Acupuncture and Dry needling

Last Updated on March 15, 2024

An old quote says that you should be courageous enough to heal yourself – even if the cure hurts.

What does that mean? Well, the answer is subjective. It could mean that the cure for what ails you could be painful. 

Or it could mean that you should reassess your mindset about healing and what medical techniques are required to heal.

Human beings don’t like change. Change is hard, and most people don’t like to admit they are wrong.

It is convenient and easy to take an injection, swallow a pill, or undergo a traditional medical treatment to cure whatever may ail you.

But not enough patients are open-minded about the benefits of holistic medicine

Holistic Treatments

Holistic medicine is a medical technique that treats the human body as a whole, not just the symptoms. 

Holistic medicine involves using ancient or non-traditional medical techniques to help the body heal itself instead of focusing on diagnosing a symptom that may be a part of the issue but not the whole.

Doctors who practice holistic medicine consider the spiritual, psychological, ethical, and societal metrics of a patient and their biological needs. Holistic practitioners believe that the answer to healing the body is inside the body.

However, it may hurt people’s egos and belief systems used to traditional Western medicine to believe such a medical ideal.

How many times have you heard about acupuncture or dry needling without considering giving it a try? And how many times have you tried a new medication because you saw it on a TV advertisement? 

Unfortunately, many people will not consider non-traditional medicine until there are usually no other options left.

Over 20% of Americans grapple with chronic pain issues. Chronic pain is pain that can’t be alleviated or requires significant medication to do so. Chronic pain can last for weeks, months, years, or a lifetime. 

Over 7% of people who suffer from chronic pain suffer life-altering symptoms because of it.

Instead of being the last resort, you should consider holistic medical practices like dry needling or acupuncture as a traditional alternative.

But which is better? Here is your ultimate dry needling vs. acupuncture guide. Let’s start by explaining the specifics of each. 

Then we will differentiate both holistic techniques.

Contact Inner Gate today to schedule an appointment for the best and most professional holistic medical practices in Portland, Oregon.

Related: 4 Reasons Your Neck is Sore All of the Time

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a modern variation of acupuncture that is primarily used to ease chronic, severe, and life-altering muscle pain, especially when traditional medical techniques and medicines don’t work.

Even though dry needling is a relatively new technique, its popularity as a holistic technique is expanding.

Dry needling is sometimes called intramuscular stimulation as well.

Dry needling practitioners strategically insert sterile filiform needles into the skin and specific parts of the afflicted muscles.

Filiform needles are sterile, stainless needles. No fluid is injected during the procedure, which is why they are called “dry” needles.

A dry needling practitioner studies a patient’s diagnosis and medical history before the procedure begins. Filiform needles are never injected into the body or muscles randomly.

The sterile filiform needles are injected into strategic areas of muscles suffering from knotting, tearing, hardening, fluid buildup, uncontrollable spasms, and severe pain. These areas are also known as “trigger points.”

The holistic concept is that injecting filiform needles into strategic muscle trigger points will help the body to naturally and incrementally relieve the pain. 

Additionally, the muscle pain could be caused by misfiring nerve fibers and abnormal muscular tissue that the treatment could rectify.

The number of dry needling treatments required for a patient depends on the severity of their medical need.

Since dry needling is a relatively new form of holistic medical treatment, its effectiveness is still being actively studied.

Scientific research has shown that regular dry needling treatments could effectively decrease severe muscle pain over 12 weeks and up to a year.

Related: Inner Gate Youtube Videos

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture has long been portrayed in popular culture, TV, and films. Everyone knows what acupuncture is, even if they don’t truly appreciate its holistic qualities. 

Acupuncture is a 3,000-year-old holistic medical practice that originated long ago in ancient China. Researchers only believe it is 3,000 years old – this treatment practice may be older than that.

Acupuncture was once believed to be a fringe and unorthodox medical treatment and a treatment of last resort. 

But acupuncture is now regarded as a legitimate form of pain relief. 

Most forms of medical insurance even cover acupuncture.

Acupuncture is a holistic medical practice predicated on the belief that the natural energies of the universe flow through and in unison with the human body. The opposing forces of the universe’s energy and the human body are known as “yin” and “yang.”

The concept of this universal energy is called “Qi” or “chi” in the Western vernacular.

The chi, or vital life energy, in your body should always flow unobstructed for you to feel healthy. If your vital chi energy is disrupted or blocked, or dampened, then pain and illness can result.

After assessing your medical history and records, an acupuncturist uses tiny fine needles to puncture the skin is various acupuncture points or acupoints. An acupuncture needle only goes down about a fourth to half of an inch into the skin.

And the needles are not placed randomly. Based on your medical issues, the needles will be placed on strategic acupoints designed to increase the flow of chi and enhance healing.

Acupuncture has been scientifically validated to alleviate pain for various medical problems, including: 

  • Headaches
  • Tooth pain
  • Cancer-related treatments
  • Morning sickness
  • Sciatica
  • Hypertension
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis

Dry Needling vs. Acupuncture

So, which is better, dry needling or acupuncture? 

It is not a question of better – one holistic medical treatment may be more appropriate for your medical needs than the other.

Sterile needles are used in both methods. However, if you have chronic and severe muscle pain, you may want to try dry needling, although you can also try acupuncture.

And acupuncture can be prescribed for a host of medical treatments.

Contact Inner Gate today if you need help finding a holistic medical treatment for your medical problems. Inner Gate offers the best holistic services in Portland, Oregon.

Related: Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy? Find Out!

If you are looking for dry needling, we are here for you.

Acupuncturists are the experts of dry needling. We receive over 2000 hours of training in the safe and effective use of needles. We are trained to identify and treat trigger points, motor points, and acupuncture points.  We study both western anatomy and Chinese medical philosophy.  As physical therapists, we are trained in anatomy, biometrics of injuries, and muscle imbalances.

The difference lies in the amount of training we receive. Acupuncturists receive extensive training in the safe use of needles while, physical therapists are also highly trained clinicians, but receive minimal training for dry needling. Rather than being part of their core education, it is taught to them at weekend workshops.

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