Comparison between dry needling and acupuncture:


Dry needling (1)

Acupuncture (2)


Musculoskeletal - Western scientific model

Energetic concept within Traditional Chinese Medicine
Indication Myofascial pain Many other indications
Physiological response

Deactivation trigger points - Neuromodulation

Improve range of motion - Muscle pattern activation

Endorphins - Neuromodulation

Believed to adjust and alter the body’s energy flow into healthier patterns

Point selection Palpation guides the process where needles are used Needles are inserted into specific points on the skin
Needling technique

Usually one needle - shorter stimulation

Usually more needles - lengthier stimulation

Clinical application Physical therapy - Manual therapy

Traditional Chinese medicine

1. Dommerholt, J. Dry needling - peripheral and central considerations. Journal Of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 2011;19(4), 223-227.

2. Acupuncture. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. (2008). Retrieved on April 27, 2019.

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