Intramuscular Stimulation

What is Intramuscular Stimulation?

Intramuscular Stimulation was developed by Dr. Chan Gunn in Vancouver in the late 70’s. Intramuscular Stimulation works very well on neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is defined as “a chronic pain condition where there is usually tissue damage from the injury to the affected area”. This neuropathic pain sends signals to the brain that say, “you need to stay tight!” when, in fact, your body needs to relax to allow the muscles to relax so your pain will begin to decrease.

What happens during IMS?

The IMS technique uses acupuncture needles but the process that occurs is very different. During regular acupuncture, the meridians, or energy channels in the body, are stimulated. These acupuncture needles stay in for 10-15 minutes. During IMS, the needles do not work along the energy channels, but, instead the tight muscle, or motor point, is stimulated. This causes a flicker of the muscle (or contraction), which, as a patient you won’t be able to control. The flicker is a minor irritation to the muscle. The flicker of the muscle tightens around the needle then releases. All of this happens within 2-3 seconds. After that time, the needle is removed from the muscle. The patient will feel as though the muscle has been slightly overworked. There may continue to be some discomfort for 12-24 hours.

IMS is a very effective technique to decrease muscle tone and decrease pain. Patients usually notice that with each subsequent needling session, they respond better than the previous session and have post-needle discomfort for a shorter period of time.

This technique can be used for a wide variety of conditions. While research has shown that IMS works very well for chronic conditions, we have seen some very positive results in acute injury situations as well.

Learn more about our Intramuscular Stimulation treatments today. Give our physiotherapy clinic a call at 519-835-5586 or email us at