In physiotherapy lingo, dry needling is an approach to wellness where acupuncture needles are pushed into the skin and muscles. It is also referred to as western/clinical acupuncture.

People in sports fields are particularly susceptible to muscle strains and tears, which is why it becomes necessary to target specific muscles with treatment to heal, restore energy or accelerate the recovery process. Dry needling is great at fine tuning muscles and keeping athletes at the top of their game.

Dry needling may seem similar to acupuncture, but the reality is that it’s far from the same thing. Acupuncture operates on traditional Chinese medicine principles of energy axes and meridians, while the former strictly bases its operations on modern understanding of the human body from a medical perspective.

How does it work, and to what effect?

When the needle is inserted into your body, it triggers off a chain reaction that hangs on transmitting signals to the brain that a specific part of the body is hurt and needs repair. A complex process that relies on the work of neurotransmitters works to make sure that tears are fixed and that muscle tension is handled. When muscles are hit by the needles, they tend to twitch a little, and this has a relaxing effect on the muscle itself as well as the surrounding tissue. The net effect is a reduction in pain and muscle stiffness. It would however be important to stress that the whole process is highly complex and that there are various aspects of how tissues communicate with the brain during dry needling that are not clear at this point.

Yes, dry needling works

This is a subject under intensive research and evidence shows that it works. There is scientific evidence that points to the fact that a needle inserted within tissues can facilitate electrical and chemical communication processes within the body. Some of the effects include the release in large quantities of chemical compounds that serve to raise our threshold for pain. Dry needling also works by inhibiting the build up of sensation that leads to pain. In practice sportsmen and women frequently turn to dry needling to help them reach their goals.