Ask Nurse Colleen: What is IMS acupuncture and how does it work?

Question submitted by Kathleen Cutsey of North Bay

IMS is the abbreviation for Intramuscular Stimulation and is an acupuncture technique used to relieve muscle and joint pain. Muscles can become contracted or shortened due to repetitive motions, nerve injury or by staying in one position for too long. The goal of the IMS treatment is to release shortened muscles. IMS acupuncture causes myofascial release.

IMS is not used on all my patients but I find it is a very fast and effective way to treat the majority of patients with muscle and joint pain. Very fine and painless needles are inserted into selected acupuncture points which are directly correlated to tight muscles. Electrodes are then applied to the acupuncture needles and attached to a stimulator. The intensity of the stimulator is gradually turned up. The patient experiences a tingling sensation of the areas being stimulated. An IMS treatment lasts approximately 20 minutes. Most patients find the treatment very relaxing. Like other acupuncture treatments it releases endorphins into the system along with illuminating the underlying condition of a shortened muscle.

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