Tim Chow on Unsplash

Adding dry needling to your therapy practice

First published on HealthTimes – April 9th, 2018


he Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has recognised the application of trigger point dry needling in a profession that is based on extensive training in human anatomy and physiology – with some practitioners specialising in sports, chronic illness and rehabilitation.

In a statement to HealthTimes, Chair of APA acupuncture and dry needling group, Rebecca Fagan said,
“Dry needling uses a western scientific framework to treat muscle tender points, myofascial trigger points, tendons, ligaments and pathways of the nervous system, as well as to reduce neural sensitivity and pain.”

“The evidence base for dry needling in various areas of physiotherapy has increased substantially over the past decade. In particular, research has grown to provide evidence-based support in the treatment of acute and chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, tension type and migraine headaches, pelvic girdle pain, knee osteoarthritis, lateral elbow pain and shoulder conditions.”

Laurence firmly believes that dry needling only works when it targets muscles – and that acupuncture is misleading because it is based on the body’s energy lines. Such an esoteric approach leaves little consent for the patient, who must trust the practitioner’s training in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

However, acupuncture professionals have concerns with the increase in dry needling accreditation, which can be covered in a weekend of theory and practical-based training.

President of the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) Waveney Holland says the 5000-year-old practice of acupuncture should not be compared with dry needling.

A physiotherapy degree and weekend course in dry needling is not the equivalent of a bachelor of acupuncture, she says. While trained physiotherapists do have a knowledge of anatomy, their education is in relation to movement and physical therapy.