What Does TMS Stand For and How Does It Work?

TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and is a form of brain stimulation used to treat major depression, OCD, PTSD, and other mental health conditions.

It works by wrapping a magnetic coil around the patient’s head that will send currents through the brain to help with mood regulation.

Keep reading to learn more about how TMS works so you can decide whether this treatment option is right for you.

How TMS Therapy Works

During TMS therapy, a coil is placed over the scalp, and a magnetic pulse is delivered to a specific region of the brain.

This pulse causes a small electric current to flow through nerve cells in certain regions of the brain. Researchers believe that this stimulates activity in parts of the brain associated with mood control.

TMS is an FDA approved treatment that can change the brain’s neural circuits in a way that lasts for a long time. This makes it a possible treatment for a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

TMS Therapy Benefits

TMS therapy is non-invasive and can be performed on an outpatient basis. Each treatment typically lasts around 20 minutes and is usually done five days a week for 6-8 weeks. Patients can drive themselves home and resume normal activities after the procedure.

Clinical trials have shown TMS to be effective for treating depression, with up to 75% of patients experiencing significant improvement. TMS has been found to be twice as effective as antidepressants alone.

TMS therapy for depression

TMS is targeted at specific areas of the brain to provide relief from depression. It helps break the cycle of depression by making these areas more active, therefore allowing them to work better.

TMS is a good way to treat depression for many people, giving hope to those who haven’t found relief with other treatment methods.

TMS therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

TMS has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a safe and effective treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Magnetic stimulation can help relieve OCD symptoms by slowing down activity in parts of the brain that are too busy.

Slowing down the activity of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex can help reduce anxiety caused by OCD.

TMS therapy for other anxiety disorders

TMS is also used to treat mental health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), in addition to OCD. A 2019 study suggests that TMS could be effective in treating GAD.

Even though more research is needed, it seems that TMS therapy may help people with anxiety disorders because it can slow down the activity of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex.


Like any medical treatment, TMS can have potential side effects. Most of the time, the side effects of TMS therapy are mild and temporary. They can include mild scalp pain, headaches, and dizziness.

These side effects typically resolve within a few hours after the session.

Seizures and other more serious side effects are extremely rare. TMS is not recommended for people with metal implants in the head, as the magnetic field can cause these implants to heat up and potentially cause injury.

Overall, TMS is a safe and effective FDA approved therapy with a low risk of side effects.

What if TMS doesn’t work?

Like all medical treatments for mental illnesses such as depression or OCD, TMS is not always effective. In these cases, patients can consult their doctors to come up with new treatment options.

However, when compared to other treatments, like medication, TMS is often more effective.

How NeuroSpa Can Help

If you’re living with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health condition, our healthcare professionals at NeuroSpa are here to help.

As the best mental health clinic in Tampa, we offer a wide range of treatments, like TMS and psychotherapy.

At our clinic, each patient receives a treatment plan that is tailored for them and their needs.

Check out NeuroSpa to learn more about TMS and book your free consultation today.

This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.

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