Getting the Point: Physical Therapists Bring Dry Needle Therapy to Los Alamos

Physical therapists Mike Hoog and Lori Erickson in their home clinic. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Physical therapists Mike Hoog and Lori Erickson are offering a new form of treatment in Los Alamos called dry needle therapy.

Dry needling is a procedure designed to target and restore muscle function, with an emphasis on improving tissue healing and restoring normal tissue function, Hoog said

The practice is based on the strong relationship between the nervous system and muscle function. Although it is a new approach, dry needling is built upon the general principles of modern medical science, he said.

Dry needling uses a very fine acupuncture needle to cause a small injury in the tissue when it enters the body. The needling induces injury signals the brain uses to initiate repair to the damaged tissue with new, healthy tissue, Erickson explained. The procedure is usually completely painless.

Dry needling uses “trigger points” rather than the traditional meridian system used by acupuncturists. Needling in a trigger point or muscular knot causes a “twitch” response from the muscle. This is both diagnostic as well as therapeutic, because healthy muscle tissue will not “twitch” when stimulated by the needle. The twitch response causes the muscle fibers to relax and circulation is improved, Erickson said.

Hoog and Erickson have 30 years experience as physical therapists between them. When patients began asking about dry needle therapy, the couple investigated the practice and decided to take a course taught by dry needling pioneer and neuroscientist Dr. Yun Tao Ma and his wife, the acupuncturist Mila Ma in Boulder, Colo.

In addition to treating ailments such as tendinitis, headaches and back pain, dry needling can also be a safe means to improve physical performance in athletes by reducing the muscular stress caused by repetitive exercise.

Hoog and Erickson are triathletes, so they have a special understanding for the need to repair the damage to muscles, rather than cover it up with pain killers.

“Dry needling is a safe and low-cost treatment and it has no side effects,” Hoog said.  

Hoog and Erickson offer a “Tune-up” especially for athletes who want to improve their performance and repair muscle damage.

“Dry needle works by itself, but it’s often most effective when combined other treatments such as massage and physical therapy,” Hoog said.

Hoog and Erickson practice out of their home, in a relaxed and calm atmosphere. They use only single-use, sterile acupuncture needles. Cost for treatment is $40 per hour.

“Improvement is usually seen in four to six sessions,” Hoog said.

Patients may need a referral from a physician within the last 12 months to receive treatment.  

For more information and or to make an appointment, call Hoog at (505) 412-9610 or Erickson at (505) 795-0607. 

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