Bonavista Physical Therapy Calgary Acupuncture & Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

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What's the Difference Between TCM Acupuncture & IMS (Dry Needling)?

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – a system of integrative medicine originating in ancient China. Acupuncture involves using needles that penetrate the skin to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional conditions. The number of acupuncture points treated depends on the type of condition/symptoms that are being treated. Physical therapists are trained and licensed to use acupuncture within their scope of practice and will use this tool primarily to treat orthopaedic and musculoskeletal conditions/symptoms.

Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) or dry needling, is the treatment of chronic pain of neuropathic origin using an acupuncture needle to stimulate a muscle. This type of chronic pain is often the result of shortened muscle(s). These shortened muscles can result in pain in the involved muscle(s) and/or at the joint(s) that those muscles affect or move. IMS will “relax” the muscle by needle stimulation as well as heal or normalize the nerve pathways. The goal is to release tight muscles which can press on and irritate nerves. This technique can be very effective in promoting long term relief in chronically tight and painful muscles.

IMS and Acupuncture Can Help With

A woman touches her temple as she experiences pain from a headache
Joint Pain
Restricted ROM/Mobility
Muscle Pain & Spasm
Decreased Strength
Neck & Back Pain
Tight Muscles
Tendon Problems
Chronic Pain
Musculoskeletal Pain

Acupuncture & IMS Treatment

An acupuncturist inserts a number of needles into a patient's back

TCM acupuncture treatments involve the use of thin-gauge sterile needles inserted through the skin at specific prescribed points along 12 different meridians (lines) on the body. The number and location of the points treated are determined from a detailed patient history and examination, along with the patient’s subjective complaints. Often times, needles are placed in locations that may not be in the area of symptom complaint.

The location and number of acupuncture points used during a treatment session is determined by the condition being treated, the chronicity of the condition/symptoms, as well as other ongoing medical conditions and symptoms.

IMS acupuncture (dry needling) involves the use of one acupuncture needle at a time, inserted into tight and/or painful areas of muscle in order to make the muscle react/twitch/contract, and then subsequently relax and lengthen afterwards.

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COVID-19 Safety

At Bonavista Physiotherapy, our number one priority is the safety and wellness of our clients and staff. Your acupuncturist will always strictly abide by the guidelines and recommendations dictated by the Alberta Government and our various other regulatory bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation is always evolving, but acupuncture is now open for in-person care, and we look forward to seeing you mask to mask! If you have any questions about our COVID-Safety procedures, don’t hesitate to Contact Us, and we will be happy to answer any questions!

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Benefits of Acupuncture & IMS

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  • Decreased Pain
  • Decreased Muscle Spasm/Tightness
  • Increased ROM/Mobility
  • Improved Strength & Function
  • Wellbeing and relaxation
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Customer Reviews

Google Review

I’m not one for writing online reviews, but this place is outstanding! Great customer service! Sarah my therapist was awesome; super knowledgeable...

Rhea McCaroll
Google Review

Bonavista Physical Therapy is excellent. It is our family's "go to" place for any physio or massage therapy. They have helped us recover from numerous...

Mary Cook
Google Review

They have helped me to rehabilitate successfully from two neck fusions and restored the ability to take care of my children. Definitely a group you can trust...

Dave McGillivray

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Over the past 3 years, we’ve compared our stats to 16.9 million assessments and 19,600 clinicians in over 4,200 clinics. Find out more with Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO).

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