Learn More About TMS

What is TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment that uses repetitive magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.

During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against the scalp. The electromagnet pulse stimulates nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression.¹

TMS Therapy is typically used when other depression treatments haven’t been effective.

Is TMS covered by my insurance?

TMS is covered by most insurance providers including Medicare (and by Medicaid in some states). Prior authorization is typically required for insurance coverage. Your physician will manage this process. Typically, treatment with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy may be needed before insurance will authorize TMS Therapy.

Who can get TMS treatment?

Your current physician may refer you to a TMS-trained physician who can best determine if you are a candidate for TMS Therapy.

What does TMS feel like?

The magnetic coil which delivers TMS is positioned on the head. You will hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation on your head when the magnetic pulses are delivered. Many patients watch television or read during treatment.

Are there any side effects to TMS Therapy?

TMS has few known side effects². The most common side effects are mild scalp discomfort or headaches during treatment, but normal activities can typically be resumed immediately after treatment.

What is the typical treatment time?

Most insurances allow for TMS treatment over a 6-week period, 5 times per week. Each treatment is typically between 3 and 37.5 minutes depending on what the physician determines to be best for you.

Do I need to get follow-up treatment?

Each patient is different.

You can discuss long-term treatment planning with your doctor. Retreatment is often prescribed and reimbursed if you have responded to TMS therapy in the past.

Where can I get treatment?

An increasing number of clinics and hospitals in the US already offer TMS Therapy from Magstim. Contact your physician or check out our list of TMS Providers to find a physician near you who offers TMS treatment.

How long will it take for the treatment to work?

This will vary from person to person.

It is commonly reported that patients need 30 to 36 sessions of TMS to feel relief from their depression symptoms. In clinical trials, approximately 58% of treatment-resistant patients responded positively to rTMS therapy.²

Is TMS safe?

TMS has over two decades of clinical and scientific research supporting its safe use and application. Magstim TMS therapy is an effective, non-invasive, outpatient treatment, with few known side effects.

Who is not a candidate for TMS?

TMS Therapy is well tolerated for most. However, not all patients are appropriate candidates for TMS Therapy. For example, patients with a history of seizures or who have metal implants or objects in or near their head are not appropriate candidates for TMS Therapy. To determine if TMS Therapy may be right for you, your supervising doctor or psychiatrist will carefully screen for the presence of medical conditions or metal objects which may make TMS unsuitable.³


¹O’Reardon, J. P., Solvason, H. B., Janicak, P. G., Sampson, S., Isenberg, K. E., Nahas, Z., … & Demitrack, M. A. (2007). Efficacy and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the acute treatment of major depression: a multisite randomized controlled trial. Biological psychiatry, 62(11), 1208-1216.

²Carpenter, L. L., Janicak, P. G., Aaronson, S. T., Boyadjis, T., Brock, D. G., Cook, I. A., … & Demitrack, M. A. (2012). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for major depression: a multisite, naturalistic, observational study of acute treatment outcomes in clinical practice. Depression and anxiety, 29(7), 587-596.

³Rossi S, Hallett M, Rossini PM, et al. Safety, ethical considerations, and application guidelines for the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in clinical practice and research. Clin Neurophysiol 2009;120:2008–39.