Dry needling has taken certain aspects of acupuncture and then claimed them as its own so as to differentiate itself as a therapy.
So, What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling involves putting a needle into a taught band of muscle (otherwise known as a trigger point) to release tightness in muscles. These taut bands can be anywhere on the body. Needling into the taut band can release tension, improve joint range of motion and reduce pain perception. It’s a great technique for releasing tension in muscles that massage just can’t eliminate.
So it’s a great therapy. What isn’t so great is that therapists can become dry-needlers in as little as two days. Or one course online claims to produce advanced dry needlers in as little as 5 days. Therapists in this case refer to physio-therapists, massage therapists and GPs. Practitioners who should have a high degree of anatomical knowledge already. In my opinion though, 5 days is just not enough time. I spent days at college just being drilled and examined on my hygiene and safe needling practices alone. For reference I, as well as many other licensed acupuncturists, spent 60 hours observing practicing acupuncturists and then completed 400 hours of supervised clinical practice as part of my acupuncture degree before being let loose unsupervised on the public.
So, Acupuncture Isn’t Dry Needling?
Well technically it can be. Whilst acupuncturists have knowledge of 300 (or close to 1000 if you include non-mainstream acupuncture systems) we aren’t limited to these locations at all. In acupuncture literature there are also what are known as ah-shi points. I press a tender point, you go “aaahhh” – I’ve found the spot. That’s an ah-shi point – a pathological point analogous to a trigger point. A skilled acupuncturist, I would argue, is therefore both an acupuncturist and a dry-needler.
As an Acupuncturist member of the British Acu-puncture Council, I’m also obliged to complete 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development. I choose to spend this time deep diving into a rabbit warren of learning about pain in all its manife-stations – acute, chronic, muscular, joint-based, neuropathic, psychosomatic.
The emerging popularity of acupuncture and dry needling is exciting. Physios, Drs, osteopaths aren’t going to train in dry needling unless it works. And they know it works, as does NICE. Acupuncture is recommended by NICE for migraine, tension head-ache and chronic pain.
When looking for a dry needler/ acupuncturist check they are accredited with a reputable organisation such as British Acupuncture Council or British Medical Acupuncture Society. At the very least check they and their clinic have a licence from Swansea Council to practice acupuncture. This will en-sure they have been visited by the council and their room and practice have been vetted for safety and hygiene practises.
www.goweracupuncture.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org / 07764 254881