As previously mentioned, Acupuncturists must undertake a minimum of 4 years study with thousands of hours’ worth of clinical practice; they are the ‘True Professionals’ when it comes to needling the body. Acupuncture practice incorporates many different needling techniques and a variety of these may be required to gain the best results.
A registered acupuncturist is qualified in many techniques, including trigger point, and will adopt the best approach depending on the patient’s individual needs. The best approach does not rely on trigger points alone and sometimes trigger points are not necessary at all. If you’re only having ‘dry needling’, you are missing out on most of what a registered acupuncturist has to offer. Acupuncture is able to correct physical issues, as well as internal issues of the body, by treating the cause of the problem, and not just the symptoms. In regards to pain, slight relief (like dry needling) is generally felt after the session, with symptoms returning 48-72 hrs later; however after 4-5 sessions the cause of the problem begins to be corrected, and with continual sessions the issue will slowly but surely be fixed for good.
The practice of ‘Dry Needling’ involves inserting a needle into a trigger points, causing a local “twitch” response, allowing the muscles to involuntarily contract or “jump”. This is believed to allow the muscles to relax, yet only addresses part of the symptom and not the cause of the problem. This technique is one of many that Acupuncturists may use, however can be quite painful and unnecessary.
In Australia, in order to obtain a license to ‘dry needle’, a Physio, Chiro, GP, Osteopath, or anyone who wants to, only needs to complete a 20 hour course (unlike an Acupuncturist who studies for a minimum of 4 years with thousands of clinical hours). This is just enough time for people to gain a rudimentary understanding of how to ‘needle the point that hurts’ and perhaps deliver short-term symptom relief. This technique does not last, and symptoms generally arise again due to the cause of the problem not being corrected. Dry Needling also only attempts to treat physical issues, with the same points being used for the same issues, and no individualised treatments being given.