Acupuncture is a therapeutic method used to encourage natural healing, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. Unlike IMS (intramuscular stimulation), or dry needling, where needles are inserted directly into the muscle, Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles through the skin and tissues at specific points on the body. There is no injection of any substance and the treatment itself causes minimal discomfort. "Anatomical" acupuncture refers to a more modern approach taken today by the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute (AFCI). When combined with knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, therapists can use acupuncture effectively to treat a variety of painful disorders, both acute and chronic.
Physiotherapists may use acupuncture as the sole treatment technique or they may use it in conjunction with other forms of treatment.