The two techniques both involve the use of solid filament needles. The main difference is the theories that they are based on.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique that aims to modulate ones internal chemistry. Acupuncture works on a principle of ‘chi’. Chi circulates in the body along twelve major pathways, called meridians, each linked to specific internal organ and organ systems. By inserting fine needles a small way beneath the skin into specific points along the meridians, it is believed the flow of energy (chi) can be redirected for the purpose of relieving tension, stress, or pain. Dry needling as mentioned focusses on relieving, pain and tension through release of myofascial trigger points at or close to the area of pain.