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Dry Needling or Acupuncture?

Posted by Dr. Jonathan Kuttner on


Dr. Jonathan Kuttner - NAT presenter, and winner of the NAMTPT lifetime achievement award (2014) for his contribution to trigger point therapy.


Dry needling is the use of acupuncture needles for the direct treatment of trigger points.

Dry needling shares many of the same ideas, approaches, and techniques as traditional Chinese acupuncture, but there are differences.

In this video, Dr. Jonathan Kuttner, who practices both acupuncture and dry needling, compares and presents the case for both modalities.


Chronic Pain and Trigger Point Therapy Specialist


About Dr. Jonathan Kuttner

Dr Jonathan Kuttner (MBBCH, Dip Sports Med, Dip MSM, FRNZCGP, FAFMM) is a musculo-skeletal pain specialist who has spent the last 35 years in New Zealand working as a doctor, teacher and writer.

In 2014 Dr. Kuttner was the recipient of the NAMTPT Lifetime Award for Contribution to Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy.

Dr. Kuttner is regularly featured on national TV and radio.











This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 




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  • Hi Peter … I find it so sad that our world has morphed into a gaggle of warring tribes, with each trying protect his turf. Even though I don’t agree with your position, the way that you presented your argument is refreshing!

    I think you need to cut the doctor some slack. He’s delivering a very short summary on a very complex issue!

    Jessie Eli on
  • Hey Dr. Jon. Thanks for the video….but, your take on acupuncture history is far too simplistic and monolithic. What you have omitted here, is the fact that TCM is but one style of acupuncture and there are countless other styles that have been developed over the thousands of years. In fact, TCM started around the same point the bare foot doctors you described. There are many distal (as you explained one) and proximal needling styles (omitted). Dry Needling is a proximal needling style and now has become a term developed for PTs to appropriate and go outside of their scope of practice…full stop.

    On another point, you compared acupuncture and dry needling treating local areas. Are you not effecting other areas of the body, muscle, and fascia thru dry needling? When you trigger a point, don’t you see the muscle twitch distaly as well? I assure you, It’s not coincidental these twitches frequently correspond to acupuncture channels. If you are doing a proper job of dry needling aren’t you treating reciprocal muscles, just as traditional acupuncture teaches as well?

    There is an old saying in acupuncture that when you hit the correct point, it’s like feeling a fish bite on the fishing line. This sensation describes what you are now attempting to rename dry needling. Please respect the history of this great medicine.

    Why is it I I only see explanations by non licensed Acupuncturists explaining the false “subtle” differences between dry needling and acupuncture? They are the same and if you want to learn dry needling…go to acupuncture school and be diligent with your anatomy classes. With that said, thanks much for your trigger point info, it’s great. I hope you respect my difference of opinion.

    Peter on

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