Although treatment varies by individual, a typical treatment course consists of:
- Average of 20-30 treatment sessions
- Conducted over a 4-6 week period
- 5 treatments per week
- Each treatment session lasts approximately 18-20 minutes
What to expect
During treatment, patients relax in a treatment chair and remain awake and alert. The TMS Therapy device will deliver magnetic pulses to specific areas of your brain known to regulate mood. These pulses will feel like tapping on the scalp. The technician can make adjustments if the tapping is uncomfortable. Mild headache or scalp discomfort is sometimes experienced at the site of stimulation during or after treatment. Over-the-counter analgesic may be taken to alleviate discomfort. If discomfort persists, the strength of the magnetic field pulses can be reduced to make treatment more comfortable.
After a treatment session, patients can immediately return to their normal routine, including driving. In clinical trials, most patients experienced a positive response to TMS Therapy by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. It is important to continually discuss any depression symptoms with your TMS Technician.
Your first treatment session
Because it is important to determine how to most effectively administer your individual treatment, your first session may last up to an hour and a half. You will be provided with earplugs to reduce the audible tapping sound that the device emits. You can bring your own headphones (providing they are not metal) and listen to music during your treatment.
The Greenbrook physician will first perform a test to identify your motor threshold, which is the amount of magnetic field strength resulting in a movement of the patient’s right thumb. This test identifies the magnetic field strength that will be used during your treatment, which is customized to deliver the correct treatment dose.
The Greenbrook physician will then determine the location on your head where the treatment coil will be placed. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid “pulses” of the magnetic fields. These will feel like tapping on the scalp. The physician can make adjustments if the tapping is uncomfortable.
Have a question about TMS therapy, depression, or mental illness? Use #AskGreenbrookTMS on any social media channel to submit your question. Our care team will post answers to the most frequently asked questions.