Posted on / by Peter Kington / in Acupuncture, dry needling

Dry needling acupuncture – don’t risk it with an amateur

Acupuncturists dedicate their professional lives to skilful mastery of dry needling acupuncture

What is dry needling?

Dry needling acupuncture is a concept to differentiate ‘dry needling’ as it might be used by a non-acupuncture trained practitioner, from ‘dry needling’ as it is practised by a highly trained Brisbane acupuncture practitioner.

The reason this type of acupuncture is called ‘dry needling’ is to differentiate it from ‘wet needling’.

Historically, ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ needling have been terms appropriated by the non-acupuncture health professions, for the purposes of describing needling reactive (painful or taut) points on the musculature.

‘Wet’ needling referred to the practice of injecting anaesthetic into those reactive points, where ‘dry’ needling referred to the practice of stimulating the points with an hypodermic needle (without injecting anaesthetic).

The desired outcomes was to reduce pain and release muscle spasm.

What is acupuncture and is it different from dry needling?

Acupuncture is closely aligned with Chinese acupuncture Brisbane and other east Asian medical traditions.

The acupuncture needle is not a hypodermic needle, although it is speculated that in centuries past, fragments of bone or stone may have been used.

dry needling acupuncture
Acupuncture needles used for dry needling acupuncture

These days, acupuncture needles are expertly crafted devices made from high grade stainless steel.

Dry needlers now, primarily, would use an acupuncture needle (and not an hypodermic needle).

The important thing to understand is this:  ‘dry needling’ is a form of acupuncture.

It is a technique that has been appropriated by physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths , musculoskeletal therapists and even massage therapists as a therapeutic tool.

All acupuncturists learn how to ‘dry needle’, but they also learn how to apply the needles to a variety of signs and symptoms – many of which may relate to non musculoskeletal conditions.

Dry needling physio and dry needling physiotherapy practitioners are not trained in this therapy like a dry needling Brisbane acupuncturist.

Why then should I see a dry needling acupuncture practitioner over any other type of practitioner?

To the average punter, it might not seem like a big deal – the distinction between a person only trained as a dry needler v an acupuncturist.

Another way of thinking of this goes along these lines:  imagine if your prized car was involved in a smash.

Would your insurer let you have your car fixed by the local service station who has some basic panel beating skills or would they insist you go to a registered, well-trained smash repairer?

Without question, they’d choose the smash repairer… and it’s the same for seeing a dry needling acupuncture practitioner v another type of practitioner who does dry needling.

There is good evidence to support this approach too, as this excellent, peer reviewed article demonstrates [note] S Janz, J Adams, Acupuncture by another name:  dry needling in Australia.  Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. 2011;6(2):3-11 [/note].

So what is the difference between a dry needling acupuncture practitioner and a dry needler?

The biggest differences are:

  • TRAINING:  in Australia, acupuncturists are required to undertake a minimum four year degree.  Depending on the program, this can often involve hundreds, if not over a thousand hours of skills development.  Many ‘dry needlers’ only undertake short courses which teach very basic skills and lack the supervised tuition – and skill development – that degree-trained acupuncturists receive.  When you google ‘dry needling training Australia‘ you’ll see no shortage of short courses for a skill that acupuncturists take a minimum four years to learn.
  • SAFETY:  acupuncturists in Australia spend four years at university and countless hours each week, perfecting their acupuncture skills.  Safe practice sits at the cornerstone of quality acupuncture practice.  Wherever there is a medical intervention – like acupuncture – there is always associated risk.  But who would you entrust more with your well-being – a four year trained acupuncturist or a weekend trained dry needler?
  • SKILL:  acupuncturists, because of their comprehensive training, learn fine motor skills to have dry needling be effective but not necessarily painful.  It has been this author’s experience that many prospective clients are reluctant to have acupuncture based on a previous, painful dry needling experience (delivered by a non- acupuncture trained dry needler).  Acupuncturists are skilled acupuncture needle practitioners and they learn a variety of needling techniques to help you get back on track.  They do this because their training is superior to any other dry needling training in Australia.

How can dry needling acupuncture help me with my problem?

The most common application of dry needling acupuncture is for body aches and pain.  There is an excellent summation of the use of dry needling acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain over on my acupuncture pain relief page.

In addition, by seeing a four-year trained acupuncture Brisbane practitioner like Peter Kington acupuncturist you are seeing a practitioner whose experience and skill allows him to use dry needling acupuncture and other therapeutic techniques, where appropriate, like cupping and heat therapy.

Peter Kington, your Brisbane acupuncture practitioner, offers a range of days and appointment times for new and follow-up clients.

 Call now on (07) 3367 1150 or visit our contact page to make an online enquiry about dry needling acupuncture.


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