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What is Dry Needling and its Health Benefits?

The benefits of Dry Needle therapies are widely unappreciated. Dry Needle therapy is a practice that stimulates muscle trigger points for a release of tension and toxins. The benefits of this practice can greatly reduce your pain.

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When you're in pain, you want relief. Sadly, for far too many, that pain is something that they simply cannot get rid of, no matter what they try. Thankfully, an array of procedures are becoming increasingly studied, popular, and medically accepted. One such example is dry needling. 

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is a process by which a trained professional practitioner will insert a thin needle into set trigger points. To be clear, this insertion is not painful: The needles are so thin that most people don't even notice when they have been inserted.

The spot that the needles will be inserted into depends on the specific issue that each patient is facing. Generally speaking, they will be put into set muscular trigger points. A trigger point is an area of stiffness or tightness within your musculoskeletal system. Indeed, if you have ever noticed a painful band of tight or knotted muscles on your body, you have probably experienced a trigger point.

The theory behind dry needling is that inserting a needle can help to break up this tension, reduce soreness, and help improve movement. 

Many things can happen after the needle has been inserted into your skin, and the specifics depend on the philosophy of your practitioner or what issues you are suffering from. Sometimes, the needle will be left in your skin for a set period of time, then removed. Other practitioners may insert, remove, and re-insert the needle in an effort to break up the trigger points. In some instances, dry needling may be used around an area of pain, but instead inserted near muscles and nerves, with the end goal being to improve the overall function of that entire area. 

How Can Dry Needling Help Me?

Numerous studies have confirmed that there are many benefits to dry needling. Perhaps the biggest benefit of dry needling is that it may be able to reduce pain. Many studies and anecdotal information from patients have found that dry needling can remove pain and help to improve a patient's quality of life. Furthermore, a slew of studies has found that it can reduce stiffness and increase movement. It is most useful in places like the shoulder, neck, and back. 

These benefits are often felt relatively quickly and within hours of a treatment experience. 

Dry needling's benefits can help people who are injured, in pain, or suffering from certain diseases, such as fibromyalgia. It can also help to reduce tension, increase blood flow and relax your muscles. 

All of this helps to explain why dry needling has become very popular among particularly active people, including weight lifters, Olympic athletes, and professional athletes. After all, dry needling can specifically target certain areas of pain, something that many medicine-based therapies can't do. It also has no side effects - something you don't see with most medications - and can be very long-lasting in its impacts.

Dry needling is most often used in conjunction with a variety of other pain relief methods, such as massage or physical therapy. Although it is a common practice among massage therapists and medical practitioners, it is very important that you find someone who is professionally trained in this practice. Furthermore, you should check your insurance to see if they will reimburse dry needling, as not all companies will do so. 

Is Dry Needling Acupuncture?

No. While both treatment methods use thin needles, the similarities roughly end there. Acupuncture is based on an Eastern energy philosophy. It holds that the body and mind can be healed by inserting needles in certain acupuncture points and stimulating the energy - or qi - that is within all of us. Under this philosophy, acupuncture is used to remove energy blocks that are causing us pain or problems. Dry needling, however, is based on western medicine and is specifically geared towards healing the body by addressing physical problems, not energetic ones. 

As you can see, Dry Needling has many benefits that may be able to help you reduce pain, remove stiffness, and overall feel better. Finding a certified, trained practitioner of Dry Needling may absolutely be able to benefit you

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