If you’re only hearing of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for the first time right now, don’t let the mouthful of a name scare you away. TMS therapy is a non-invasive, FDA approved treatment for a range of mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. It involves no medication, anesthesia, or needles, it’s quick, and—best of all—it’s covered by most insurance plans.

If you just read all that and thought, “Wait, how have I not heard of this?” the reason may be that, despite the first stable TMS devices being developed in the 1980s, it was not until 2008 that the treatment gained FDA approval. This lag is encouraging; it means heaps of research has been done in support of its efficacy.

How does TMS work?

By delivering electromagnetic impulses using an electromagnetic coil, TMS stimulates cells in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), or the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions. Sufferers of PTSD and depression exhibit reduced brain activity in the vmPFC. By prompting this part of the brain to return to normal levels of activity, symptoms associated with depression and PTSD are alleviated.

When will I see results?

A full course of treatment extends over a period of six to eight weeks; many patients experience marked improvement in just 14 days, however, and some even sooner. When, exactly, you’ll begin to feel better depends on such individual factors as how severe your depression symptoms are and how long you’ve been suffering.

If nothing has worked for me in the past, why believe transcranial magnetic stimulation will be different?

When the FDA approved TMS therapy back in 2008, it was for the specific purpose of treating otherwise treatment-resistant depression. Studies show that the protocol works where standard methods, such as antidepressant medication or talk therapy, do not. Of course, TMS therapy is not a silver bullet and may not completely eradicate your depression, but it can certainly relieve suffering and allow you to return to normal functioning.

If a non-invasive, proven treatment covered by your insurance sounds like something you might benefit from, don’t hesitate to reach out and request an appointment using the brief form below. It would be our pleasure to assist in any way we can to get you on the road to recovery. 

About the Author

Kimberly Sandberg Aloha Integrative Health
Kim Sandberg is the owner and founder of Aloha Integrative Health and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She has two advanced degrees: a Masters of Science in Nursing as a Nurse Anesthetist and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She has worked in a variety of settings, though the biggest impact on Kim and her work came from her 28 years of service in the Navy Reserve.

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