Acupuncture, which can be used to treat a broad range of conditions and is a treatment that encourages the patient’s body to cure itself, is one of the oldest medical procedures in the world. It has its origins in China, more than 2500 years ago.
In acupuncture, the nerves in the skin and muscles are stimulated by the penetration of thin, metallic, solid needles at anatomic points also known as acupuncture points or acupoints and this produces a wide variety of effects. One of these effects is to cause the system to increase the release of natural painkillers. These natural painkillers, endorphin and serotonin, are released in the pain pathway of the brain and the spinal cord causing the pain signals to be modified and ultimately reduced.
IMS is a relatively new technique developed within the last 30 years or so. It involves the use of an acupuncture needle but instead of “sitting still” the needle is manipulated by the therapist within the tight muscle(s). The effect can be fairly dramatic and immediate in releasing chronic muscle shortening and improving range of motion. When combined with manual therapy and exercise (which is how we do it), the combination of techniques are quite effective for restoring pain-free range of motion.