Have you ever undergone the passing of special needles by a health practitioner into your body? If so, you outrightly understand this. Acupuncture and dry needling are used to treat certain kinds of pains. And for other health purposes, these techniques have been accepted almost worldwide.

But what exactly do the techniques involve? What is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture? What are the risks involved if I undergo dry needling or acupuncture? Which should I consider best for the sake of my health? Is any of the techniques even considered safe for me? These are some important questions people ask since they care absolutely about their health.

While these techniques have things in common, they have different methods and should not be confused.

Dry Needling

Dry needling is a technique employed by physical therapists which involve the pushing of a very thin needle (one without injection) into the skin for the treatment of pain. Dry needling is also called myofascial trigger point dry needling. In the muscles are certain areas that cause muscle pain and dysfunction. These areas in the muscles are called trigger points. Trigger points cause pain in the muscle, leading to difficulty performing everyday tasks. Research has helped us understand where trigger points are commonly found — in the arm and neck. One proven method to relieve the pain caused by a trigger point is the insertion of a thin needle in the affected area.

Benefits of Dry Needling

Apart from relieving pain, let us consider other benefits of dry needling.

  1. If you have a history of muscle spasm, considering dry needling is one of the best options.
  2. Dry needling helps with spinal dysfunction.
  3. Those with anterior knee pain also benefit greatly when they undergo dry needling.
  4. Because of the tightness of muscles, the blood in the body may find it difficult to flow freely. Dry needling helps in relaxing muscle tightness, thus creating an atmosphere for the free flow of blood.
  5. Dry needling is also highly revered in sports because it helps the individual recover faster from injuries.   

So if you are a member of any of the groups of people who experience the pains above, then the technique is considered safe for you.

Risks involved in Dry Needling
Because of the insertion of the needles, you may experience:

  • Soreness
  •  Bleeding
  • Bruising

And you are at greater risk of contracting blood-borne diseases if the needles used by the practitioner are not sterilized.


Acupuncture is a medical technique developed centuries ago by the Chinese to treat different types of health conditions. This medically proven treatment for pain, stress, and other pathophysiological conditions through the insertion of needles into the affected is widely accepted. In fact, people are trained to practice this, unlike dry needling where there is an absence of trained practitioners.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has several health benefits. When the needles are inserted, they open up a person’s energy flow or chi, thus creating a breathing space to relieve the individual from health conditions such as:

  1. Osteoarthritis
  2. Back pain
  3. Neck pain
  4. Menstrual cramps
  5. Migraines
  6. Knee pain
  7. Labor pain
  8. Nausea
  9. Depression

   Therefore, if you are suffering or experiencing any of the health issues mentioned above, consider booking an appointment with an acupuncturist. 

Risks involved in Acupuncture
Like the former, the risks are critically the same. And, if the needles used are not sterilized, you are at risk of being infected. But because sterilization is now a standard thing, there is minimal risk of being infected.  

Which is considered best, the former or the latter?

Because there are no formal training, licensure, or certifications for dry needling, there are more debates about its legal use than acupuncture. There is little research on the use of dry needling. On the other hand, as earlier mentioned, those involved in acupuncture undergo training and are given license or certification. Also, there are ample studies that attest to the use of acupuncture, ranging from knee pain, labor pain, migraine and headache to neck pain.

Acupuncture, the oldest treatment of pain through the insertion of sterile needles, is a well-regulated procedure than the recently-developed dry needling technique. 

Nevertheless, considering what you want depends on you. But it is best you meet with an expert.

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