There is a common misconception that Dry Needling is “the same thing as acupuncture” or that Dry Needling is a variation of acupuncture. It is not. Acupuncture and Dry Needling are very different therapies. 

Acupuncture and Dry Needling share a common tool, a thin filiform needle, but that is where the similarity ends.


Dry Needling, unlike acupuncture, has its roots in western medicine principles. Physicians Janet Travell, who later became President John F. Kennedy’s White House physician, and David Simons are credited with having been pioneers in the field in the early 1940’s. In the ensuing years, numerous studies have determined that Dry Needling is not only an effective, drug-free treatment of musculoskeletal pain, but that it is also minimally invasive, cost effective, and low risk.


Dry needling, also known as intramuscular manual stimulation or intramuscular needing, is a treatment that specifically targets muscular myofascial trigger points. Myo (muscle) fascia (a sheathing) is a tight membrane that covers the muscles as well as the entire body. Past injuries, operations and accidents can result in stress points in the fascia, called trigger points. These can then put tension on muscle and musculoskeletal areas resulting in pain, sometimes chronic. Because of the tension exerted, the point of pain is not necessarily the exact trigger point. Locating the area of the trigger point is a necessary part of the therapy. The needle is inserted into the trigger point and manipulated to bring relief from muscle spasms and muscle pain.


Since its introduction many years ago, Dry Needling has been gaining popularity and recognition. It is now one of the fastest-growing areas of medicine in the U.S. David Legge of Western Sydney University confirms that “since 2000, there has been a surge in academic interest in dry needling and its use has expanded into the allied health professions of physiotherapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic”. Clinical evidence has been published validating its effectiveness at reducing pain and muscle spasms.

It is currently practiced by many health care professionals including physical therapists, doctors of osteopathy and chiropractic, and a number of medical doctors.


Dr. Mark Hanson, President of Eastern Medicine Institute, has developed a Dry Needling Course to allow health care professionals to gain the insights and the expertise to deliver this effective therapy to their patients.

Not only is Dr. Hanson an experienced instructor, he is a practicing doctor. He has a wealth of experience gained over more than 35 years of treating patients. At the completion of this comprehensive three-day course, you’ll be fully trained and ready to “hit the ground running” to provide this highly effective therapy to your patients.

Learn more about Dr. Hanson’s Dry Needling Course.

Dr Mark Hanson Acupuncture
Dr. Mark Hanson

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