Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a form of brain stimulation therapy. In TMS, electromagnetic pulses are used to stimulate the inactive nerves in the brain. It does so by using electromagnetism. As magnetic fields are changed rapidly, electrical currents are produced in the brain. This process helps to stimulate nerve cells that otherwise would remain dormant.1
TMS is used when other therapies have not been able to help a patient. Often, more traditional therapies are used, like medicines and operations. When these treatments fail, TMS can be another option. It often helps with severe depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse problems, and other mental illnesses. TMS has also been used to treat Parkinson’s disease and anxiety disorders.
TMS therapy is non-invasive, and it is unlike many other brain stimulation therapies. When you go into your therapy, you can expect to sit in a comfortable chair for up to an hour. Some doctors will encourage you to bring headphones, or even a blanket, for an added layer of comfort.
When considering the expectations surrounding results, it’s going to differ from patient to patient. Some see results in as little as two weeks. However, most see results in four to five weeks, with increasing effect as the therapy continues.