Intramuscular Stimulation, or IMS, is a therapeutic treatment that involves the insertion of fine acupuncture needles into tight bands of muscle to both diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, such as nerve irritation, muscular strains, overuse injuries, headaches, and joint dysfunction. Although it shares with Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture (TCM) the use of acupuncture needles as a therapy, Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is fundamentally quite different. While traditional Chinese acupuncture utilizes the insertion of needles along energy lines in the body (called Meridians) to effect various bodily functions, IMS assesses and treats specific regions of muscular irregularity. The insertion of the needle into these muscle “knots” or “trigger points” causes the muscle to grab the needle, producing a characteristic twitch response. Upon removing the needle from the tissue, the muscle becomes less tight and more functionally normal. The result is less pain, better range of motion, and quite often reduced tethering/compression on local nerve structures. It is important to note that the needles used in both traditional acupuncture and IMS are significantly thinner than those used to give injections or to draw blood, and therefore produce less discomfort when inserted. In fact, it is likely that the patient feels only the muscle twitch itself, rather than the actual insertion of the needle into the area. Likely, the total time that each needle stays inserted is between 5-10 seconds.
At Optimum, IMS (or dry needling) is performed by Kathy Magowan (Registered Physiotherapist), and Kelsey Jackson (Registered Acupuncturist). For more information about IMS/Dry Needling, or any of the other services at the clinic, contact our clinic at 604-703-6470!