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What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?


IMS uses implements adapted from traditional acupuncture, it is based on scientific, neurophysiological principles. The acupuncture needles used are very thin (much thinner that the hollow needle used to inject medicine or take blood samples). You may not even feel it penetrating the skin, and if your muscle is normal, the needle is painless. However, if your muscle is supersensitive and shortened, you’ll feel a peculiar sensation—like a muscle cramp or Charlie Horse. This is a distinctive type of discomfort caused by the muscle grasping the needle. Patients soon learn to recognize and welcome this sensation. They call it a “good” or positive pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relief and relaxation. The needle may still be in you, but because the muscle is no longer tight, you no longer feel it. What happened is that the needling has caused your abnormal muscle to intensify and then release. It is important that you exercise this sensation in order to gain lasting relief.


The Effects of IMS


The effects of IMS are cumulative– needling stimulates a certain amount of healing, until eventually, the condition is healed and the pain disappears. Some patients treated with IMS have remained pain-free for over 20 years.


Frequency of Treatments


Treatments are usually once a week (but can be spread out to two weeks) to allow time between treatments for the body to heal itself. The number of treatments you require will depend on several factors such as the duration and extent of your condition, how much scar tissue there is (usually increased after previous surgery) and how quickly your body can heal, the rate of healing depends on the condition of your nerves (young people usually heal more quickly, although older is not necessarily slower). If the pain of recent origin, one treatment may be all that is necessary. In published studies of patients with low back pain, the average number of IMS treatments required was 8.2


“Neuropathy” -or -what happens when nerves start to go wrong…


Doctors usually have no difficulty in treating pain caused by injury (a fracture, for example) of inflammation (such as rheumatoid arthritis). But they are perplexed by pain that shows no sign of tissue damage or inflammation, such as headaches, “whiplash”, backache, tennis elbow or frozen shoulder.

Dr. Gunn had introduced “neuropathic pain”, to describe this type of pain. Typically this occurs when nerves malfunction following minor irritation. Nerves and nerve-endings become extremely sensitive and cause innocent, harmless signals to be exaggerated and misperceived as painful ones. (This characteristic is known medically as supersensitivity). The result is pain, even when extensive medical tests show there is “nothing wrong”. Until recently, supersensitivity has received little attention in medical circles.


Treating Neuropathic Pain


Supersensitivity and muscle shortening cannot be operated on and “cut away”. “Pain killers” and other analgesic pills only masks the pain. The goal of treatment is to release muscle shortening which presses on and irritates the nerve. Supersensitive areas can be desensitized and the persistent pull of shortened muscles released.


A New Understanding of Chronic Pain


Many people who suffer from chronic pain become frustrated and depressed when their doctors cannot help. Some try medications and physical therapies (such as massage, physiotherapy and manipulations), even surgery, and do not find lasting relief.

This brochure explains how chronic pain can occur, even when there is no injury or inflammation, and describes a scientifically proven method for diagnosing and treating it.


How IMS compares to Acupuncture
Traditional Acupuncture
IMS Treatment
Medical Examination not applicable. Medical examination is imperative.
Medial diagnosis not relevant. Medical diagnosis is necessary.
Needle insertions according to Chinese philosophy into non-scientific meridians. Needle insertions indicated by physical signs.
Knowledge of anatomy not applicable. Knowledge of anatomy is essential.
No immediate objective changes anticipated. Prompt subjective and objective effects are usually experienced.