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ACUPUNCTURE & INTRAMUSCULAR STIMULATION

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China that treats patients by manipulating thin, solid needles which have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin.

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), also known as dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic pain of radiculopathic origin.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China that treats patients by manipulating thin, solid needles which have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin. According to traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians.


There are different types of acupuncture that have developed over the years. At Barnes Practice we offer the traditional approach (described above), intramuscular stimulation and trigger point needling.


A range of acupuncture treatments will complement your physiotherapy rehabilitation plan and help reduce your recovery time.

Physiotherapy | Pilates | Sports Massage Hertford
Physiotherapy | Pilates | Sports Massage Hertford

What is Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)?

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), also known as dry needling is an effective treatment for chronic pain of radiculopathic origin. IMS was developed in Canada in 1976 by Dr Chan Gunn, a Clinical Professor at the University of Washington's Multidisciplinary Pain Centre and the University of British Columbia's Medical School. Although it is taught and used around the world it is not yet widely available in the UK. Barnes Practice is one of the few clinics that regularly use IMS.


Intramuscular stimulation, often mistakenly described as acupuncture, is based on scientific neurophysiological principles and is particularly effective in treating radicular pain. This type of pain occurs when nerves malfunction following minor irritation. The nerves and nerve endings become extremely sensitive, which is known as supersensitivity. Muscle shortening, caused by muscles going into spasm or contracting, produces pain by pulling on tendons and distressing the joints they move.


Muscle shortening increases wear and tear on joints and contributes to degenerative changes such as tendonitis and osteoarthritis. Intramuscular stimulation will release the shortened muscles which are pressing on and irritating nerves. Super sensitive areas can be desensitised and the persistent pull of shortened muscles released.

IMS is used to treat many conditions including;

  • Headaches

  • Whiplash injuries

  • Tennis elbow

  • Spinal pain

  • Sports Injuries

  • Pelvic and hip pain

  • Knee and Hamstring pain

  • Groin and thigh pain

  • Foot and ankle pain

  • Neck and upper back pain

  • Shoulder pain fibromyalgia

What are the benefits of IMS treatment?

Treatment is highly effective and has few side effects. A fine acupuncture needle, much thinner than those used for injections or to take blood, is inserted into the trigger point in the shortened muscle. If the muscle is normal the needle is painless - if the muscle is shortened you will experience a strange sensation rather like a muscle cramp which is caused by the muscle grasping the needle. Patients soon learn to recognise and welcome this sensation. It is regarded as a 'good' or 'positive' sign because the discomfort soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relaxation. The needling has caused the abnormal muscle shortening to intensify and then release and it is necessary to experience this sensation to gain lasting relief.

The effects of IMS are cumulative as needling stimulates the healing until the condition is healed and the pain disappears. Treatments are usually weekly and the number required will depend upon many factors. Katie Barnes will discuss this and answer any questions you may have about IMS before treatment is commenced.

Get in touch

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If you are not sure what treatment you require, please get in touch and one of the team can advise you.