Elite Facilities. Superior Care

Dry Needling

13 Dec 2016


Dry Needling - commonly referred to as 'Western Acupuncture' - is a technique that many Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists use to treat myofascial pain. Utilising the same tool as the practice of Acupuncture, a solid, filament needle, Dry Needling involves inserting the needle into the skin and tissues to help specifically target and resolve trigger points. The primary focus of Dry Needling is to promote tissue healing and to restore normal tissue function. This is because continued activity with poor muscle function may lead to further damage and can increase muscular pain. Combined with other hands on treatment methods that Massage Therapists and Physiotherapists use, Dry Needling can reduce pain and help with the healing of normal tissue function.

Extensive scientific research has provided support of the positive outcomes of Dry Needling, including evidence of inhibiting the transmission of pain signals in our spinal cord and increasing the release of our own pain relieving chemicals within our brains.


Dry Needling uses a very fine needle to cause a small, precise lesion in the tissue when it enters the body. This needle causes the targeted area to send injury signals to the brain (as explained by Pain Gate Theory), which initiates a sequence of events to replace and repair the damaged tissue with new, healthy tissue. The needle is inserted until the sensation of deqi is reached. Deqi is described as being the feeling of a dull ache and heaviness around the needle when manipulated in the correct way.

Needling in a painful trigger point or muscular knot frequently provokes a twitch response from the muscle. Once the twitch response and deqi have been reached, the muscle fibres in that area relax, inflammation is reduced and circulation improves. Consequently, Dry Needling can purposely address muscle and myofascial pain and dysfunction.

When experiencing Dry Needling, the local twitch response or sudden slight contraction of the muscle may provoke a very brief and minor pain response. This has been described as a cramping sensation. A therapeutic response occurs with the reaction of local twitch responses and this is a positive and desirable outcome.

During treatment, and depending on the Dry Needling technique used, patients can experience heaviness in the limbs or a feeling of relaxation. Following this technique some muscle soreness may be felt for up to 24-48 hours. The application of heat or ice (depending of the needling site) and drinking plenty of fluids can reduce soreness.


There are similarities between Dry Needling and Acupuncture and the needles used are identical. The primary difference is that Dry Needling is based on western anatomical and neurophysiological principles, and Acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques.

TCM is rooted in the use of meridians, or channels, based on a concept from ancient Chinese philosophies and culture, where needles are focused into defined acupoints, intended to unblock energy meridians and help create balance within the body's systems.

Modern Dry Needling is based on current medical science and research. However, the positive effect on pain from inserting a needle is similar, whether used as part of a Dry Needling or Acupuncture treatment.


Dry Needling is a very safe treatment. Recover Sports Medicine uses only clean, individually packaged, single use sterile needles. The needles are very fine and bruising or bleeding rarely occurs around the areas of the insertions.

Ashleigh Del Romano
Remedial Massage Therapist

If you would like to make an appointment with any of our Soft Tissue team to receive Dry Needling, please call us on 1300 858 774 or email contact@recoversportsmed.com.au

  • South Caulfield Cricket Club
  • Melbourne Rebels
  • Melbourne Aces
  • Gold Coast Suns
  • Melbourne Mustangs
  • Victorian Institute of Sport
  • Sydney Swans
  • Melbourne Cricket Club
  • Williamstown VFL
Recover Sports Medicine Working at the Top Level
Memberships and Associations
  • Australasian Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic.)
  • Worksafe
  • Australian Association of Massage Therapists
  • Dietitians Association of Australia
  • Exercise and Sports Science Australia
  • Department of Veteran's Affairs
  • Australian Physiotherpay Association
  • Sports Dietitians Australia
  • APPI Pilates
  • Sports Medicine Australia
  • The Australian Psychological Society
  • Myotherapy Association Australia
  • Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians
  • Medicare
  • Polestar Pilates Australia