IMS is a safe and effective physiotherapy technique that uses small, thin needles to release tight, painful muscles and reset the nervous system. Most painful muscles are in a shortened state, often because of altered nerve input. The shortened muscles contribute to muscle imbalances, compression of joints, and restricted mobility, all of which contribute to pain and decreased function.
An acupuncture needle is inserted into the muscles (spots often described by patients as 'knots'). This has multiple effects on the muscle including releasing muscle tension, stimulating tissue healing and resetting the nervous system. To the patient it feels like a dull ache or pressure, followed by the sensation of release. Immediately after, patients notice that the muscles treated feel more relaxed, less sensitive and that mobility in the area is increased.
Gunn IMS is taught through UBC's Faculty of Medicine and is an advanced technique restricted to experienced physical therapists.