What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling (legally defined as an acupuncture technique) is a valuable adjunct treatment for acute and chronic pain, for stiffness, and to deactivate myofascial trigger points. It is a manual technique in which a small, sterile, disposable solid filament needle (also known as an acupuncture needle) is used. It involves insertion and repetitive manipulation of the needle in the myofascial trigger point (many of which are acupuncture points or are called “motor points” by this method developed by an acupuncturist, Matt Calison, some 20 years ago) in order to produce a local twitch response (which can be very painful, particularly those not skilled in acupuncture techniques). This twitch response results in local muscle relaxation due to the release of shortened bands of muscle fibers. No medication of any kind is injected.

Licensed acupuncturists can achieve a certification called Sports Medicine Acupucnture Certification which employs this needling technique. This certification, however, is achieved through a vigorous set of requirements: an acupuncture license (requiring 3,500+ hours of training, clinical experience and passing board exams), a series (not just one class) of specialized classes in orthopedics, sports medicine and specialized acupuncture techniques.

While some do not call “dry needling” acupuncture, the procedure utilizes acupuncture needles that are inserted into points on the body. This is the the definition of “acupuncture.” The difference is that those who use acupuncture MUST go through vigorous training to be licensed as acupuncturists. Those who say they do dry needling have scant training in using acupuncture needles and needling the body. What is misunderstood is the dangers of acupuncture when not performed by a licensed acupucturist that go beyond just not damaging organs.

Studies Confirm that Acupuncture is Not Safe in the Hands of Non-licensed Acupuncturists

Acupuncture patients may suffer from unwanted side effects in the hands of non-licensed acupuncturists, according to a comprehensive study conducted by the Institute of Community Medicine in Norway