TMS Therapy

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS) is a non-invasive, non-drug, FDA-cleared treatment for individuals diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from 1 prior anti-depressant medication at/or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.

This breakthrough treatment uses highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain known to control mood. TMS Therapy causes neurons to become active thereby stimulating brain activity. Over 300,000 TMS Therapy treatments have been safely performed on over 12,000 patients throughout the United States. Brain scan imaging has allowed medical experts to objectively identify these specific areas of the brain as underactive in people who are experiencing depression.

FDA clinical trials showed that 2 out of every 3 patients reported a reduction in depression symptoms at the completion of the acute phase of TMS Therapy. TMS NeuroHealth Center studies showed that 3 out of every 4 patients reported a reduction in depression symptoms at the completion of the acute phase of TMS Therapy.

On average, patients return for maintenance therapy after approximately 8-12 months. This time frame varies by patient. Patients that have suffered from severe cases of depression may need to return for treatment after a few months, whereas other patients have not returned for maintenance therapy for a full three years.  We encourage patients to contact us immediately if they feel their depression symptoms returning.


  • Non-drug – No drug related side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, digestive distress, insomnia, fatigue or dry mouth.
  • Non-surgical – Patients remain awake and alert during treatment and at the conclusion of each treatment session, patients can immediately return to their normal routine, including driving.
  • Non-systemic – Nothing enters the body or the bloodstream.
  • Minimal side effects  – Minor scalp irritation/discomfort, minor twitching around the eye, toothache, minor twitching of facial muscles, mild to moderate headache. These side effects were limited to the treatment session itself and not experienced afterwards.


TMS Therapy is well tolerated and has been proven to be safe in clinical trials. After 10,000 active treatments performed in clinical trials, the most common side effect associated with TMS Therapy is localized scalp pain or discomfort at or near the treatment area – generally mild to moderate.

There is a rare risk of seizure associated with TMS Therapy (0.1% per acute treatment course).

Over 10,000 active treatments were performed across all NeuroStar® clinical trials demonstrating its safety.1

  • No systemic side effects
  • No weight gain
  • No sexual dysfunction
  • No sedation
  • No nausea
  • No dry mouth
  • No drug interactions

Possible Side Effects

Scalp discomfort, minor twitching around the eye, toothache, minor twitching of facial muscles, and mild to moderate headache. Side Effects have been limited to the treatment session only and are not experienced afterwards.

Typical Treatment

Doctor Treating Patient

Typical Treatment Course:

  • An average of 20-30 total treatments
  • Conducted over a 4-6 week period
  • 5 treatments per week
  • Each treatment session lasting approximately 30-40 minutes

Patient’s First Treatment Session:

  • The TMS Therapy care provider will first perform a preliminary motor threshold test of the patient’s right thumb. This test is important in identifying the magnetic field strength that will be used during treatment. The motor threshold is the amount of magnetic field strength that results in a body movement, and it is customized for each patient to deliver the correct and required treatment dose.
  • The TMS Therapy care provider will then determine the placement sites on the patient’s head where the TMS Therapy will be applied. The treatment coil will be placed at that location, allowing patients to receive optimal treatment.
  • The TMS Therapy care provider will then administer TMS Therapy over a 30-40 minute period. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid “pulses” of the magnetic fields. Pulses will feel like light tapping on the scalp. The technician can make adjustments if the taping is uncomfortable.
  • The first session could last up to 1 1/2 hours giving the TMS Therapy care provider additional time to perform the above described motor threshold test.

More Treatment Details:

      • TMS NeuroHealth Centers strives to provide the most comfortable patient experience during each treatment session. Staff will offer the patient a choice of watching TV, listening to their favorite music or simply just relaxing.
      • Patients recline in a comfortable treatment chair remaining awake and alert throughout each treatment session. At all times, patients are able to communicate with a physician or staff member.
      • Each treatment involves the gentle placement of a small magnetic arm against the patient’s head.
      • During TMS Therapy, patients feel a tingling sensation on their scalp, which is rarely reported as uncomfortable.
      • Patients will hear a tapping noise when the magnetic pulse is applied, so earplugs are provided to make the patient experience more comfortable.
      • During or after treatment, a patient might experience a mild headache or discomfort at the site of stimulation. These can be common and usually improve as further treatments are administered. If necessary, an over-the-counter painkiller may be taken. If mild headaches persist, the TMS NeuroHealth Center physician can reduce the strength of the magnetic field pulses to make treatment more comfortable.

    • At the conclusion of each treatment session, patients can immediately return to their normal routine, including driving.
    • In clinical trials, most patients who benefited from TMS Therapy experienced results by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. Depression symptoms should be discussed with our center’s physician throughout the treatment course.


Doctors from different TMS Centers around the United States answer questions about TMS Therapy and share their experiences.

Featured Video: TMS Therapy – Dr. Niku Singh

TMS Therapy – What to Expect

TMS Therapy – Clinical Evidence

TMS Therapy – Mechanism of Action (How it Works)

TMS Therapy – Overall Summary

TMS Therapy – The Unmet Need of Depression

Patient Education Video

Martha Rhodes and Dr. Pardell video

Patient Experience Video

TMS Therapy – Positive Results with no side effects

Is TMS Right for Me?

TMS therapy is an appropriate treatment option for adult patients with Major Depressive Disorder(MMD) who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at/or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode. TMS Therapy was safely administered with and without other antidepressant medication.

Speak with one of our caring representatives to find out more:  1-855-333-4TMS (4867)

Patients Who Cannot Use TMS Therapy:

Patients with implanted metallic devices or removable metallic objects in or around the head are not candidates for TMS Therapy.  Speak with one of our caring center representatives to clarify:  1-855-333-4TMS (4867)

Other Conditions that can Coexist with Depression

Depression – a condition of intense sadness and despair for an extended period of time with no obvious environmental causes, or because of a reaction to a traumatic life event.

Anxiety – a constant state of fear or worry; a state of apprehension and tension

Bipolar Disorder – a psychiatric condition in which a person has extreme mood swings between manic episodes and depression; the condition may also have some form of hallucinations and delusions

Perinatal and Postpartum Depression – a long lasting condition of depression, which can occur between conception and after the baby, is born

Auditory Hallucinations – a person perceiving sounds without auditory stimuli such as hearing voices, hearing one or more voices arguing, or a person hearing a voice narrating his or her own actions

Migraine – a common type of recurrent headache lasting 2 to 72 hours that may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light.

Chronic Pain – constant or frequently occurring physical suffering or distress due to injury or illness

Fibromyalgia – a syndrome characterized by fatigue and chronic pain in the muscles and in tissues surrounding the joints

Tinnitus – a ringing sensation or sound in the ear

History of TMS

  • Since the 1980s, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS Therapy) has been used to study the nerve fibers that carry information about movements from the brain to the spinal cord and onto the muscles. In the late 1990s, physicians began to explore the therapeutic potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of a variety of diseases, with depression being the most thoroughly studied to date.
  • More than 30 randomized, controlled trials studying Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a treatment for depression have been published by investigators throughout the world.1,2
  • In 2008, NeuroStar TMS Therapy® was FDA-cleared for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medications.2