Dry needling is a technique that involves inserting a thin filiform needle into the skin. This technique does not involve medication or injection when the needle is inserted through the skin into the muscle. The physiotherapist will wear gloves and other appropriate personal protective equipment when dry needling, consistent with standard infection control procedure and health and safety procedure. The needles are disposed off in a medical sharps collector after one use.
Dry needling is not acupuncture, a practice based on traditional Chinese medicine and performed by acupuncturists. Dry needling is a part of modern western medicine principles, and is widely researched.
Generally, dry needling is one technique that is part of a larger treatment plan. The use dry needling is to release tight muscles or for pain relief. As part of their entry level education, physiotherapist are well educated in anatomy and physiology. Physiotherapist who perform dry needling supplement that knowledge by obtaining specific postgraduate education and training.