In 2015 the American Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapists (FOSBPT) released the following definition of dry needling: dry needling is a skilled technique performed by a physical therapist using filiform needles to penetrate the skin and/or underlying tissues to affect change in body structures and functions for the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, movement impairments, and disability. (FOSBPT 2015)
The reason it’s called “dry” needling is because we are not injecting anything! The needle is a hair-width filament, totally different from the type used for vaccines or blood tests.
If you don’t love acupuncture, don’t write off dry needling and if you don’t love dry needling don’t write off acupuncture.
While the tool may be the same, the assessment, purpose, treatment process and intended outcomes all differ between the two techniques as outlined in the following table:
Interested in trying acupuncture? Book an appointment with Dr. Rae Laberge
For physiotherapy assessment and treatment book with Rebecca Margel
About the author: Rebecca Margel is a Registered Physiotherapist who takes a biopsychosocial (physical, mental and environmental) approach to prehab and rehab. She has experience treating a wide variety of neuromusculoskeletal conditions in adults and children, and is passionate about the role that physiotherapy can play in sports performance and injury prevention. Rebecca practices IMS with certification from Kinetacore (Level 1). She treats one patient at a time, does not use electric modalities, and leans heavily into her “exercise is medicine” mantra - because that’s where the scientific evidence lies. Rebecca is intent on helping you achieve your fitness and rehab goals in a safe and timely manner, and on educating you about how and why your body functions the way it does. After all, knowledge is power.