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All about Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

What is it? Both Acupuncture and Dry Needling involve the careful insertion of fine needles into carefully chosen points on the human body. These locations maybe be tender trigger points, Chinese meridian points, or locations of interest based on neuromuscular relationships.

For Acupuncture techniques, needles are left in place for 10 - 20 minutes. The needles may be stimulated by gently twisting or by running a pain free electric current between the needles - called electroacupuncture.

With Dry Needling the needles are inserted into trigger points

which will commonly illicit a satisfying twitch or jump response (see video). These needles typically stay in for a few seconds or can be left in place like acupuncture for 10 - 20 minutes with twisting or electric stimulation. In both cases, sterile needles are inserted rapidly through the skin and into the underlying muscle - this causes only mild discomfort. Once finished, the needles are disposed of. To be an osteopath and practice acupuncture (or any needling skill) Darryl had to complete an intensive post graduate certificate in health science from AUT. You can read about the course here. This is a legal and safety regulation set by the Osteopathic Council of NZ. Our clinic is registered with the Nz Blood Service so that our clients can continue to donate blood from 12 hours after treatment. Read more about that here.

TLC osteopaths, Hamilton osteopaths, Acupuncture, Back pain acupuncture
Electroacupuncture for Back Pain

Does it hurt ? Acupuncture can be sore during and after treatment. But there is the option to treat gently using different needle insertion techniques. Dry Needling is almost always sore and will almost always hurts after treatment. In both cases the pain is considered a 'good sore' and generally lasts 12 hours but can take 3 days to fully subside. Most people are not too bothered by the pain as they feel it is productive. Some people feel the need to have a glass of red to help whilst others opt for low doses of Panadol. During treatment we will discuss how your feeling and how your tolerating the sensations. Some days needling seems to hurt a bit more than others, and that's ok, we tailor each session. Book here Further complications, such as infection and lung perforation are very uncommon. We are highly trained to avoid these complications AND to deal with them in the unlikely event that they arise - at the time of writing we have had zero serious adverse events, aside from the odd person feeling faint. A brief tiny spot of bleeding is common. What can it treat?

An overview based on scientific scrutiny can be found here. Acupuncture is a main form of Chinese medicine. From a Chinese medicine point of view, acupuncture has a wide berth of healing abilities and some of these hold true under western scientific scrutiny.

Electroacupuncture for Neck Pain
Electroacupuncture for Neck Pain

At TLC, Acupuncture is used primarily in the treatment of pain. Such as arthritic pain

(particularly knee arthritis), pregnancy pain, sciatica, headaches, back and neck pain. However, people with more medical presentations, such as Parkinson's, also may benefit from acupuncture. All TLC acupuncture treatment is based on the extensive body of quality research available. Dry needling is used primarily in the treatment of myofascial trigger points.

This blog is not the place to enter into a discussion about trigger points - but suffice to say that they are the tight and tender spots you find in muscles that often radiate pain and twitch if you manage to press them right. As such, dry needling is useful in treating conditions associated with tight or under performing muscles, such as hamstring strains, weak or lazy glutes, head aches and shoulder pain to name a few. With acupuncture, I personally enjoy treating painful conditions to do with the knee, shoulder and low back. Headaches and migraines also respond well to needles. In terms of pregnancy, standard acupuncture is great for the typical pain patterns that in the pelvis and low back. There is also a growing body of evidence that supports the safe use of electro acupuncture to help bring on labor - We closely follow this research and safely utilize it when appropriate. If you have any questions please reach out! You can book online here. Written by Darryl TLC osteopaths Hamilton Nz 0800 852 273

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