Posts Tagged ‘dry needle’

FAN Arthur Yin (1,2), XU Jun (1,3), and LI Yong-ming (1,3)
©The Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016
1. American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety, Greenwich, Connecticut (06878), U.S.A.; 2. American Traditional Chinese Medicine Association, Vienna, Virginia (22182), U.S.A.;
3. American Acupuncture Association of Greater New York, New York (10016), U.S.A
Correspondence to: Dr. FAN Arthur Yin, Tel: 1-703-499-4428, E-mail: ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US
DOI: 10.1007/s11655-016-2630-y

ABSTRACT In the last twenty years, in the United States and other Western countries, dry needling (DN) became a hot and debatable topic, not only in academic but also in legal fields. This White Paper is to provide the authoritative information of DN versus acupuncture to academic scholars, healthcare professional administrators, lawmakers, and the general public through providing the authoritative evidence and experts’ opinions regarding critical issues of DN versus acupuncture, and then reach consensus. DN is the use of dry needles alone, either solid filiform acupuncture needles or hollow-core hypodermic needles, to insert into the body for the treatment of muscle pain and related myofascial pain syndrome. DN is sometimes also known as intramuscular stimulation, trigger points (TrP) acupuncture, TrP DN, myofascial TrP DN, or biomedical acupuncture. In Western countries, DN is a form of simplififi ed acupuncture using biomedical language in treating myofascial pain, a contemporary development of a portion of Ashi point acupuncture from Chinese acupuncture. It seeks to redefifi ne acupuncture by reframing its theoretical principles in a Western manner. DN-like needling with fifi liform needles have been widely used in Chinese acupuncture practice over the past 2,000 years, and
with hypodermic needles has been used in China in acupuncture practice for at least 72 years. In Eastern countries, such as China, since late of 1800s or earlier, DN is a common name of acupuncture among acupuncturists and the general public, which has a broader scope of indications, not limited to treating the myofascial pain.
KEYWORDS dry needling, acupuncture, biomedical acupuncture, authoritative evidence, experts’ opinions, consensus


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Vote Against SB1457 SA2 – Amendment to allow Physical Therapists to perform non-surgical, medically invasive techniques in Illinois state.


State Senator, 44th District
p. 309.664.4440 f. 309.664.8597

Hi, Bill Brady,


1. Dry needling is another name of acupuncture. I stayed in eastern China for about forty years (in Shanghai, Suzhou and Nanjing City, China before 2001), at that region, people call acupuncture Dry needling all the time (esp. Suzhou).

2. Dry needling described by physical therapists in USA actually belongs to one of techniques in acupuncture practice called Ah-yes (Ah Shi) or trigger-point stimulation, which is almost half of acupuncture practice we do everyday.

3. Dry needling use same needles as acupuncturists.

4. Dry needling uses one of languages for acupuncture mechanism explanation. Although acupuncturists use the Qi language, also use western style languages. The language of terms used in Dry needling actually another school of acupuncture.

5. The origin of Dry needling actually from China, after the culture Revolution (1966-1976), there were many (acupuncture) schools/styles. The term or language used in Dry needling was one of them. Using different language to describe the same thing could not as a new stuff. I mean Dry needling is totally acupuncture, not the new stuff other than acupuncture.

6. So, if from the point for protecting the public safety and being fair to each profession which using acupuncture, I strongly suggest physical therapists who like to use so-called Dry needling to spend same learning time/hours as acupuncturists. I mean at least 1,000 hours.

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Recently some friends told me the physical therapists (PT) in some States have filed legislation to make them legally to use Acupuncture to treat nervous-muscular-skeleton problem, but they claim– “we use ‘dry needle technique’, instead of ‘Acupuncture’ “.

Actually, “dry needle(technique/skill, or therapy,干针)” is another name of acupuncture.  In China, with very long history, many patients and doctors call acupuncture as “dry needle (technique/therapy)”; however, there is another scope in acupuncture, called “aqueous /water needle(technique, therapy)”. aqueous needle technique/therapy is using injecting some medications(included in herbal solutions) into certain points. Dry needle- the main style of acupuncture is more popular than aqueous needle technique around the world.

Acupuncture has two set of theories, traditional or classic theory (traditional Chinese medicine), which using the terms Qi and meridians taught in AOM schools in China and USA, etc.; another set of theory using biomedical explanations (Medical acupuncture, many researches have done), basically using neurological reflex theory and some body fluids changes theory(hormones). The biomedical explanation actually is the interpretation of Qi and meridian theory, let people easy to understand(but absolutely, it may have some mis-interpretations exist).

Using “new” theory or terms to say “dry needle(technique) is not an acupuncture” is not honest manner (it is same as we call the herb Dang Gui, other may call that as Angelica, it is the same thing, just in different term or languages), the aim of physical therapists is enlarging their practice scope and find some reasons, but it would invade the acupuncture practice scope and potentially risk the patients, because PT basically studies and practise the non-invasive therapies, and if PT only uses two weeks or so to learn such invasive method-dry needle technique, maybe harm the patients. As all know, licensed acupuncturist use 2,000 hours to learn that.

The main method of  PT used Dry Needle Technique is using acupuncture needle to stimulate the trigger points which acupuncturists called Ah Shi points or reacting points. Acupuncturists use that everyday, such points are mostly out of 14 meridians, most of them need located by touching/searching (different patients may have a little bit of different in its location, and such points are subject to change/move over the time), and some of them(if the location is relative stable) called extra-meridian points.

Some friends showed me some books and papers written by PT professionals, they claimed triggers points are different from acupuncture acupoints. They compared the trigger points in PT’s book and acupuncture book, and said different.

The mistake of these books or papers, is they only compared the acupoints listed on 14 meridians, and intendedly or unintendedly omitted extra-meridian-points and Ah Shi points in acupuncture books.

Here is an article from Wiki.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_needling

Dry needling is the use of a solid needle for therapy. This contrasts with the use of a hollow hypodermic needle to inject substances such as saline solution to the same point. Such use of a solid needle has been found to be as effective as injection of substances in such cases as relief of pain in muscles and connective tissue. Analgesia produced by needling a pain spot has been called the needle effect.[1] “Dry needling” is in effect acupuncture by another name.[2]

In the treatment of trigger points for persons with myofascial pain syndrome, dry needling is an invasive procedure in which an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle.[3] Proper dry needling of a myofascial trigger point will elicit a local twitch response (LTR), which is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibers in the taut band of muscle contract. The LTR indicates the proper placement of the needle in a trigger point. Research has indicated that dry needling that elicits LTRs improves treatment outcomes. Dry needling is also referred to as “acupuncture.”[4]

No study to date has reported the reliability of trigger point diagnosis and physical diagnosis cannot be recommended as a reliable test for the diagnosis of trigger points.[5]

Dry needling is practiced by physical therapists in many countries, including South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Ireland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand . In the United States, physical therapists in several states including Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Colorado,[6] Georgia, New Mexico, and Kentucky, perform the technique, although it has been and is currently being contested in many states.

A survey of acupuncture and dry needling for the treatment of chronic lower back pain concluded that they may be useful adjuncts to standard therapies. The quality of these studies indicated that higher quality of methodology is required before they can be recommended as a treatment modality.[7]

[edit] References

  1. ^ K. Lewit (February 1979), “The needle effect in the relief of myofascial pain”, Pain 6 (1): 83–90, doi:10.1016/0304-3959(79)90142-8 
  2. ^ “Dry Needling: A Novel Technique”. Acupuncturetoday.com. http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=30317. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  3. ^ “Newsletter 4” (PDF). http://www.bethesdaphysiocare.com/pdf/faq_dryneedling.pdf. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  4. ^ “Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain”. Cochrane.org. http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001351.html. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  5. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19158550
  6. ^ Colorado Physical Therapy LIcensure, Policy 30-2, Director’s Policy on Intramuscular Stimulation, July 20, 2005, http://www.dora.state.co.us/physical-therapy/Policy30-2.pdf
  7. ^ Furlan AD, van Tulder MW, Cherkin DC, et al. (2005), “Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain”, Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (1): CD001351, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001351.pub2, PMID 15674876 

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