In the world of alternative medicine, dry needling has gained significant attention as a therapeutic technique that offers relief to patients suffering from various musculoskeletal conditions.
What is dry needling and what are its origins? The answer is a bit tricky. Known as Ashi acupuncture in Traditional Chinese Medicine, dry needling involves the insertion of fine, filament-like needles into specific trigger points, known as “Ashi points,” where pain or tenderness reside. These points typically surround areas of hyperirritability within or near the muscle that cause pain and dysfunction.
History as a Part of Acupuncture
Although Ashi needling has gained popularity in recent years, its roots can be traced back to the ancient practice of acupuncture, which originated in China over 2,500 years ago. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points along the body’s meridians to restore the flow of Qi, or life energy.
Over the years, physical therapists and chiropractors, alike, have reframed dry needling somewhat, suggesting that acupuncture uses Qi and points away from areas of pain, while they target the muscle and/or problem area directly. This is a misrepresentation. While the Westernized branding of dry needling is frequently more aggressive (and painful as a result), the basic practice remains the same.
Points in the body targeted with dry needling, or Ashi acupuncture, include those that are hypersensitive and often associated with pain, discomfort, or restricted movement.
Ashi acupuncture follows the principles of traditional acupuncture, incorporating the concept of meridians and Qi (life energy) flow. During an Ashi acupuncture session, fine needles are inserted directly into these trigger points to release muscle tension, improve blood flow, and restore balance to the body’s energy.
By stimulating Ashi points, this technique aims to address the underlying causes of pain, promote natural healing mechanisms, and enhance overall well-being.
Acupuncture is also all-encompassing. Not only does Ashi needling heal injuries and decrease pain, but with an acupuncturist patients benefit from complete and holistic healing. In other words, you aren’t just a shoulder, but a whole person.
Benefits to Patients
Ashi acupuncture offers a wealth of benefits to patients with varying needs.
- Pain Relief: By targeting trigger points and releasing muscle tension, dry needling techniques can help alleviate pain associated with conditions such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, and fibromyalgia. The insertion of needles stimulates the nervous system and encourages the body to produce endorphins, natural pain-relieving chemicals.
- Improved Range of Motion: Muscular tightness and trigger points can restrict joint mobility and limit range of motion. Dry needling helps relax the muscles, allowing for improved flexibility and increased range of motion. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes and individuals recovering from injuries.
- Faster Recovery: By stimulating blood flow to the affected areas and promoting the release of natural healing agents, dry needling accelerates the recovery process. It can aid in the repair of damaged tissues, reduce inflammation, and enhance tissue regeneration, ultimately leading to faster healing and recovery.
If you’re seeking relief from pain or improved musculoskeletal function, consider scheduling a session with the Resilient Health Acupuncture team. Our skilled practitioners are experienced in Ashi acupuncture and dry needling and can provide personalized treatment plans to address your specific needs. Take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free life by booking an appointment today.