Acupuncture | Acupuncturist | Dry Needling | What is the Difference? 

Is Dry Needling Acupuncture? 

Technically YES, as anytime a someone inserts an acupuncture needle into the body, they are performing acupuncture. HOWEVER, Dry Needling is just a subtype of acupuncture, one of many that a Registered Acupuncturist will learn at University. 

So what is the difference between someone who can do Dry Needling and a Registered Acupuncturist?

To become a Registered Acupuncturist with the Australian Health Practitioner Agency (AHPRA), Acupuncturists must complete a minimum 4 year University Bachelors Degree, with approximately 3,200 formal hours of education as well as a t least 800 hours of supervised clinical practice. It is illegal for anyone else to call themselves an Acupuncturist or imply the they are an Acupuncturist. The purpose of this law is to protect the public from cowboy practitioners and negligence, poor needle handling, sanitation, liability insurance and to ensure the continued education of practitioners. 

As part of the 4-year Bachelor Degree, Acupuncturists will undergo thorough training in Western Medical Science including Anatomy & Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology 1,2 & 3, Biology, Psychology, Counselling and more, as well as Chinese Medical Theory, Acupuncture Point Location, Clean Needle Techniques, Acupuncture Needling Techniques, Contraindications, and Specialist training in Gynaecology and Pregnancy Support, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Paediatrics, Musculoskeletal Acupuncture and Sports Injury, ENT, Internal Medicine and much more. 

In contrast to this, Dry Needling is unregulated and unregistered. This means that anyone can technically perform it without having to undergo any of the training of an Acupuncturist. Dry Needling courses that are offered to Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Medical Doctors and even Massage Therapists, consist on average of only 16 hours of training (a weekend course).

There is nothing wrong with performing Dry Needling, in fact it can be highly effective and most Acupuncturists will incorporate this in a musculoskeletal treatment to stimulate a release of a contracted muscle. But that’s all it can do. It can’t be used to treat someones gastro-intestinal disorder, their skin condition, their cold, their incontinence, their hot flushes or insomnia; Dry Needling can only be used to relax and contracted muscle. 

Acupuncture is outside the scope of practice of any other registered (with AHPRA) health professional, except a Registered Acupuncturist, however, the term Dry Needling is an unregulated loophole, that allows people to use Acupuncture needles without having to go and complete the 4 year degree. 

How do I know if I am seeing a qualified and Registered Acupuncturist for Treatment?

All Acupuncturists must be registered with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA), and will have a unique registration number that starts with CMR followed by a series of numbers.  Eg CMR 00034872 and this should appear on your invoices or your practitioner must be able to show you this if you ask.

This number ensures you are in safe hands, and receiving services from someone who is highly trained, skilled, and knowledgeable in Acupuncture.

What is Acupuncture?

The language used by your Acupuncturist may sound a little obscure or poetic, using terms such as Yin and Yang, Five Elements, Fire or Water, or Kidney Qi and Liver Qi; this, however, is used to find complex physiological relationships and functional imbalances. 

It is highly metaphorical medicine that has been in use for more than 2,000 years and operates on a Quantum level (Quantum mechanics 101: everything is made up of energy that is condensed, vibrating at different frequencies in order to give form to the things we experience around us. Energy cannot be destroyed.), working with energy to find where something is stuck or deficient or excess, looking at the relationship between your body, your mind, your spirit and your environment. There is often an underlying imbalance in our bodies that is responsible for several symptoms we experience (disease), for example, irritability/anger/frustration, stress, tight neck and shoulders, headaches and poor sleep; these are all a result of a single cause: Liver Qi Stagnation. 

This language helps to then formulate a clear diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms, and  a clear understanding of how to correct this. Your Registered Acupuncturist may use a variety of techniques (Acupuncture, Herbal Formulas, Cupping Therapy, Moxibustion, Tui Na (massage) or Gua Sha) to correct your underlying imbalance or cause of disease; thus eliminating your symptoms. 

It does take time to change something in your body so expect to see your Acupuncturist at least 4-8 times depending on your complaints, sometimes more than 10 visits with herbs is needed. But hang in there the results can be amazing!

If you would like to know more about either Dry Needling or Acupuncture, book yourself an appointment or drop us an email and we can go from there.   Book Appointment Here Online

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