Open Mon-Sat · (03) 9859 5059 · BOOK online OR call Reception
Open Mon-Sat · (03) 9859 5059 · BOOK online OR call Reception
dry needling | trigger point needling | Balwyn

What is dry needling and why isn’t it “wet”?

Written by Boroondara Osteopathy

A well-known clinic in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs founded by Dr Katie Willy (Osteopath)

Dry needling involves inserting thin Acupuncture single-use needles (some may be as thin as a human hair) into myofascial trigger points – points of tension and sensitivity in the connective tissue surrounding muscles.

Dry needling described as “dry needling” because no fluid is being injected or removed.

What are the benefits of dry-needling therapy?

Used in conjunction with our osteopathic techniques, dry needling can help address points of pain within the body, making it potentially useful not only for athletes suffering from sporting injuries, but for anyone with a persistent painful tension in a specific muscle. It can stimulate the muscles at a deeper level than we can with our hands.

Studies on dry needling found evidence that suggests that dry needling performed by physical therapists (like me) is more effective than having no treatment or sham treatment.  It has also been found that dry needling can be more effective than and other treatments for reducing pain and improving pressure pain threshold in patients presenting with musculoskeletal pain.

Some of the areas we find get the best results are the forearms, calves, Achilles, shoulders, glutes (butt), and around the knees.

Benefits of dry-needling include:

  • Increasing blood flow to the area which provides nutrients and removes waste
  • It may produce a local twitch response which can change the neural input into the muscle and allows the muscles to relax
  • Breaks up adhesion in the muscle

What’s the difference between Dry needling and Acupuncture?

This is probably the most common question about dry needling.

Acupuncture is based on Chinese Medicine principles, and works with meridian lines and acupressure points. This involves needles being inserted into specific acupuncture points which relate to different regions and organs of the body.

With dry needling we are looking for tight bands in the muscle and that where the needs is inserted. There is bound to be some crossover points between tight muscles and acupressure points, but we probably can’t claim to be helping your liver if we stick a dry needle in your calf (haven’t tried this as a hangover cure but who knows).

dry needling | Balwyn North | trigger point

Does dry needling hurt?

This changes from person to person.

Most people can’t feel the needle being inserted, sometimes there will be a dull ache or a cramp type of feeling, or when the muscle gets the “twitch response” it can be noticed.

It can be a little sore after, just like after a massage it might be tender in some parts, there may even be a little bruising later in the day or the next day.

Loads of people love dry-needling often for the fast release feeling in the muscle tissue.  If you want to try it out for yourself feel free to book online Dr Celeste Codemo or call 9859 5059.


Gattie et al. The Effectiveness of Trigger Point Dry Needling for Musculoskeletal Conditions by Physical Therapists: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2017 Volume:47 Issue:3 Pages:133–149 DOI: 10.2519/jospt.2017.7096