Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 3–9 | Cite as

Evidence and expert opinions: Dry needling versus acupuncture (I)

The American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture Safety (AAPAS) White Paper 2016
  • Arthur Yin Fan
  • Jun Xu
  • Yong-ming Li
Hot Topic


In the last twenty years, in the United States and other Western countries, dry needling (DN) became a hot and debatable topic, not only in academic but also in legal fields. This White Paper is to provide the authoritative information of DN versus acupuncture to academic scholars, healthcare professional administrators, lawmakers, and the general public through providing the authoritative evidence and experts' opinions regarding critical issues of DN versus acupuncture, and then reach consensus. DN is the use of dry needles alone, either solid filiform acupuncture needles or hollow-core hypodermic needles, to insert into the body for the treatment of muscle pain and related myofascial pain syndrome. DN is sometimes also known as intramuscular stimulati on, trigger points (TrP) acupuncture, TrP DN, myofascial TrP DN, or biomedical acupuncture. In Western countries, DN is a form of simplified acupuncture using biomedical language in treating myofascial pain, a contemporary development of a portion of Ashi point acupuncture from Chinese acupuncture. It seeks to redefine acupuncture by reframing its theoretical principles in a Western manner. DN-like needling with filiform needles have been widely used in Chinese acupuncture practice over the past 2,000 years, and with hypodermic needles has been used in China in acupuncture practice for at least 72 years. In Eastern countries, such as China, since late of 1800s or earlier, DN is a common name of acupuncture among acupuncturists and the general public, which has a broader scope of indications, not limited to treating the myofascial pain.


dry needling acupuncture biomedical acupuncture authoritative evidence experts’ opinions consensus 


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This White Paper reflects the official view of AAPAS. The authors would like to thank Drs. Jin Guan-yuan, Jerome Jiang, Yang Guan-hu, Wang Shao-bai, Wang Xiao-ping, Brent Foster, Lee DeLorme, Todd Gonzales for the valuable discussions and assistance during the drafting process.


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American Alliance for Professional Acupuncture SafetyGreenwichUSA
  2. 2.American Traditional Chinese Medicine AssociationViennaUSA
  3. 3.American Acupuncture Association of GreaterNew YorkUSA

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