Which is better, dry needling or acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that is often used to treat stiffness and pain. It involves the use of very thin needles to puncture the skin. The needles are placed at specific points around the body depending on the condition that is being treated.

Dry needling also involves the use of acupuncture needles, but the treatment technique is slightly different. With acupuncture, the needles are left within a muscle for a predetermined length of time. In contrast, dry needling involves the continuous manipulation of a needle within a muscle. The practitioner will move the needle back and forth to stimulate different areas of the muscle.

While both acupuncture and dry needling can be effective, the best option always depends on the specific person and their injury. You will likely experience more discomfort with dry needling compared to acupuncture. As such, it may not be appropriate for acute or intolerable pain.

Dry needling may be more suitable for subacute or long standing conditions where pain is tolerable. If you’re unsure of how you may tolerate dry needling, start with acupuncture and monitor your symptoms. If you experience more pain with acupuncture, you’ll likely also experience more pain with dry needling.

On the other hand, if you experience a positive effect or no effect from acupuncture, dry needling may be more suitable for you. So, dry needling is not necessarily better than acupuncture or vice versa. Rather, one treatment may be more suitable than the other depending on your specific situation.


How much does a session of acupuncture cost?

In Ontario, acupuncture is not a regulated profession. This means no standards exist on who can perform it. It also means there are no public protection mechanisms in place regarding qualifications, complaints and discipline, and professional standards. That being said, regulated professionals performing acupuncture must adhere to the guidelines set out by their own regulatory body. 

For example, physiotherapy is a regulated profession within Ontario that is governed by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. Physiotherapists may perform acupuncture if they have completed the appropriate education and training. Only physiotherapists who are rostered to perform acupuncture with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario will be able to use it with their clients. In order to roster, physiotherapists must demonstrate to the college that they have the appropriate training and skills to safely perform acupuncture.

Choosing an acupuncture provider that works within a regulated profession will help ensure that you’re receiving care from someone who has the appropriate training and qualifications. Some other providers that may offer acupuncture include: registered acupuncturists, chiropodists, chiropractors, dentists, medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, occupational therapists, nurses, registered massage therapists, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.

A session of acupuncture will vary in cost depending on which provider you see for the treatment. For example, physiotherapy within Ontario always starts with an initial assessment, which is typically 45 minutes to 1 hour. The assessment usually costs between 95 and 120 dollars. After the initial assessment, the following physiotherapy treatments range between 15 to 30 minutes. The cost per 15 minute block often ranges between 23.75 to 30.00 dollars. Keep in mind that this may vary greatly depending on what clinic you go to, and where it is in Ontario.

Physiotherapy will typically cost more in the more populated areas of Ontario. For example, physiotherapy in Toronto will cost significantly more than physiotherapy in Kitchener


Do you get immediate relief from acupuncture?

The effects of acupuncture can vary significantly depending on the person and their specific injury. Some individuals get immediate relief from acupuncture, while others may experience relief after the appointment. The length of time relief lasts for also varies greatly. In some cases, acupuncture treatment may provide relief for multiple days, while in others it may only provide relief for a few hours.

Unfortunately, some individuals won’t experience any relief from acupuncture, and may experience pain. It’s unrealistic to pre-determine who will have a positive effect from acupuncture. So, if you’re comfortable with needles and looking for relief from pain and stiffness related to an injury, it can be worthwhile to try acupuncture. As always, be sure to discuss acupuncture with your healthcare provider to see if it’s appropriate for you.

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