Acupuncture Therapy - Dry Needling - Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)

Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into the body. When performed correctly, it can produce a physiological therapeutic effect. Our Physiotherapists at EastWest Physiotherapy Burnaby may use Acupuncture Therapy to treat you. Acupuncture can help decrease your pain, inflammation, and muscle tension. Another benefit of using acupuncture therapy is to regulate the nervous system.

When an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin, it produces a local stimulus on the nerve. This stimulus then travels into the spinal cord, and to the brain. The stimulus alters hormones such as cortisol and endorphins. As a result, the pain signal changes in the brain. The release of cortisol from the adrenal gland can also help decrease inflammation.

Acupuncture therapy also releases pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin from the central nervous system. It can help with inflammation due to:


Traditional Acupuncture Therapy uses specific acupuncture points along meridians in the body. If there are any blockages along these meridians, pathological conditions can occur.

Acupuncture therapy can unblock the meridians and allow the free flow of qi and blood.

Specific acupuncture points in the body can restore homeostasis, optimizing recovery potential.


Scalp Acupuncture, also known as Head Acupuncture, is a modern form of Acupuncture. It blends Western anatomical knowledge on brain function, and traditional Eastern acupuncture techniques. It is used to treat disorders related to the central and peripheral nervous system.

By using Acupuncture needles on the scalp, specific areas of the brain can be stimulated. These regions in the scalp can be responsible for different body areas. They can also affect movement, sensation, balance, vision, and/or speech.

Scalp Acupuncture treatment can be beneficial for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those who have TBI may experience light and/or sound sensitivity, headaches, dizziness, memory loss, and/or problems with speech. They may also suffer from widespread pain and discomfort. Scalp Acupuncture can affect areas of the brain responsible for these dysfunctions.

Scalp Acupuncture is also used to aid the rehabilitation of other neurological conditions.

These include paralysis, stroke, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease.

Our Burnaby Physiotherapists were very fortunate to learn from Dr. Jason Jishun Hao. He is one of the early Scalp Acupuncturists who was educated by the founders of Scalp Acupuncture in China, Dr. Jiao Shun-Fa.


Dry Needling is a form of Intramuscular stimulation using acupuncture needles. It can be extremely beneficial for those who have chronic muscle tension and pain. You may have tried other treatments like massage and stretching but still, feel pain. Dry Needling/Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) can be quite effective. It can treat the source (hypersensitive nerve points) and the symptomatic regions (i.e. tender muscle knots, pain points)

To break down Dry Needling therapy, 3 types of points are used. They can be used in isolation or combined.

Our Physiotherapists use homeostatic acupuncture points to improve the body’s self-healing potential.

Paraspinal acupuncture points are used to help to stimulate the nerves along the spine. These points can affect the muscles, joints, and ligaments at that spinal level. For example, stimulating C5, 6, and 7 regions of the neck can help with shoulder, arm, and hand pain.

Adding the symptomatic acupuncture points on the area of injury creates a micro-trauma. This can help promote blood circulation to kick start the healing process. For example, these acupuncture points can help a stubborn painful sprained thumb.

Dry needling/intramuscular stimulation (IMS) can be used depending on your condition, tolerance, and need.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

If you have never had acupuncture therapy before, you may be wondering what it feels like.

Acupuncture needles come in different lengths and thickness. The use depends on the area of treatment. The needles are thin and smooth, and much smaller than a syringe. This allows the needles to penetrate easily, minimizing pain upon insertion.

Generally, it feels like a small prick or nothing at all when the needle is inserted. When the needle makes contact with an acupuncture point, you may report feelings of:

The ‘pain’ will gradually subside afterward. Your Physiotherapist may stimulate the needle again to activate and enhance the effect of that point.

Our clients report a sense of relaxation from acupuncture therapy. Your pain may ease up a bit and/or muscle tension decrease.

At EastWest Physiotherapy Burnaby, we will assess if this acupuncture therapy is appropriate for you.

Call 604 398 2936 and speak to any of our staff to learn more or schedule an appointment.

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