How to Prepare for TMS Therapy

This article is going to cover everything you need to know to prepare for TMS therapy and will tell you what to expect.

transcranial magnetic stimulation (tms)

Article Contents

What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

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

How Does TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Differ From Other Techniques?

TMS differs from other techniques in several ways. First, TMS is non-invasive, meaning that there is no surgical procedure that needs to happen prior to therapy. This process improves the overall comfort of the therapy as well as reduces any associated risks.2

Additionally, TMS differs from other therapies as it is not used to induce seizures. Other forms of brain stimulation therapy attempt to deliberately cause seizures in the brain, in the hopes that it will “reset” certain parts of the brain. It can cause damage over time, and presents its own set of risks.

When Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Used?

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.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Types

When you are discussing TMS, two different types of stimulation are used. These are repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS). Each is explained below.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, is also known as traditional TMS. It involves repetitive electromagnetic pulses being sent into the brain to activate neurons within the brain. These pulses are sent about 1.5cm into the brain itself, meaning that the neurons being affected are closer to the skull and the scalp. These neurons then communicate with the rest of the brain, including the deep brain.

This form of TMS is more like a guided laser, targeting specific parts of the brain. Traditional TMS was FDA approved in 2008, and it has shown a high level of success in patients that undergo treatment.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS)

Like rTMS, dTMS sends repetitive pulses into the brain to stimulate electrical activity within the brain. However, dTMS can send pulses a bit further, allowing them to reach up to 4cm into the brain itself. It is here that the neurons are being stimulated, and allowing for communication with the rest of the brain once again.

Deep TMS, or dTMS, can send electromagnetic pulses deeper into the brain using a different form of technology. By doing so, it’s able to influence more of the brain, and it sees even higher success rates than rTMS. It was FDA approved in 2013, a few years after rTMS.

How to Prepare for TMS Therapy?

transcranial magnetic stimulation (tms)
Before you go in for TMS therapy, there are a number of things that you will need to do. Take a look at the checklist below before heading in for your first appointment.

Physical Exam

Just like with any other therapy, you will need to undergo a physical exam before having TMS therapy. TMS therapy requires that you sit in a single position for a slightly extended period (up to an hour). You’ll need to be able to do this for each appointment.

Psychiatric Evaluation

As TMS is used for mental illness treatment, you will need to be able to discuss your psychiatric state with them. You’ll be asked several questions by your doctor to help determine the severity of your mental illness, as well as the impact that it is having on your daily life. You will also need to be prepared to discuss the failure of prior therapies, like medication, or other brain stimulation therapies.

Preparation Before Your First Appointment

If you are getting ready for your first appointment, there are a few things you can do to prepare. First, come up with any questions you may have about the process and the therapy. Be ready to ask your doctor any and all questions you may have.3

Next, be sure to reach out to your support system for help. TMS is not an invasive procedure, and most patients see few, if any, side effects. Still, it is a new process, so you should be prepared to reach out for support then need be.

Finally, bring a bottle of water and general headache medicine to your first appointment, just in case you do feel the side effects. Do not worry, they go away quickly!

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Expectations

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.

Iris TMS Services

When you undergo TMS therapy with Iris Healing, you can be sure that you’re receiving the proper care. We only use FDA-certified devices, like the Apollo, CloudTMS, and Nexstim devices that are popular around the world. We deliver luxury therapy options at an affordable price. If you are looking to get started with TMS therapy, be sure to give us a call today. We’ll be able to set you up with an appointment and get you on the road to recovery.

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