If you’ve heard of IMS and acupuncture, you may find yourself wondering what the difference is. After all, they both involve needles! Although the two have the ‘needle’ in common, the techniques and aims of the treatments are quite different.
Let’s take a look at both of these treatments. IMS or Intramuscular Stimulation is a technique that uses needles to find and diagnose muscle shortening and tightening in deep muscles. The goal of the IMS needling technique is to release this deep muscle tension. It works by putting a thin needle into a muscle that is tight. The muscle will then twitch, or cramp, and then it go into a state of relaxation which can help the patient have improved mobility, relaxation of the muscle, and a reduction in pain.
As an example, if you have muscle pain that always seems to be there and if it’s the type of pain that feels better for a short time, let’s say, after a massage, but then tenses back up again then you could be a good candidate for IMS. IMS will use only one needle at a time which will be inserted and removed after a few quick seconds.
Traditional acupuncture on the other hand has been practiced for centuries and can help with everything from pain relief, to sleep, digestion, and more. It works on the philosophy that a person is healthiest when they have enough of, and well circulating vital energy. The aim is to help improve your body’s function and healing processes by stimulating specific points on the body.
An acupuncturist will use several very thin needles at the same time, which will remain on the chosen acupoints for several minutes (often 15-20 minutes). Most people report feeling mild or even no discomfort with the needles. The purpose of leaving the needles in for this length of time is to help stimulate the body’s release of endorphins and anti-inflammatories. This can help alleviate pain, bring balance to the body, and treat various health conditions. An acupuncture point, may not be near the site of complaint as opposed to IMS which goes directly to the point of pain.
You can receive both of the treatments here at Active Sports Therapy. Call or email to learn more!