Dry needling is a broad term used to differentiate “non-injection” needling from the practice of “injection needling” which utilises a hyperdermic syringe and usually involves the injection of an agent such as saline, local anaesthetic or corticosteroid into the tissue or specific anatomical structures .In contrast to this, dry needling utilises a solid, filament needle, as is used in the practice of acupuncture, and relies on the stimulation of specific reactions in the target tissue for its therapeutic effect.
The term dry needling is also used to differentiate the use of needling in a western physiological paradigm from the use of needling in an oriental paradigm which is referred to as acupuncture.
There are several popular, well established schools of dry needling practice such as Chan Gunn’s IMS and Myofascial Trigger Point Release pioneered by Janet Travell, and they commonly involve the needling of myofascial trigger points using acupuncture needles to deactivate and help resolve trigger points. There are many limitations to these approaches however and practitioners using them are unlikely to achieve reliable results with the majority of the clients they see. This is due in part to the limited variety in needle technique used and the reliance on the presence of trigger points. Consequently many practitioners, after an initial burst of enthusiasm post studying dry needling, apply it less and less in the clinic until it it is barely being used by them at all.
The myofascial trigger points emphasised in these other dry needling approaches s, are addressed indirectly and effectively using the unique Integrated Dry Needling quadrant approach. Integrated Dry Needling Courses training courses provide an opportunity for physiotherapists and other manual therapists such as chiropractors,osteopaths, myotherapists and sports physicians to study this unique approach to dry needling developed by Andrew Hutton.
The Integrated Dry Needling approach addresses many of the limitations of established dry needling practice by differentiating between a variety of needling techniques and applying them to specific changes identified in the tissue by means of skilled palpation and logical, range based physical assessment .
The Integrated Dry Needling approach demands a higher skill level of the practitioner than other approaches,however the rewards of investing time in attaining excellent assessment skills and needle technique are many.
In the hands of a skilled practitioner, dry needling can be used in most cases the majority of the time and with less energy expenditure on behalf of the practitioner and equal or better effect than other manual techniques currently being used.If practiced well there is also a remarkable absence of the “post treatment tissue soreness” often experienced by the subject following other manual therapy interventions.