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  • Writer's pictureHouse of Qi

The difference between Acupunture & Dry Needle Therapy

"What is Acupuncture?" This is a question that I am still asked on a regular basis. Many people understand that acupuncture is a form of complementary treatment, but the confusion lies as to what acupuncture really does, and how.

I often see new clients that believe they have previously sought treatment through acupuncture. However, when they have discussed with me what the treatment involved, I soon explain to them that what they had received was not acupuncture, but another form of treatment known as 'Dry Needle Therapy' or 'Dry Needling'.

The simplest way to distinguish between acupuncture and dry needling is to politely ask the treating Practitioner what their qualifications are. If the Practitioner's response is not 'Acupuncturist', then you are not in-fact receiving acupuncture. However, most Practitioners will be very cooperative and will provide you as the client with informed consent, an explanation of the treatment that you are receiving before commencement.

You may ask, "What are the physical differences between acupuncture and dry needling?" Dry needling is used to treat pain, which is only associated with muscular injuries. It involves the insertion of needles into what are known as 'trigger points' in the muscle, which cause pain when manipulated. Dry needling is generally an short-term fix to external pain relief and does not assist in treating the underlying cause or target the source of the problem in the way that acupuncture does. A dry needling course also generally runs for only two days, just enough time to achieve a basic understanding of how to place the needle in the area that is showing pain. This is in comparison to an Acupuncturist, who must study for 4 years until they are qualified to practice acupuncture.

So back to my opening question, "What is Acupuncture?" Acupuncture is a form of complementary medicine that is used for the treatment of many physical and internal conditions. There are several different styles of Acupuncture and although originating in China, it has spread throughout Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Europe, America and Australia, each style changing with differences in theory and technique. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture is the most common form of acupuncture practiced and is also what I practice at House of Qi.

So how does it work? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture works by the insertion of fine, sterile needles into specific acupoints on the body. The needles are then gently stimulated to alter the body's energy flow of 'Qi' into healthier patterns and will hence promote the body's natural healing capabilities at the source, not just the site of the problem. It is believed that as long as the qi is flowing evenly and smoothly throughout the body, pain and illness should not occur.

Please see the following website for what Acupuncture can assist in treating:

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