Inside Disruption Blog

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: What?

Kathy Steele
November 1, 2017

There are a number things that run through my head when I first learn of new treatment processes that are not traditionally used for psychological conditions, such as medication and evidenced-based psychological therapies. When I heard about a relatively new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), I had a lot of questions. What is TMS? What is it used for? Who should use it? Is it evidence-based treatment? How long does it last?


I was able to get more information from a colleague, Dr. Charles Ihrig, CEO of NeuroMed TMS Centers. He told me that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It is effective in treating a number of psychological conditions, e.g., depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, chronic pain, and problems with concentration. While it sounds a bit like something from a science fiction movie, it is a non-invasive procedure. Imagine a medical office chair with an overhead device that is placed near the temporal or side region of the head. An electromagnetic pulse is sent through to the part of the brain where mood and behavior are managed. This magnetic pulse stimulates the nerve cells.


Often, the individual has immediate results. The treatment is ongoing for four to six weeks with sessions lasting between 20 and 40 minutes. The individual undergoing the treatment can resume and maintain regular activities before, directly after, and throughout the treatment process.


The advantage of TMS as opposed to more traditional methods of treatment (e.g. psychotropic medication), is that TMS does not typically produce side effects that one may incur with psychotropic medication, such as weight gain, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, and sweating. It is imperative to mention that the treating provider should be consulted before adjusting or changing medications while undergoing TMS. It is recommended that TMS be used in combination with psychotherapy and medications in the care of the depressed patient.


R3 Continuum will be offering a webinar on TMS by Dr. Ihrig on November 14th at 12:55pm Eastern. Click here to join us for a more expansive look at this new and innovative treatment modality.

Kathy Steele