Medical Acupuncture / Dry Needling


Acupuncture combined with osteopathy works really well for pain relief and healing. Katie and Francesca who are trained in Medical Acupuncture, considers it one of their most useful ‘tools in their tool box’ to help release deep musculature/trigger points and decrease inflammation in joints and tissues. It is particularly useful in stubborn tendon injuries such as Tennis Elbow, arthritis and both acute and chronic back pain.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a treatment that consists of inserting fine sterilised needles into specific parts of the body for therapeutic purposes. It is derived from ancient Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture uses a complicated system of ancient ideas that are based on the belief that an energy or “life force” flows through the body in channels called meridians.

Over the years western practitioners have found that acupuncture can be understood and practised using a more scientific basis. From this has originated Medical Acupuncture, also known as Dry Needling, which is becoming increasingly popular and well accepted due to its positive outcomes. Many hospitals today offer acupuncture to their patients and the British Medical Acupuncture Society has over 2500 members.

The main differences between Traditional Acupuncture and Medical Acupuncture can be found in the tables below.

How Does Medical Acupuncture Work?

The needles inserted into your body stimulate the sensory nerves of the skin, fascia and muscles, which send messages to the brain to release endorphins. These natural chemicals produced by the body act to reduce pain. In addition to this, fluid circulation is enhanced which helps decrease inflammation and increase oxygen to the muscles which provides energy for the muscle to ‘switch off’ and relax.

“ I often use needles to release the deep intrinsic muscles of the back and I can’t quite believe the speed of release of the associated joint. It amazes me every time. I have no doubt that acupuncture works.“

Medical Acupuncture can be easily combined with Osteopathic treatment. Katie and Francesca will discuss the possibility of using needles in their treatment if they feel it will be beneficial to you. However, they realise that needles are not everyone’s “cup of tea” and there are always other ways to achieve a similar goal.

Medical Acupuncture/Dry Needling

  • Largely or completely ignores ancient Chinese ideas of meridians/energy channels.
  • Based on medical anatomy and physiology.
  • No element of mysticism.
  • Physiological diagnostic methods are used such as trigger points and muscle tightness.
  • Generally fewer needles are used and for shorter periods of time – often 2 minutes or less. This makes it easy to combine with osteopathic treatment within a treatment session and also leads to fewer adverse treatment reactions.

Traditional/Chinese Acupuncture

  • Follows ancient Chinese ideas based on meridians/energy channels.
  • Based on pre-scientific ideas.
  • Practical rather than mystical but appeals to westerners interested in mysticism and energy flow.
  • Traditional diagnostic methods are used, such as the pulse and the appearance of the tongue.
  • Generally more needles are inserted and for a longer period of time compared to Medical Acupuncture.