Intramuscular Stimulation


Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) is a treatment that involves dry needling of affected muscles without injecting any substance. The needle sites can be at the epicenter of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive. IMS is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes (chronic pain conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system when there is no obvious sign of injury or inflammation.) IMS is a technique that was developed by Dr. Chan Gunn ( This technique is performed by specifically trained Physiotherapists and is extremely effective for releasing tight and painful muscles. The treatment, which utilizes Acupuncture needles because they are the thinnest implements available that are designed to penetrate deep within muscle tissue, specifically targets injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress. Penetration of a normal muscle is painless; however a shortened, supersensitive muscle will “grasp” the needle in what can be described as a cramping sensation. The result is threefold. First, a stretch receptor in the muscle is stimulated, producing a reflex relaxation (lengthening). Second, the needle also causes a small injury that draws blood to the area, initiating the natural healing process. Third, the treatment creates an electrical potential in the muscle to make the nerve function normally again. The goal of treatment is to release muscle shortening, which presses on and irritates the nerve. Super sensitive areas can be desensitized, and the persistent pull of shortened muscles can be released. IMS is very effective for releasing shortened muscles under contract, thereby causing mechanical pain from muscle pull. This release provides an opportunity to not only decrease pain; but to access muscles to improve movement patterns and function.