What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling or Acupuncture is done by the insertion of acupuncture needles in what are known as ashi points. Ashi (pronounced Ah-Shee) points are an integral part of the complete system of acupuncture known to well trained qualified Acupuncturists.  Click Here For A Dry Needling Video Demonstration

Needling the ashi points (aka trigger points) is known in Acupuncture as “surrounding the dragon”.  This technique is used to treat localized problem areas and is an effective way to treat localized muscular tension and spasm which commonly accompanies conditions such as arthritis, nerve irritation, muscular strain, ligament strains, and herniated discs.  Physical Therapists and other allied health professionals have recognized the benefit of this form of acupuncture and have renamed it “Dry Needling” because (1) there is no solution injected and the needle is dry, and (2) to circumvent licensing and educational requirements of Acupuncturists.

Dry Needling uses a small, solid filament needle (acupuncture needle) which is inserted in a contracted painful knotted muscle to create a local twitch reflex which is both diagnostic and therapeutic as it is the first step in breaking the pain cycle as research shows will decrease muscle contraction, reduce chemical irritation, improve flexibility and decrease pain.  When a needle is inserted into the muscle it will also produce a controlled lesion and will cut between three to fifteen thousand individual muscle fibers.  The body considers the needle as a foreign invader and will activate the immune system as a response.  The cut muscle fibers also produce an inflammatory reaction that your body will respond to not just locally but all over the body to reduce inflammation systemically. The needle itself and the effects it produces within the tissue is the treatment. “Dry Needling” is not new, it is the practice of acupuncture which has been around for over 2000 years.

This is a great technique to break up painful knots or trigger points in the muscles which can cause localized or even referred pain.  The chart below shows some of the more common trigger points and their pain referral zones.

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