Dry Needling is essentially trigger point acupuncture with a different name. We sometimes call it "ashi" acupuncture, as "ashi" translate as "ah, yes," as in "there it is," the "it" being a hyperirritable location in muscle or other connective tissue. In modern terms, that's called a trigger point. An acupuncturist combines ancient theory and knowledge of the multi-systemic effects of acupuncture with a modern understanding of neuroanatomy and muscle physiology in the practice of ashi/trigger point needling, thereby addressing the whole patient rather than simply treating symptomatically, or only where there is pain, which often leads to aggravation. The needling and release of trigger points is much more effective when treated in conjunction with other appropriate acupuncture points as indicated by the patient's presentation.
In Washington State, only acupuncturists and licensed medical doctors may legally perform "dry needling" or any form of acupuncture, no matter what it is called.