A few years ago I posted this article (What is IMS acupuncture? Intramuscular Stimulation vs Traditional Acupuncture) on my blog largely as a resource for my clients, because inevitably, about three needles into treatment, clients would ask “how is this different from acupuncture again?” What started as a patient education piece turned into a learning experience for me, in that I discovered how different groups of people had strong and differing opinions about the technique I was using and how I chose to explain it. I had entered the turf war of dry needling. Some acupuncturists were telling me that IMS simply was acupuncture, while others were telling me that my explanation was ‘just bollocks,’ and I should stop misleading people. Meanwhile a retired physician and an aging physiotherapist were telling me that dry needling had been ‘debunked years ago,’ but local physicians and hundreds of previous clients were actively referring patients and friends to me specifically for IMS treatment. It is an interesting time in the world of treating people’s pain!
I learned to perform IMS (intramuscular stimulation) from its’ originator and guru in his field, retired physician, Dr. Chan Gunn in 2008. At the time, I did not know the history of dry needling or the fact that Dr. Gunn had been praised for his work by some and criticized by others, but in my mind, the innovators that stir the pot of the status quo are the ones worth following. I happened to live and work in Vancouver, the city that Dr. Gunn ran his training center called iSTOP (Institute for the Study & Treatment of Pain) which resulted in Vancouver having the most IMS practitioners than anywhere in the world simply due to the ease of access of training. It wasn’t research articles validating the effects of IMS that drew me to iSTOP, it was working in a renowned physiotherapy clinic alongside experienced therapists that were using IMS every day with great results that made me sign up as soon as I met iSTOP’s prerequisites. Read More