What is TMS?

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TMS ( Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) is physical treatment for various mental health disorders, behavioural difficulties and neurological conditions -including pain management and movement disorders.

The TMS uses a special coil to deliver a sequence of electromagnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain working with the brains neuro plasticity.

These electromagnetic pulses are converted to electrical signals in the brain.

Since brain cells use electrical impulses to communicate with each other, this promotes restoration of healthy communication between various interconnected regions of the brain and hence aids healing.

Depending on what may be needed, your psychiatrist can decide prescribe to either enhance or slow down the electrical activity of the target region of the brain in order to alleviate symptoms. The TMS also modulates/primes brain cells to be less or more responsive to internal electrical traffic.

The TMS has been in clinical use since 2008 and was approved by NICE for treatment of depression in 2015. It is being offered by some NHS trusts in the UK.

Treatment with TMS is effective and may offer significant response rates, which have been reported at 30-60% depending on the study. Research is suggestive that a response rate equal to that of antidepressants should be expected but without the long-standing side effects. This, however, varies and a small number of patients unfortunately are shown to not respond to TMS.

The response to treatment is often noticeable after 4 weeks treatment, on average.

TMS is a safe treatment and does not require sedation or an anaesthetic.

Over the past decade, TMS has gained increasing acceptance as a safe and effective treatment for depression and other mental health disorders, and it is now widely available at medical centres and clinics throughout the world. Ongoing research continues to explore the potential of TMS for other conditions and to refine the technique to improve its effectiveness and reduce the risk of side effects.