Dry needling, what’s the point?


What is dry-needling?

Dry needling is a technique first used in Europe in the 1970’s.

It uses small needles the same as acupuncture needles to ‘deactivate’ trigger points.

Trigger points are the tight fibrous areas of muscle, which can impact on the muscles performance and often cause pain locally as well as referred pain.

Needles are single use and inserted into the muscle fiber where the trigger point has been located by the therapist. The practitioner may move the needle to find the trigger point and usually a referred pain is felt by the client followed by a local twitch response. This is the way the muscle releases. After 2-3 twitch responses are felt, the needle is taken out. Gentle stretching helps to relieve any residual pain.


What training do your professionals have at the clinic who administer dry needling?

Most of our therapists who use dry needling as an adjunct to their treatment, have an undergraduate degree in health science & myotherapy. Other therapists hold a diploma of remedial massage and have completed a further short course to gain qualification and insurance to use the practice.


What does dry-needling feel like? 

  The client first needs to be comfortable with needles and give consent. They are advised of the following:

  • At first, may feel a sharp pinch
  • Followed by a dull local ache
  • May reproduce the referred pain that they experience.
  • May feel a local twitch of the muscle.
  • May have soreness post treatment for up to 1-2 days.


How is dry needling different to/better than acupuncture?

Acupuncture Dry Needling
Needles stay in longer for up to 30 minutes Needles only stay in for 2-3 minutes or until
May treat systemic issues such as gastrointestinal problems & fertility. Aim is to release muscles.
Eastern medicine aims at treating Chinese meridian lines and energy channels. Western medicine practice.


Why do you couple dry needling with massage?

If a muscle has not been able to be released, because dry needling is INTRA muscular, it is more effective.

Conversely, if a client is hypersensitive, needling may help to de-sensitise the muscular system.


For tight muscles, how often do you recommend dry needling?

If a client has good results with dry needling, they may get dry needling 1-2 times per week.

Once the muscle release and pain decreases, dry needling may only be required once per month or as required.

Often client’s may request dry needling because that is the one thing that helps them.


To treat injuries, how often do you  recommend dry needling?

With injuries, if dry needling is beneficial, it may be used in adjunct to every treatment that the client receives (acute injury 1-2 times per week). This also depends on the client’s availability, post treatment soreness &  whether it is required.


What are the benefits of long-term use? 

  •     Muscular system remains loose and appropriate tonicity.
  •     Joints are able to function in their desired range of movement.


What other treatments/exercises/stretches compliment dry needling?

  • Massage
  • Stretching
  • Joint mobilisaiton
  • Strengthening


What is the cost per session & is it normal to be sore the next day? Does this wear off quickly?

At Health place we offer myotherapy/musculoskeletal therapy treatments and remedial treatments. Higher fees accompany higher trained and more experienced therapists.


Post treatment soreness is normal, although not always present.

May last 1-2 days. Therefore is not indicated prior to any exercise, unless the client has had dry needling prior to activity previously and no soreness followed.