What Happens During a TMS Session?

What Happens During a TMS Session?

If you suffer from depression, you may feel like you’re all alone. But the fact is, depression affects millions of people, and today, there are more treatments than ever that can help.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive therapy that has helped many people, even when other therapies, such as medication and psychotherapy, haven’t helped reduce depression symptoms. Performed in the office, TMS is painless and requires no sedation or anesthesia. 

The team at Bowman Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California, has extensive experience using TMS therapy to help patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression. If your provider recommends TMS for your symptoms, here’s how it works and what you can expect during your sessions.

How TMS works

Our team uses the NeuroStar® TMS system, which is the first TMS device approved by the FDA for treatment of treatment-resistant depression. TMS uses magnetic energy waves to produce electrical currents inside the brain, which helps stimulate nerve cells that regulate mood.

These nerve cells release chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, each of which helps manage mood. In addition, therapy optimizes circulation in the brain and prompts the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a chemical that helps brain cells communicate with each other.

Together, these effects can help relieve the symptoms of depression even when medications prove ineffective. More recently, NeuroStar received FDA approval for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is a mental health disorder that can occur on its own or in combination with depression.

What to expect during a TMS session

TMS sessions are performed right in our office, with each session lasting less than a half hour. We recommend daily sessions for five days a week for a period of 5-6 weeks for maximum benefits. 

During your session, you sit and relax in a comfortable chair, and your provider places a special device on your head. The device rests on your scalp, near the area where stimulation is needed to help counteract the symptoms of depression. 

As the device emits its controlled doses of magnetic energy, you may feel or hear gentle “tapping” as the magnetic energy is released. After your session, there’s no downtime, and you can resume your regular activities right away.

At the beginning of your therapy, you may have some scalp tingling or mild headaches for a brief period after treatment. These effects typically only occur after the first few sessions as the body adjusts to treatment.

Learn more about TMS

TMS has proven to be very effective for many people with treatment-resistant depression, but it’s not always the best choice of therapy. For instance, TMS isn’t appropriate for anyone with a pacemaker or metal implants in the head or neck. It’s also not a good choice for pregnant women or for people who have seizure disorders.

If you’re suffering from depression and medication hasn’t helped, TMS is an option worth exploring. To learn more about TMS and how it can help manage treatment-resistant depression, call 310-933-3501 to book an appointment with Bowman Medical Group today.

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