Getting to the Point! Dry Needling by Lisa Bickell
Why would anyone want needles stuck into them anyway?
If you have never experienced acupuncture or dry needling, you may find the idea of having needles inserted into your body parts either terrifying or just plain weird. The truth is, if you are experiencing pain, you are probably willing to give most things a try, to make you feel better and alleviate your frustrating symptoms. Dry needling is a form of acupuncture that is becoming very popular, and much more accessible in today’s world. Unlike traditional acupuncture, dry needling involves the precise insertion of a very fine acupuncture needle, into tiny, tight clusters of muscle fibres called trigger points. A trigger point will refer pain to another part of the body, so for example, you may be feeling pain down the leg, but actually a trigger point in your glute muscle could be causing this. When the needle is inserted, you may feel a “local twitch response”, which can calm the confused electrical signals, that have been holding this tiny cluster of muscle in a contracted state. Sending your body’s own chemicals to the site, serotonin (the feel good hormone), opioids, encephalins, and Beta endorphins , this results in an immediate reduction of local and referred pain, improved range of motion, decreased irritability of the trigger point and a restored blood circulation. Sounds good right?
But why is it different to acupuncture?
There are similarities but also significant differences between the traditional Chinese system of acupuncture and dry needling. Acupuncture follows rules and beliefs which have been laid down in ancient times.
Channels and meridians and ‘Chi’ the energy
In traditional acupuncture the body is divided by a series of meridians or channels into an organised network. This complex system of channels and vessels is believed to act as a distribution system that carries Chi (energy), blood and the body fluids around the body. The origins of acupuncture are impossible to define because they lie in periods before recorded history. But these channels were described as early as 200 BC in the classic ancient work on acupuncture, the Huang Di Nei Jing.
The channels (meridians) were compared to the great rivers in china, extending to all parts of the country, keeping it alive by providing the essential water and nutrients. According to traditional acupuncture concepts Chi is the dynamic vital energy present in all living things which flows through the channels regulating the body’s functions. It is believed that these channels connect the interior of the body with the exterior.
The basic principle of acupuncture is that by stimulating points on the surface of the body, an effect occurs that is transmitted through the meridians and ultimately into the interior of the body.
It is suggested that acupuncture can treat a vast range of illnesses as well as reduce pain. In contrast dry needling has been specifically developed for pain relief only, via trigger points.
The term “trigger point” was coined by Dr Janet Travell in the 1940’s, Travell started needling trigger points with syringes in 1942, injecting them with procaine (a type of anaesthetic). Procaine was later replaced by a saline solution, which was then later replaced by “dry needling”, without any fluid in the syringe, hence the name.
So if you are guilty of any of the following trigger point causes, you may well experience the misery that trigger points can bring, at some point, and dry needling could be the perfect treatment for you!
Common trigger point causes:
- Maintaining an awkward position too long
- Poor lifting habits
- Carrying an overloaded or imbalanced bag
- Bad posture
- Sitting on your wallet in your back pocket
- Hitching up your hip to carry a child
- Sitting at a computer for too long
- Any repetitive motion
- Poorly designed shoes
- Car accidents
- Structual anomilies (one leg longer, assymetrical pelvis etc)
Dry Needling can be incorporated into a Sports Massage treatment, or Dry Needling can be booked separately as the main treatment option, you only need a 20 minute session if you choose the latter.
Lisa currently has 20% off all treatments on her Wednesday clinics.
Please call 01869241411 or email [email protected] to book.
by Lisa Bickell
SPECIALISTS IN … ahhh that’s better!