Book An


Patient Education

The Benefits of Both Dry Needling and Acupuncture

Have you been researching natural pain relief techniques, but coming across differing opinions on dry needling and acupuncture?

Many people stand behind dry needling as their treatment choice, while others have noted that acupuncture benefits them even more. However, as you continue during your research, you have probably found that both methods seem very similar. They each utilize tiny needles, which are inserted into the skin at various pain points.

However, what is the difference between dry needling and acupuncture? And what are the benefits of both treatment types?

The answer: while both of these treatments use similar tools, they are different in every other respect. Let’s explain how each of these two treatments work before exploring the pros of each treatment type.

How does dry needling work?

Dry needling is performed by a physical therapist who is trained and certified in the procedure. Essentially, a thin monofilament needle is inserted into the skin at specific trigger points to alleviate muscle pain and restore mobility to the area. 

This treatment method is used to help various musculoskeletal issues, such as shoulder or hip pain. Although it has shown mixed results, many people have found relief and feel comfortable trying it at least once considering the safe and minimally invasive nature of the procedure.

How does acupuncture work?

When acupuncture is performed, tiny needles are inserted into a person’s skin, at differing depths. The acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin along pathways referred to as meridians. It is believed that these meridians carry a person’s vital energy, or chi, through their body. 

The goal is to reduce pain and improve well-being on a holistic level, as the needle insertion is believed to restore the individual’s chi. Those who opt for this method have said that acupuncture benefits them immensely by reducing pain levels and contributing towards a greater sense of wellness.

At Emerald Hills Physio & Sport Clinic, acupuncture is performed by our licenced physiotherapy team. Each of our team members has their acupuncture certification and focuses largely on musculoskeletal acupuncture.

The same, but different

After reading the above explanations, you may have noticed that despite the use of similar tools, there is a significant difference in the approach to pain relief. This disparity stems from the differing origins of each treatment.

Dry needling is rooted in western medicine and focuses on a person’s pain points associated with established pain pathways. This treatment is often performed in conjunction with other physical therapy treatments, as the approach to pain relief in Western medicine is usually a multi-faceted one.

Acupuncture has its origin in eastern medicine, specifically from ancient China around 100 BC. As with most eastern medicine, treatment is defined as not only relief from physical pain, but an easing of emotional and mental distress as well. 

Treatment relief comes in many forms — and for those who are looking for safe and minimally invasive ways of achieving this, both dry needling and acupuncture have proven effective. However, while the actual treatment is essentially the same, it is important to keep in mind the differing philosophies and goals of each of these practices.

Starting treatment

Alleviating pain is at the top of everyone’s mind — and sometimes it takes a different approach besides traditional medicine to make that happen. If you have been considering either dry needling or acupuncture, hopefully you have a clearer understanding of the differences between the two. We hope this information will allow you to make your treatment choice with ease.

Contact us today

Our team of physiotherapists at Emerald Hills & Sports Physio Clinic are ready to help you achieve your treatment goals!

We offer dry needling treatments and acupuncture, along with a host of additional services. Give us a call at 780-415-5500 or visit our website and fill out our contact form to get started.