Health & Fitness

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Magnetic Therapy for Depression

Magnetic Therapy

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), also known as magnetic therapy for depression, is an innovative treatment offering hope for those struggling with depression. This non-invasive procedure uses magnetic fields to stimulate specific brain regions, offering an alternative for patients who haven’t responded to traditional treatments. As more people explore this option, it’s essential to understand how it works, its benefits, and what to expect. Here are the top 10 frequently asked questions about this promising therapy, providing you with the information needed to make an informed decision.

1. What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This technique aims to improve symptoms of depression by targeting specific brain areas associated with mood regulation. TMS involves placing a magnetic coil near the scalp, which generates pulses that penetrate the skull to reach brain neurons. Unlike other treatments, TMS focuses on stimulating underactive regions of the brain that contribute to depression. This targeted approach can help rebalance brain activity, improving mood and mental health. 

2. How Does TMS Work?

During TMS, a magnetic coil is placed near the scalp, generating magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in brain regions involved in mood regulation. The process involves the patient sitting in a chair while the coil is positioned over the prefrontal cortex, an area linked to depression. The magnetic pulses create electric currents that activate neurons, promoting neural plasticity and improving communication between brain regions. This simulation can enhance the brain’s ability to regulate mood and reduce depressive symptoms. TMS is designed to be a precise and controlled therapy, with each session tailored to the patient’s needs. Over time, these sessions can lead to significant improvements in mental health.

3. Is TMS Effective for Depression?

Yes, TMS is effective for many individuals with depression, especially those who haven’t responded to traditional treatments like medication and therapy. Clinical studies have demonstrated that TMS can significantly reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). Patients often experience a noticeable improvement in mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life. For individuals with treatment-resistant depression, TMS offers a new avenue of hope. The efficacy of TMS has been supported by numerous research studies and approved by regulatory bodies such as the FDA. It’s important to note that while TMS can be highly effective, individual results may vary, and it is best used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

4. What Are the Side Effects of TMS?

TMS is generally well-tolerated. Common side effects include mild headaches and scalp discomfort, which typically resolve shortly after the session. These side effects are usually mild and transient, with most patients able to continue their daily activities immediately after treatment. Some individuals might experience lightheadedness or tingling sensations at the treatment site. Serious side effects are rare, making TMS a safe option for many. There is no evidence that TMS causes long-term cognitive impairments or memory problems. Patients are monitored closely during the treatment course to ensure any side effects are promptly addressed. 

5. How Long Does a TMS Session Last?

A typical TMS session lasts about 20 to 40 minutes. Patients undergo treatment five times weekly for four to six weeks to achieve optimal results. Each session is brief, allowing patients to fit treatment into their daily schedules without significant disruption. The total duration of treatment varies based on individual response and severity of symptoms. Some patients might require additional sessions or maintenance treatments to sustain the benefits. The structure of the treatment plan is personalized, ensuring that each patient receives the appropriate number of sessions for their specific condition.

6. Is TMS Painful?

TMS is generally not painful. Patients may feel tapping on their scalp during the procedure, but it is usually well-tolerated without anesthesia. The tapping sensation results from the magnetic pulses stimulating the scalp muscles and nerves. Most patients describe the sensation as unusual but not uncomfortable. Any discomfort typically diminishes as patients become accustomed to the treatment. Some individuals might experience mild headaches or scalp tenderness, but these side effects are usually short-lived. The non-invasive nature of TMS means there are no incisions or injections, contributing to its overall comfort and safety.

7. Who Is a Candidate for TMS?

TMS is often recommended for individuals with major depressive disorder who have not responded to at least one antidepressant medication. A thorough evaluation is necessary to determine eligibility. Candidates typically include those with treatment-resistant depression or those who cannot tolerate the side effects of medications. TMS may also be considered for individuals seeking alternative or adjunctive treatments. During the evaluation, a mental health professional will assess the patient’s medical history, current medications, and overall health to ensure appropriate TMS. Contraindications include certain neurological conditions, metal implants in the head, or a history of seizures. 

8. How Soon Will I See the Results?

Some patients may notice improvements after a few sessions, but most will see significant benefits after four to six weeks of consistent treatment. The timeline for seeing results can vary based on the severity of depression and individual response to the therapy. Improvements might include better sleep, increased energy levels, and enhanced mood. As treatment progresses, patients often experience more profound and lasting relief from depressive symptoms. Regular monitoring and assessments during the treatment course help track progress and make any necessary adjustments. 

9. What Happens After Completing TMS Treatment?

After completing TMS treatment, patients typically continue with their regular mental health care, which may include medication and therapy. Maintenance TMS sessions may be recommended. These follow-up sessions help sustain the benefits achieved during the initial treatment phase. Patients are encouraged to engage in ongoing mental health practices, such as therapy and lifestyle modifications, to support their overall well-being. Regular check-ins with their mental health provider help monitor long-term progress and address emerging concerns. The goal is to maintain the improvements in mood and function achieved with TMS. 

10. How Do I Get Started with TMS?

To start TMS, consult with a mental health professional. They will evaluate your condition, discuss the potential benefits and risks, and help you schedule your treatment. The initial consultation involves a comprehensive assessment of your medical and psychiatric history, current symptoms, and previous treatments. If deemed appropriate, the psychiatrist will create a personalized TMS treatment plan. Patients are provided detailed information about what to expect during the sessions and how to prepare. Scheduling an appointment with a reputable provider, such as Salience Health, ensures access to experienced professionals and high-quality care.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) offers a promising alternative for those struggling with depression, particularly when traditional treatments have failed. Understanding the ins and outs of magnetic therapy for depression can help you make an informed decision about whether it’s the right option for you. Being well-informed is crucial, from knowing how TMS works and its effectiveness to understanding the treatment process and potential side effects. For expert guidance and comprehensive TMS treatment, visit Salience Health. Their dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing personalized care to help you achieve better mental health and overall well-being. Taking this proactive step can lead to a significant improvement in your quality of life.

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