Doctor taking blood pressure of patient.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

At Providence, we understand that many patients with major depressive disorder find it difficult to regain their quality of life from talk and/or medication therapies alone. This is why we offer an advanced and FDA-approved treatment: transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS therapy, is a non-invasive treatment for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The treatment uses gentle, highly focused, magnetic pulses – similar to those used in MRI screenings, to produce changes in brain activity.

Symptoms of MDD are often caused by a decrease in brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that helps regulate mood. TMS therapy delivers targeted magnetic pulses with pinpoint accuracy to stimulate the prefrontal cortex. The increase in neural activity helps improve mood and manage symptoms of depression.

For some people with MDD, standard treatments are not effective. TMS is typically prescribed when patients have not been helped by medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is delivered through a small electromagnetic generator that rests on the patient’s head. The device emits rapid magnetic pulses that painlessly pass through the skull and stimulate brain activity.

Patients remain awake and alert during TMS therapy sessions, which take about 20-30 minutes to complete. Patients can resume normal activities immediately after a session.

A trained technician closely supervises treatment. A full treatment consists of multiple sessions per week over several weeks. The effects of TMS increase as treatment progresses. Some patients may need occasional, ongoing treatments.

The most common side effect reported with TMS therapy is mild discomfort near the treatment site, which typically subsides after the first week of treatments.

Clinical trials have shown that TMS therapy is a safe and effective treatment to help patients achieve long-term remission from MDD.