What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS; also known as repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or rTMS) is an FDA-approved therapy that allows doctors to treat both mental health and physical conditions that have been particularly resistant to other forms of treatment such as medications or psychotherapy.
In this non-invasive procedure, a patient will have a device placed on their forehead while they recline in a comfortable chair. From there, a clinical specialist will use the TMS device to create a magnetic pulse that painlessly stimulates a very specific part of the brain. For many people, transcranial magnetic stimulation is the only treatment able give them relief from conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and more.
Many people compare TMS to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). While these two treatments may seem similar, TMS offers several advantages. Patients undergoing TMS do not have to be sedated, nor do they experience seizures associated with ECT. As TMS does not use anesthesia, patients can go about their day immediately after treatment. Finally, TMS does not have the extensive and severe side-effects associated with ECT (e.g., memory loss); new research shows that TMS may even be healthy for the brain. At TMS & Brain Health, we specialize in Express TMS, an updated version of TMS which can work in just 3 minutes.
How Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Can Help With Depression and Mood Disorders
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can treat a wide variety of mental health and physical conditions. For many, TMS is a last-resort treatment that can offer results when other methods of treatments have failed. However, new research is showing that TMS may be a better option than most antidepressants because of the substantially safer side-effect profile. It is not uncommon for patients to try TMS after experiencing undesirable side-effects from medications.
Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Safe?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe and noninvasive procedure that allows patients to be treated painlessly and without sedation. In fact, TMS has fewer side-effects than most medications. There are some cases in which TMS would not be an appropriate option. For instance, patients with the following would not be appropriate for TMS. Those patients can inquire about the safety of ketamine infusions:
- Metal in or around the head
- Vagus Nerve Stimulators
- History of dementia and/or stroke
- Implanted cardioverter defibrillator
Types of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
There are currently two types of transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments. Both are able to address the same conditions and concerns while remaining a painless and fast procedure.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Traditional TMS requires that patients come in for treatment sessions that can last anywhere from 20-40 minutes. During the session, patients recline in a chair while the device is attached to their forehead and their treatment is administered.
Patients report feeling a light tapping sensation on their forehead, which is a result of the electromagnetic pulses being transmitted through the brain. This sensation, however, is not painful and patients are free to read, text, watch videos, or chat during treatment.
Express Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Express TMS sessions allow patients to get the same benefits as 30-40 minute sessions of traditional TMS without needing to spend so much time in the office. Each Express TMS session is around 3 minutes, giving the patient more flexibility in their schedule to continue regularly with their treatment. Express TMS is the most scientifically advanced iteration of TMS.
Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS)
Deep TMS sessions take between 20-30 minutes and are named such because many people believe that the stimulation can penetrate to deeper areas of the brain. However, Deep TMS stimulates a significantly greater portion of the brain and can be uncomfortable or painful for many patients.
The Results of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has given many patients the results they’ve been seeking: profound relief from their chronic conditions.
Patients and providers tend to explore a number of other therapies before TMS becomes an option, usually because they are unaware of how effective TMS can be. Patients with treatment-resistant depression who do choose TMS treatments can experience symptom relief that traditional medicine could not offer.
“TMS brought hope back to my daily life, without the horrible side-effects from medication.”
– JENNIFER S.
“TMS completely cured me of my depression, anxiety and PTSD.”
– JEREMY S.
“TMS has been incredibly helpful for me! TMS has helped me with depression, anxiety and my overall energy levels. It has given me the ability to focus better and accomplish more… I highly recommend it to anyone struggling with depression!”
– MICHAEL M.
“TMS works! I don’t feel the weight of depression anymore. Thank you for this service. It’s helped me a lot!”
– REINA A.
Possible Side Effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive procedure that offers many benefits and fewer side effects than you might think.
Some of the most common side effects for TMS include:
- Scalp pain
- Discomfort at the treatment site
For more information about how transcranial magnetic stimulation could help you, or to schedule your consult at TMS & Brain Health, please contact us.