What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation “TMS” has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated procedure that can be an effective treatment for patients with depression who have not benefitted from antidepressant medications or cannot tolerate antidepressant medications due to side-effects. TMS is a non-invasive method of brain stimulation that relies on electromagnetic induction using an insulated coil placed over the scalp, focused on an area of the brain thought to play a role in mood regulation. The coil generates brief magnetic pulses, which pass easily and painlessly through the skull and into the brain. The pulses generated are of the same type and strength as those generated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. When these pulses are administered in rapid succession, it is referred to as “repetitive TMS “ or “rTMS”, which can produce longer lasting changes in brain activity. Though the biology of why TMS works isn’t completely understood, the stimulation appears to impact how the brain is working, which in turn seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood.

TMS was FDA-cleared in 2008 for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and is now more widely available. There are different ways to perform the procedure, and techniques may change as experts learn more about the most effective ways to perform treatments. Another TMS technique has been approved for OCD. Clinical studies are showing promising findings in TMS treatment for PTSD, anxiety, and Bipolar Depression (though these are not currently FDA approved.) TMS is exciting because you can return to normal activities right away, you are awake during treatment, there are no negative effects on memory or sleep, and it’s covered by most health insurance plans.

There are a handful of manufacturers of TMS machines. Axon TMS exclusively utilizes Neurostar TMS machines because they are comfortable, effective, and reliable.

How NeuroStar TMS Therapy™ Works

NeuroStar transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) provides targeted treatment to locations in the brain that are less active in individuals with depression. TMS works according to Faraday’s Law; the TMS magnet generates energy in the brain similarly to how a magnet charges your phone.

During a NeuroStar TMS treatment session, a magnet that is comparable in intensity to that used in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is used to revive nerve cells in the area of the brain believed to control mood. These magnetic pulses may have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, making long-term remission possible.