Frequently asked questions
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a procedure used to improve the symptoms of depression.
It is non-invasive and is an outpatient procedure.
An electromagnetic coil is placed against the head, and a painless magnetic pulse then stimulates the area of the brain that regulates mood. This activates the pathways of the brain that are associated with being more happy, relaxed and more content. A single happy thought activates this pathway once. A single session of TMS will practice that positive pathway 3-5,00 times. The more your brain practises these positive pathways the easier it is for your brain to feel happiness.
This video explains how TMS works:
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) are essentially the same thing. TMS is single pulse, whilst rTMS is repetitive.
During rTMS (repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) you will be sat still in a comfortable purpose-built reclined chair, with your head leaning back for around 30 minutes. The treatment is administered using a magnetic coil which is positioned on the scalp. It is non-invasive and pain free. Some patients may feel a slight tingling or experience a mild headache at the beginning of the treatment.
rTMS works by using magnetic stimulation to stimulate areas of the brain responsible for mood. The brain works by emitting electrical pulses to the nervous system. rTMS enhances this natural process by increasing the amount of electrical pulses produced. The rTMS machine uses a coil of wire, encased in plastic. The current is passed from the device into specific areas of the brain safely and without pain.
rTMS is a highly effective treatment for depression. Our partner, The London Psychiatry Centre
, has produced results in which 63% of patients, who were unable to achieve results with medication, achieved full recovery within six weeks.
Numerous trials, studies, peer reviewed articles and successfully treated patients have confirmed that rTMS treatment for depression is safe. The treatment is pain free and the risk of side effects is almost none. rTMS uses non-invasive magnetic energy to improve brain function.
rTMS is not like ECT treatment; there is no ‘seizure’ created in the brain with rTMS. Instead a mild magnetic current is targeted to a specific area. Unlike ECT, rTMS is an outpatient procedure with no down time. Whilst a general anaesthetic is required for ECT, rTMS requires no medication and the treatment is more targeted than ECT. rTMS causes no memory impairment.
The side effects of rTMS treatment are minimal. There is no need for anaesthetic or medication. Short term side effects can include mild tingling or headaches at the site of the treatment. There is a very small risk of seizure, but during 10,000 treatments at the University of Michigan, not one seizure was reported.
There is no downtime required after rTMS. Patients are able to carry on with their day as soon as the treatment is completed.
rTMS is more effective at treating medication resistant depression than traditional methods such as antidepressants or cognitive behavioural therapy. The chances of recovery with these treatments are around 1/3. Whereas, with rTMS, 2/3 of patients recovered fully within six weeks. With maintenance, rTMS will continue to be effective long after the original treatment period.