Acupuncture vs Dry Needling: What Are the Differences
Acupuncture Internal Medicine Pain Management

​​Acupuncture vs Dry Needling: What Are the Differences?

Unsure if you should be going for acupuncture or dry needling in Singapore? Here is what you need to know about their differences to help you make an informed decision – keep reading to find out more.

What Is Acupuncture?

First and foremost, acupuncture is a TCM practice with more than 2,000 years of history and aims to restore the flow of energy, also known as Qi, throughout your entire body. Acupuncture is done by qualified TCM physicians. 

What Is Dry Needling?

On the other hand, dry needling has roots in Western medicine and may be complemented by other treatments such as physical therapy. 

What Are the Differences Between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?

  • Different techniques and theories

Different techniques and theories-acupuncture and dry needling

One obvious difference between acupuncture and dry needling is their take on techniques and theories, especially when it comes to where the needles are placed. With the former being an Eastern medicine approach and the latter a Western medicine perspective, the locations where the needles are inserted into the skin vary. 

Similarly, their therapeutic benefits are also different – acupuncture offers pain relief and heals your body from the inside to nurse you back to optimum health, such as tackling long COVID symptoms, while dry needling is used to relieve muscle pain and tightness. 

Learn more: How TCM Can Help to Improve Long COVID Symptoms

  • Needles are inserted into different areas of the body

Acupuncture involves inserting needles into acupoints, encouraging the release of endorphins to remove blockages and ease imbalances for natural pain relief and overall wellness. 

On the contrary, dry needling focuses on inserting needles into trigger points of the body. Trigger points refer to a tight band of muscle fibres that restrict one’s range of motion and cause pain or tenderness. 

  • Acupuncture has psychological benefits while dry needling centres on physical well-being

Acupuncture has psychological benefits while dry needling centres on physical well-being

Apart from promoting overall wellness and alleviating pains and aches, acupuncture also has psychological benefits. Acupuncture helps to enhance emotional regulation and overall mood, and boost feelings of well-being that all have a positive effect on one’s mental health. 

Dry needling centres on helping patients achieve a pain-free body, which also means it focuses more on one’s physical health. However, it is also good to note that because dry needling is able to provide pain relief, stress and anxiety may also reduce in return. 

  • Only trained and certified physicians can perform acupuncture, while dry needling is not regulated

TCM physicians who wish to perform acupuncture have to undergo extensive training and be licensed. However, dry needling can be performed with minimal training and without a license as it is not a regulated procedure in Singapore. 

Hence, it is recommended that you visit a physiotherapy clinic with skilled physical therapists if you would like to give dry needling a try.

Listen to Your Body’s Needs

Listen to Your Body’s Needs-acupuncture and dry needling

Rather than trying so hard to discern whether acupuncture or dry needling is better for you, why not listen to your body’s needs instead? 

Although dry needling is mainly used to relieve muscle pain and tightness and acupuncture is the way to go if you are seeking to manage a certain medical condition, sometimes, a combination of both treatments may be a more holistic approach. 

Here at Thomson Chinese Medicine, a TCM clinic in Singapore, we provide acupuncture for patients who are looking for an all-natural and non-invasive option for pain relief and healing of the body. 

Speak with our physicians to find out more about acupuncture, or if dry needling can complement certain TCM therapies. 

Contact us today!

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