What is TMS?

TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy uses a targeted magnetic field to stimulate areas of the brain that control mood and are thought to be underactive in people with depression. An insulated magnetic coil is placed on the forehead over the area of the brain believed to be underactive in patients suffering from depression. The coil emits brief magnetic pulses that stimulate cortical neurons in this area to help them return to normal function over the course of treatment and effectively treat the depressive illness.

What is the typical course of treatment?

TMS therapy is an in-office treatment that takes 18 minutes, is performed while the patient sits in a chair, and is administered five days a week, for up to four to six weeks. During each session, the patient reclines comfortably in the treatment chair, awake and alert. The TMS device delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain. There is a TV available with on-demand services if patients would like to watch their favorite shows while receiving treatment. The patient can immediately resume normal activities after each session.

Is TMS therapy safe?

Clinical trials of 10,000 treatments proved the safety of TMS Therapy in treating patients who have had an inadequate response to prior antidepressant medications. Since receiving FDA approval in 2008, more than 1,500,000 TMS treatments have been performed safely with minimal side effects.

What are the side effects of TMS?

TMS Therapy is free from the side effects often felt with medications. The most common side effect of TMS therapy is pain or discomfort around the treatment area, which usually goes away within a week.

Compare depression treatment side effects

Am I a good candidate for TMS?

You are a good candidate for TMS if you:
  • Have been identified with depression and have not benefited from prior medication
  • Have had side effects from antidepressant medications
  • Are searching for a medication-free depression solution
  • Want the safety of an FDA cleared depression solution
  • Want to get help

The best way to know if TMS is right for you is to fill out this Depression Questionnaire:

Take the evaluation

What is the difference between TMS and ECT?

During TMS, patients sit in a chair and are awake and alert throughout the entire procedure. Since there is no sedation, patients can travel unaccompanied to and from their treatment sessions. TMS is a non-convulsive procedure and has been shown to have no negative effects on memory function. In contrast, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also referred to as “shock therapy,” is invasive, requires inducing a seizure to exert its therapeutic effect, and therefore has to be delivered under general anesthesia. Short-term confusion and memory loss are common, but generally mild and transient side-effects. Anesthesia risks, cognitive side effects, pre-operative fasting and post-operative recovery can all make ECT a less attractive treatment option.

Does TMS cause memory loss?

No. TMS therapy was systematically evaluated for its effects on memory. Clinical trials demonstrated that TMS Therapy does not result in any negative effects on memory or concentration.

Does TMS cause brain tumors?

No; TMS Therapy uses the same strength and type of magnetic fields as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which have been used for tens of millions of patients worldwide and have not been shown to cause tumors. The magnetic energy used in a full course of TMS Therapy is only a small fraction of a single brain scan with an MRI.

How long do the TMS treatment results last?

The majority of participants are relieved of their depression symptoms for over 12 months.

Can I take antidepressant medication while receiving TMS?

Yes. TMS therapy can be safely used with or without antidepressant medications.

Will my insurance cover TMS Therapy?

TMS Therapy is covered to treat Major Depressive Disorder by most private insurers, and by Medicare and TRICARE.

See if you're covered
  • Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?

  • Enter your insurance to find out if TMS Therapy is covered by your provider.