Acupuncture Q&A

What is the difference between traditional acupuncture and ‘dry needling’?

Traditional acupuncture works to a different medical model to Western medicine. This simply means it looks at the body in a very different way. It is a holistic therapy and as such it does not separate the emotional from the physical. In other words it treats physical, mental-emotional, psychological functions, recognising the body as an integrated whole. Traditional Acupuncture for these reasons differs from some other healthcare practitioners that incorporate certain acupuncture techniques within their own modality (such as those treating musculo-skeletal conditions).

Dry needling uses the insertion of acupuncture needles to treat underlying muscular trigger points for the management of pain. It is often used as an adjunct therapy by osteopaths, chiropractors and medical doctors for example.

Dry needling is confined to treating pain, whereas Traditional Acupuncture as a holistic therapy treats the whole body system and not just pain (see above). The scope for treatment in traditional acupuncture therefore is very broad.

What does acupuncture feel like?

On insertion a subtle ache or tingle may be felt around the needle. Deep relaxation during and after treatment is commonly experienced.

Where do the needles go?

These may be placed anywhere on the body but often on the trunk and limbs. Needles are not necessarily used at the problem area or site of pain, if treatment is for a pain condition. In fact often they are placed away from such areas.

Number of treatments required

This will vary depending on what treatment is for; usually an initial course of treatment will be on a weekly basis for 4-6 treatments, which will then be reviewed. It may be that no further treatment is required, it may be that more treatments are needed albeit less frequently. In certain cases monthly or bi-monthly maintenance treatments may be recommended as a preventative measure or where acupuncture is chosen as a healthy lifestyle choice. Whatever the case treatment recommendations and options will be discussed fully and frankly.

What to wear when coming for treatment

Loose and comfortable clothing is recommended.