Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture vs Dry Needling Therapy: Know the Difference

You might have already heard about acupuncture but do you know that there is another practice that is often confused with it especially when you just look at them through images or photos? This practice is called dry needling therapy. Just like acupuncture, dry needling therapy is also done by puncturing the skin with the use of very thin stainless steel filiform needles to alleviate pain and other health conditions. 


Though these two non-surgical treatment approaches seem to be just the same, they are actually very different from each other. If you are planning to try any of these two, it is wise to know and understand the differences between them so you can be able to pick the right treatment method for you. 

Definition and Origin

Acupuncture is a form of complementary medical treatment approach rooted in China. This ancient technique is considered as part of the traditional medicine of China, Japan, and other Eastern countries. It has been used for many centuries already to treat a wide array of illnesses. Acupuncture is classified as oriental medicine. 

Dry needling therapy, on the other end, is a Newark physical therapy technique that is primarily used to ease muscular pain. It is sometimes known as intramuscular stimulation (IMS) or myofascial trigger point dry needling. Though this modern treatment method is a newer practice, its popularity is continuously growing. 


How they are done

Acupuncture is traditionally used to align a person’s chi or energy. An acupuncturist inserts long, thin needles onto the patient’s skin to stimulate nerves under the skin and in the muscles. Some scientists believe that inserting needles in specific parts of the skin can cause the body to release natural painkillers called endorphins. This action can affect the nervous system by changing brain activity and boosting blood flow. 

Acupuncture is used to alleviate pain and manage different health conditions like headache and migraine, liver and gallbladder problems, insomnia, bowel problems, alcoholism and smoking addictions, kidney and bladder problems, toothache, gum problems, and mouth ulcers, muscle problems, nausea, menstrual cramps, and allergies. 

Dry needling therapy is based on the idea of neuroanatomy and follows evidence-based guidelines. It includes the understanding of the physiological effects on the musculoskeletal system. Dry needling therapy is performed by inserting needles into the trigger points (also called knots or tight areas) to stimulate irritable muscles, to release the natural pain-relieving analgesics of the body, to relieve muscle stiffness and pain, to increase range of motion, and to improve flexibility. 

acupuncture therapy

Regulations and practitioners

Acupuncture is well-regulated and is considered as a medical treatment. It is being practiced by an acupuncturist. Before you can become an acupuncture therapist in Newark NJ, you need to undergo extensive training and be licensed first. Through training, you can be able to learn about how to identify symptoms, and diagnose conditions. The training also includes instructions in choosing and using the correct techniques with needles. 

New acupuncturists need to pass the examinations set by the national board of examiners before they can get a license to practice. To maintain their license, the acupuncturists need to take instructional courses and to complete and pass the annual examinations. They also need to be directly supervised by an expert acupuncturist or by a senior member of a national board. In order to become a master or expert acupuncturist, you need to undergo at least three years of training. 

Dry needling therapy is practiced by sports or physical therapist in Newark NJ. Unlike acupuncture, this alternative medicine is not strictly regulated. A dry needling practitioner can perform the therapy without any license and even with just minimal training. 

Due to a lack of guidelines and regulations, there is no way you can confirm if the practitioner has adequate training to carry out dry needling therapy. To make sure that the practitioner is capable of performing dry needling safely and effectively, find the therapist with physical therapy in Newark license.