Course Information

Please check our calendar for Course Dates. Print out an IMS Gunn Application Form 2017

Abstract: “Intramuscular Stimulation: An Effective Treatment for Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes and neuropathic dysfuction.”

We offer a two-part course; Part 1 is a four-day course and Part 2 is another three-day practical course focusing on problem solving with case studies and discussion.

This is a course on Intramuscular Stimulation for physicians and physiotherapists wishing to treat musculoskeletal radiculopathic pain in a neuropathic model. Upon successful completion, participants will be able to practice a comprehensive system of diagnosis and treatment of neuropathic myofascial pain syndromes.

The format for the course will include lectures, demonstrations, group practical sessions, written and practical examinations on Anatomy and Theory of IMS. Following independent study, there is a three day course (Part 2) to be completed at 3-6 months after completing Part 1 but no longer than one year after completing Part 1.  The dates for the Part 2 course will be announced when the class quota for Part 1 has been met.

Curriculum Outline

The following is a recommended curriculum framework for the training of physicians and physiotherapists licensed to practice needling techniques within their scope of practice, in the dry-needling technique of Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS).

It is the responsibility of the registrant to determine that:

  • the employment of this technique is within their scope of practice, and
  • the accreditation procedures are suitable for their requirements.

The curriculum has been designed so that healthcare providers who complete the program will achieve a uniform knowledge and skill base.

Skills and Knowledge Acquisition

Each module’s objectives define the specific skills and knowledge that are necessary for the practitioner to make sound and informed judgments in the assessment and management of musculoskeletal disorders of neuropathic origin.

Instructional Methods
  • Prior to Part 1, students will do Independent Study of anatomy and the required reading as supplied
  • Lecture / Demonstration
  • Small group discussions
  • Demonstrations and Practical sessions: examination, needling, anatomy review
  • Examination – written & practical during Part 1 and Part 2 of the course

a) anatomy (Skeletal, muscular, vascular and neural)
NOTE: participants need to ensure that they are prepared to do this exam on the first day of the course

b) GunnIMS theory

c) GunnIMS clinical examination and needling techniques

  • Part 2 will be held at UBC Gunn IMS. Cost for this is included in the cost of the instructional course.
  • Materials Provided to Participants:
  • Course binder and handouts, all necessary needling supplies
Not provided:
  • Textbook “The Gunn Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Intramuscular Stimulation for Myofascial Pain of Radiculopathic Origin” by Professor C. Chan Gunn with a foreword by Professor Patrick D. Wall, 2nd Edition, Hardcover, Churchill Livingstone 1996, ISBN 0443054223
  • This is available through Amazon
Evaluation Instruments
  • Written Examination and Clinical Examination during Part 1
  • During Part 2 there is ongoing assessment of anatomy, surface anatomy, needling technique, examination skills to determine neuropathic findings, and safe needling technique
  • Each student should be prepared to do a case presentation on neuropathic assessment and treatment plan
  • Module Objectives
The practitioner will gain knowledge of:

i) The anatomy and physiology of pain

ii) The Three Phases of Pain – immediate, acute and chronic.

iii) Three common causes of chronic pain –

  • ongoing nociception/inflammation,
  • psychogenic, and
  • neuropathy. (Cannon’s Law and Denervation Supersensitivity)

iv) Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain of Neuropathic Origin.

v) Clinical Manifestations

  • Sensory
  • Motor (Consequences of Muscle Shortening – Contractures; pain in muscle caused by shortening/spasm in striated muscle; vasoconstriction caused by shortening in vascular smooth muscle. The large variety of pain syndromes caused by the mechanical pull of shortened muscles, including spondylosis and the prolapsed intervertebral disc)
  • Autonomic
  • Trophic (Changes & Collagen Degradation in neuropathy)

The practitioner will gain an understanding of the principles of IMS for chronic neuropathic pain, and be initiated into elementary IMS needling techniques. In addition, clinical features of neuropathic pain will be demonstrated through patient presentations.

i) Review the therapeutic applications of:

  • Reflex Stimulation
  • Local injury / inflammation caused by needle therapy
  • The Current of Injury Healing
  • Platelet Derived Growth Factor

ii) The importance of:

  • Muscle Shortening and its release
  • Vasoconstriction and its reversal

iii) Implications of taut bands in Paraspinal Muscles. Radiculopathic Dysfunction and the necessity for the release of shortened paraspinal muscles in spondylotic conditions such as disc degeneration.

iv) Response in Long Standing Disorders e.g., osteoarthritis.

v) Basic Needle technique:

  • Sterilization – Importance of asepsis.
  • Demonstration and practice: Vasovagal reactions.
  • Choice of Needles
  • Finding Points
  • Using Point Finder or Neurometer
  • Needle Insertion Technique
  • Finding short/taut muscle bands and releasing them

Examination – written (anatomy and theory), to be given at the end of the theoretical portion of the course.


1. Students to demonstrate an understanding of GunnIMS theory and Neuropathic examination technique.

2. Be aware of indications and contra-indications for the use of GunnIMS.

3. Demonstrate Assessment Technique which shows safe and accurate location of bony landmarks, soft tissue, internal organs and awareness of areas of potential danger when needling.

4. Demonstrate safe and effective needling techniques:

  • Patient preparation
  • Sterile and clean needling handling
  • Accurate and safe needle placement insertion and withdrawal
  • Monitor and ensure patients comfort at all times (e.g. position, fear, reaction to needles)
  • Dispose of needle and treatment by products in a safe manner (keep work space clear)

5. Demonstrate good clinical reasoning and treatment planning and progression as applies to neuropathic conditions.


1. All participants will be required to bring a case scenario in written format to be handed in or you may
also have it in Power Point presentation format.

2. Whichever format you choose, you must bring a photo showing FULL POSTURAL VIEW of anterior, posterior and lateral aspect of your subject.

3. Present history, identify neuropathic findings which justify treating with GunnIMS and discuss treatment planning




This course is only available for those practitioners of IMS who have completed GunnIMS Part I; Practicum Part II and have been practicing IMS for at least 3 years.


The objective of this course is to review and expand our existing theory , IMS skills and treatment development for those engaged in active IMS practice.


Class size will be limited to 16 participants.  Assessment skills will be reviewed in demonstration form of actual patient (patients).  Initial treatment will be demonstrated.  Treatment planning will be discussed.  All areas of needling including those “at risk” areas will be addressed.


The Gunn Approach to the Treatment Of Chronic Pain (second edition)

C . Chan Gunn (Churchill Livingstone) pg.1 to 49

Lecturers / Demonstrators / Examiners

  • Professor C. Chan Gunn, MD, PhD, UBC Gunn IMS Founder & President
  • Ms. Joanne McBrinn, PT
  • Mr. Gordon Bohlmann PT
  • Mr. Thomas Roundhill
  • Ms. Susan Massitti
  • Mr. Cory Choma
  • Ms. Lorrie Maffee
  • Dr. Jeffrey Friedman
  • Ms. Mina Kavia
  • others