What is the difference between IMS and Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest methods of alternative medicine in Chinese history. The philosophy of acupuncture is based on the “Taoist tradition”, whereby people meditate and observe the flow of positive energy in and out of the body. Acupuncture has evolved over the years, but the concept and philosophy remain the same. Acupuncture is the stimulation of anatomical areas of the skin using various methods and fine metal needles.

Meanwhile, IMS is quickly gaining popularity among those opting for a treatment procedure to relieve muscle soreness. Filament needles are used to release trigger points in the treatment of various medical conditions. Some of these are muscle spasms, headaches, tennis elbow, nerve pain, and myofascial pain.

Although it can be confusing to compare IMS and acupuncture, they are very different in function and meaning. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese/Asian medicine whereas IMS is a Western cultural approach. Also, the main goal of IMS is to restore the health of the peripheral nervous system by reducing the pressure put on nerves by the effect of contracted muscles. Trigger point dry needling is part of IMS when used on peripheral muscles but the main aim of IMS is to focus on the muscles around the spine, to switch them off thus reducing compressive force across the spine, including nerves, discs, and joints. 

When you switch the spinal muscles off you decompress these components. This reducing compressive pressure on the nerves increases the flow of information down the nerves to the structure that it supplies and thus restores homeostasis to that structure. 

An additional effect besides restoring the health of the peripheral nervous system and all that it supplies is disc and joint decompression, a major cause of lower back pain.

This term is actually used to define non-needles. In needle injection, a hypodermic needle is used to inject a chemical or other agent, such as saline or an anesthetic, into tissue in a specific part of the body. On the other hand, IMS is treated using needles that have a therapeutic effect when they enter body tissue. This treatment also uses fine filament needles similar to those used in acupuncture.

How does it work?

IMS is a procedure in which needles made of fine filament are inserted into a person’s trigger points. These trigger points are located in different muscles throughout the body and respond to specific points in the body. These muscles help a person cope with the pain they feel by relieving muscle tension when a needle is pierced. Muscle relaxation also occurs due to pressure on specific pressure points.

Key differences between IMS and acupuncture

IMS and Acupuncture use the same type of needle but are completely different procedures.

Traditional Chinese theory is used in acupuncture to insert needles into the body’s energy channels. When stimulated, these channels improve or affect a person’s energy flow.

Meanwhile, IMS, scientific research; Western medical practice, and pathophysiology are used in this course. Needles are inserted into trigger points in the muscles and ligaments of the human body. As a result, muscle tension is reduced and pain levels in certain areas are reduced.

Benefits of Treatment

The results of IMS therapy may vary from patient to patient but are generally very good. The main advantages of this procedure are:

– A person experiences less pain than in other manual procedures.

– Dry needling is relatively painless compared to other manual techniques.

– Fewer sessions are required for the entire treatment procedure.

– This can provide permanent relief from the pain a person feels.

– It can rejuvenate muscles that do not work effectively due to previous injuries.

Does the treatment hurt?

If the muscles of the body are healthy, this procedure will not be painful and the person will not feel any pain from the injection. However, in some cases, a person may feel pain, slight tingling, or cramping.

* Contact Reach Physiotherapy for a list of references used for this blog content.