are determined by signs such as muscle tone, edema, and neuro-anatomy. Therapists reassess the subjective and objective effects after the treatment.
Dry needling treats muscle and nerve tissues, and its goal is to reduce pain, reduce trigger points and restore function. It is rarely a standalone treatment, but rather, is a part of a broader physical therapy plan of care.
By contrast, acupuncture is based in traditional Chinese medicine and is performed by acupuncturists to work on balancing energy, or “qi”, and whole body systems. In traditional acupuncture, medical examinations/ diagnosis are not applicable. Needle insertion is according to Chinese philosophy of non-scientific meridians, and objective changes are not immediately anticipated. Many people experience excellent results with traditional acupuncture for a wide array of physical, systemic, and emotional concerns. The physical therapists at McKinney Physical Therapy are NOT licensed acupuncturists and do NOT practice acupuncture, use acupuncture theory, meridians, diagnostic techniques, or terminology.