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Acupuncture vs. Dry Needling: What's the Difference?

Evolve Health & Wellness offers acupuncture and dry needling services. A couple of our mostly commonly asked questions about these services include 1) what are they really and 2) how are they different? Dr. Sydney is here to help you try to simplify what each one means and how they can possibly fit into your wellness routine! 

Acupuncture is based off ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine and is a method of natural medicine. By using specific placement of very thin acupuncture needles, we are able to initiate the innate, self-healing mechanisms of the body, which allows us to recover from pain, disease, disturbance in balance and harmony of the body, as well as alleviate general stresses of life. By gathering one’s energy, or in TCM terms ‘chi’; we can help bring the body back into harmony and peace. It is believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine; ‘in the end, if the mind was healthy, the body would be healthy, and the person would be at one with the Universe.’ There are over 2,000 points along different meridians in the body that we use so that they can communicate and work together to bring your body, mind and spirit back to a grounding space. 

  • Think things like stress, menopause, grief, fibromyalgia - whole body/systemic issues

  • This means needles “head to toe” or seemingly “scattered” all throughout the body

Dry needling uses precise placement of acupuncture needles to deactivate myofascial trigger points.  This will not only alleviate pain, but also help restore normal muscle function and increase range of motion.  By using needles, we are able to reach deeper into the muscle and fascia tissues to help alleviate tension and tightness that other modalities may not be able to reach. Trigger points are found in the muscle fibers that are stuck in a contracted state. By inserting needles into those muscle fibers that are in a contracted state, we are sending signals to your brain to began tissue repair in that area. Treatment techniques are based on concepts of modern medicine and are not to be considered acupuncture.  Dry needling may act as one part of your overall rehabilitative treatment.  

  • Think sore muscles, a knot in a muscle, or recovery from an injury in one area of your body

  • This means multiple needles in ONE area of the body - near the area of complaint. 

There are more differences than just the philosophies of the two treatments and what they treat. There are also differences in how long the needles are in, what you may experience after a session and how often it’s recommended to be seen. These are all things we discuss during your first treatment.

For any additional questions or if you want to know more, please email Dr. Sydney at

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