Acupuncture is the use of fine, flexible needles inserted into specific points of the body in order to stimulate the body’s natural healing. In many western circles the terms acupuncture and dry needling are interchangeable and are talking about the same thing, but their methodology and techniques are actually different.
The term acupuncture comes from ancient Chinese medicine and is most commonly referring to the use of needles to stimulate the energy pathways (meridians) of the body to restore balance (Qi). Dry needling is a western medical term for the use of needles, but they tend to be used to directly stimulate nerve endings in a certain area and are most commonly inserted directly into tight muscles. The term dry needling came about to differentiate between it and wet needling – which would be injection therapy.