Is IMS the Same as Acupuncture?

May 30th, 2021

The most common questions patients ask about IMS are about its relationship with acupuncture. Seeing how IMS involves the insertion of dry needles to treat numerous health concerns, it is a common connection to make.

However, there are important distinctions to consider, as despite what it looks like on the surface, the two are radically different on the inside.

What is IMS?

Intramuscular stimulation, or IMS, is a dry needling procedure. This technique is done to ease muscle tension by targeting taut muscles and stimulating them with the needle. By releasing these muscle knots, known as trigger points, the hope is that injured or painful muscles can relax.

The tightening of muscles may cause various problems for patients, including bad posture and chronic pain. This stimulation can help restore healthier muscle elasticity which can greatly alleviate pressure and help align posture.

What is the Difference Between IMS and Acupuncture?

On the surface, acupuncture and IMS look and sound similar. However, the key difference is that acupuncture is an Eastern procedure that aims to promote the balance of energy throughout the body.

Acupuncture targets energy pathways with needles to open them up. Its effects are experienced quickly and often produces a full-body euphoria. Additionally, acupuncture needles are left in the body for a longer time and cause minor discomfort

On the other hand, IMS procedures are conducted by a certified physiotherapist who only inserts the needles after an initial consultation. During this consultation, a physiotherapist works closely to locate the patient’s specific issue and any impacts it may be having on other muscles. Once treatment begins, the needles are then placed in specific areas for a few seconds. They will likely cause some discomfort.

IMS has been consistently proven to have a high success rate. This becomes noticeable around the third or fourth session. After about the eighth session, most patients speak of a noticeable alleviation of the original muscle tension, with some having their issues entirely resolved.

Which is Best for Me?

Neither acupuncture nor IMS is without risk, as is the case with any medical procedure. Acupuncture is more of a whole-body treatment, while IMS targets specific muscles. Those suffering from tight and painful muscles should be intrigued about the high success rate of IMS therapies.

The professionals at Total Care have the necessary qualifications required by the province of British Columbia and are happy to consult you further on the potential benefits of IMS.

Total Care Health, based in Surrey, BC, offers science-based therapy in a compassionate environment. They have chiropractors, kinesiologists, physiotherapists, and massage therapists available to help you.

If you have any questions about this article, or you would like to book an appointment with one of our professionals, please call us at (604) 854-3090. We can help with orthotics!


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