About Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy
Since the 1980s, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and on to the muscles. In the late 1990s, physicians began to explore the therapeutic potential of TMS for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date. Since then, more than 20 randomized, controlled trials studying TMS as a treatment for depression have been published by researchers throughout the world.
TMS Therapy is:
- Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
- Non-systemic, meaning it does not effect other areas of the body like medications can.
TMS Therapy is an FDA cleared and scientifically accepted treatment for an increasing array of mental and physical health issues including:
What Does TMS Do?
Through a treatment coil, the TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which are rapidly switched on and off. These magnetic fields do not directly affect the whole brain; they only reach a few centimeters into the brain, directly beneath the treatment coil.
TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation refers to a medical treatment which is delivered by a device that generates changing magnetic fields. There are many devices which can be used by clinicians. At present, in general, the devices are positioned over the area of the brain which has been targeted by the clinician. For depression, this area is the prefrontal cortex of the brain. These magnetic fields can create electrical activity in the nerve cells. At the present time, the mechanism of action is not known, but could be related to this direct electric activity or indirect neurotransmitter effects in the brain. Regardless of the mechanism, it is well accepted by researchers and clinicians, that the magnetic stimulation effects not only the targeted area, the prefrontal cortex, but also the connected areas of the brain, the cingulate, amygdala, hypothalamus, and thalamus.