Principal Chiropractor, Dr Ryan Yiap, explains in a short video the difference between (TCM) traditional chinese acupuncture vs dry needling.

Many times when people come in to say that they’ve already had some acupuncture the follow up question is, “Was that traditional chinese medicine acupuncture or dry needling?” They would then have a look of confusion and ask, “What’s that? What’s the difference? Acupuncture vs dry needling?”


The term acupuncture can be separated into the word ‘acu’ and ‘puncture’. In Latin acu means ‘with a needle’ and puncture in english of course means ‘piercing or making a small hole’. So the word acupuncture literally translates into piercing of a needle, in this case, through the skin, describing both TCM acupuncture and dry needling.

This causes a problem when the word is used loosely and interchangeably in the health field as it doesn’t differentiate between the two services. Whilst they use the same equipment to do the job, ie. thin acupuncture needles, alcohol wipes to clean the skin, they have completely different uses and philosophies.

Both TCM acupuncture and dry needling use the same equipment, however they have completely different philosophies.

Differences in Acupuncture vs Dry Needling

TCM acupuncture as implied in it’s name originated in China approximately 3000 years ago with an Eastern philosophy dealing with the body’s meridian system, balance of energy flow and yin/yang.

Dry needling on the other hand is a westernised version of TCM acupuncture developed only approximately 40 years ago where there is a distinction from wet needling, which involves injection of a liquid substance. It is mainly applied to trigger points in the muscles to help with relaxing and releasing soft tissues in the area, promoting increase range of motion and healing.

So have you tried both types of acupuncture? They’re both different from one another. Here at Hills Natural Health Centre we provide both dry needling and TCM acupuncture.

Like & Share Us

If this has been helpful for you please feel free to like and share this information with your friends and family.

You can keep up to date with us on our facebook or instagram page.

You can also book online for dry needling appointments with our Chiropractors or give us a call on 9298 8332 for acupuncture appointments.