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Dry needling vs acupuncture. What’s the difference?

What is dry needling?

It was developed in the 1940’s by Janet Travell and David Simons. It uses needles to stimulate trigger points or myofascial trigger points, sometimes with substances such as corticosteroids or saline. The term dry needling then eventually involved no injection of substances but still worked on trigger points. Trigger points are areas of pain or sensitivity, may be irritated, knotted, or there may be tightness.

What’s the difference between dry needling and acupuncture?

There isn’t any. In western medicine the terms ‘dry needling’ or ‘myofascial trigger point stimulation’, are techniques that have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. Therefore these terms and techniques are not new, dry needling is a relatively new term to describe something that has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine.

What is the difference between seeing a registered Acupuncturist over someone who does acupuncture?

There is a great difference in the amount of training that is required to do dry needling/acupuncture compared to being a registered acupuncturist. Acupuncturist are required to have over 850 hours training in practical needling experience and acupuncture techniques, however dry needling practitioners need to have a minimal training of 16 hours. This is quite a difference in technical skill and knowledge between the two professions.

Acupuncture/ acupuncturist are they different?

In Australia it is illegal to claim you are an acupuncturist without being registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Agency (AHPRA) and the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA). An acupuncturist must hold a 4 year degree and have over 850 hours of training. However, many professions can do the technique of acupuncture after a short course (as little as 16 hours), therefore there is a big discrepancy between the two.

So how do you know if you are seeing a fully qualified acupuncturist compared to a dry needling practitioner?

Check to see that they are registered as an acupuncturist with AHPRA, this will ensure you are getting someone who is registered and completed a comprehensive course. You can also ask a registered practitioner for their CMBA number, which allows you to know that you are with a highly trained practitioner.

Are practitioners at Sacred Point Acupuncture registered Chinese medicine practitioners?

Yes. Karolina Cass is a Chinese medicine practitioner and has received the best training in Australia through a 4 year Bachelor of Health (Acupuncture) degree.

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