The Difference between Myofascial Dry Needling & Acupunture

When suggesting Myofascial Dry Needling (MDN) to a patient, we often hear, “Oh is this the same as acupuncture?”. In fact, Acupuncture and MDN are similar, yet completely different!

Acupuncture derives from the ancient Chinese, and is thought to have been originated more than 5,300 years ago. Acupuncture is used to treat many different medical conditions, including, respiratory and nervous conditions, allergies and gastrointestinal disorders. When having an acupuncture treatment, the needles are inserted subtly and gently in specific acupuncture points of the body, mostly found along meridian lines. These lines are a specific representation of different organs. This type of treatment is generally relaxing, with the needles being retained for 15-30 minutes.

Myofascial Dry Needling, on the other hand, first originated in the 1930s from the work of Dr John Kellgren (Rheumatologist) who found that injecting a saline substance into muscles could produce a distinct pain referral pattern. The pressure associated with the injection, was found to relieve pain associated with that particular muscle and referral pattern. Later in that decade, Dr Janet Travell (Cardiologist) became extremely interested in Dr Kellgren’s work. Dr Travell questioned the use of saline, and instead found that the injection alone, without any additional substance, was enough to relieve the pain within the muscle, hence the term ‘dry needling’.

Myofascial Dry Needling is specifically used to relieve pain arising from muscle tissues and even myofascial tissue. When using this technique, needles are placed into trigger points, and/or taut bands of muscle tissue, for as quickly as 30 seconds or sometimes as long as ten minutes, depending on how quickly the muscles react. The aim of MDN is to release trigger points and access twitch responses, which decrease local muscle tone and decrease pain the muscle. It is a highly effective and usually painless technique.

See the table below for a comparison of the two techniques.

What our clients are saying about us

Bree BrittBree Britt
05:41 22 May 24
Mehar was fabulous! Not only was she warm, welcoming and funny, but professional and thorough.From the moment I walked in I felt well supported. She was able to identify what was going on, factoring in older ailments, and provide me with a treatment plan and options.Her focus was on sustainable changes and support moving forward, and I had a written plan and clear explanations and clarifications on everything. I never felt like she was encouraging me to need to come back unnecessarily.It took a few visits, and each time was met with the same warmth and professionalism. I got consistent progress and feel so much better now, even though it's a few months on from when I last saw her.It's very clear she is wonderful at what she does, thinks about the whole person and I would definitely recommend her to others considering needing podiatry support.
Rose StewartRose Stewart
02:32 14 May 24
The whole client therapist experience has been amazing. My Myotherapist provided me with a detailed plan to ensure my progress to meet my goals as well as addressing my issues of pain.Each follow up session is reviewed, discussed and any changes added/deleted or modified.The timely reminders and follow up from the clinic and experience with the Client Experience Officers have been always polite and friendly.
Patrick MonahanPatrick Monahan
00:37 13 May 24
Mehar Sandhu has been an absolute delight. She is very professional in her treatment and most personable and friendly to deal with.
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03:13 10 May 24
Ezyk ArtistEzyk Artist
00:07 19 Apr 24
I've been coming here exclusively since my first consultation. I've had constant shoulder and arm pain from my line of work; the exercises my physio, Carina provided are easy to remember, not time consuming and super effective!Bonus: the space feels super clean and calming - highly recommend coming here
Natasha KhongNatasha Khong
23:58 22 Mar 24
I had a great experience here. The gym was well equipped and the atmosphere of the clinic was amazing. I had Carina, who was very knowledgeable about my injury and helped construct a great solution plan! Her manner was beautiful and she had great energy. Definitely recommend!
Annabel ChandlerAnnabel Chandler
20:28 14 Mar 24
I’ve been seeing Talia for a few weeks now for treatment on my shoulder bursitis. From day 1 she was great! She explained everything about my condition to me and what she wanted to do which helped me visualise my own recovery. Could not recommend her enough.
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