Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

Traditional antidepressants don’t work for every patient. That’s why we offer TMS therapy in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, a depression treatment that does not use medication. TMS & Brain Health is the first practice in southern California to specialize in Express TMS or intermittent theta-burst TMS. Call us or request a consultation online to learn about your treatment options.

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?

TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic pulses—similar to those of an MRI machine—to awaken parts of the brain that are underactive in people who suffer from depression. Additionally, TMS is an FDA-approved alternative treatment for adult ADHD, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). TMS therapy is a pharmaceutical-free treatment.

How does TMS work?

Clinical studies show reduced activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) region in the brains of people who have depression, compared with people who don’t. The electromagnetic pulse created by TMS equipment stimulates the neurotransmitters and receptors in this region of the brain.

In the past, a single TMS session took up to 37.5 minutes. With 5 weekly sessions, you’d spend over 3 hours a week in treatment—not including parking. We specialize in intermittent theta-burst stimulation, or “Express TMS.” This approach uses a patterned frequency that mimics the natural rhythms of the brain. In Express TMS, your brain learns 10 times faster than with conventional TMS, and your sessions only last for 3 minutes.

What should I expect during TMS therapy?

In your first session, our team performs initial measurements to find the exact location of the DLPFC in your brain (every brain is different). Once we’ve located it, we’ll find the natural level that your neurons release neurotransmitters to customize the TMS settings. Then, you’re all set for your first treatment.

During TMS therapy, you sit in a comfortable chair with the TMS equipment positioned at a specific point on your head where the DLPFC is located. Most patients report a light tapping sensation on their forehead. Express TMS isn’t painful and is completed in just 3 minutes and 9 seconds. We are with you during every single treatment session and are always available should you have any questions or concerns.

To make sure TMS therapy is right for you, you can either have an initial consultation with a member of our medical team, or you can be referred by your own psychiatrist. We will create a treatment plan based on your specific needs, which may change on a weekly basis as symptoms improve. Most people come in 5 days per week for 4 to 6 weeks, followed by an optional 6-session taper.

TMS doesn’t cause any disruptive side effects. Some patients report temporary, mild headaches after their sessions. However, you can drive yourself to and from your appointments and won’t need to take any time off from school or work. Other patients may experience mild facial movement during the stimulation, which ceases immediately once the treatment is over. The risk of seizure is less than 0.1%—less than traditional antidepressant medication.

TMS and Express TMS are both extremely effective treatments for depression. Some people notice significant improvements in mood within the first week. Others tend to notice that their symptoms slowly lessen as they continue with the TMS course.

Am I a good candidate for TMS?

TMS & Brain Health conducts thorough evaluations to determine if TMS therapy is right for you. In most cases, you need to be in good health, aside from your mental health condition. There are some situations in which TMS therapy isn’t appropriate, including if you have:

  • Metal in or around your head (braces and dental fillings are safe)
  • Pacemakers
  • Implanted cardioverter defibrillators
  • Vagus nerve stimulators
  • Epilepsy

If TMS is not right for you, we also offer ketamine treatment in Los Angeles and Santa Monica as another alternative therapy for depression and other mental health conditions.

Pros and cons of TMS therapy

Before beginning treatment, people may want to weigh the pros and cons of TMS therapy. The best parts about TMS are that it is safe, medication-free, has a high success rate, and produces results that last long after the treatment is over. Additionally, TMS can be covered up to 100% by most major insurers. The negative aspects of TMS are that it can cause mild headaches in some people and that patients must come into the office every day for 4 to 6 weeks, Monday through Friday. We try to mitigate this by offering Express TMS, which takes just 3 minutes, but still occurs every day.

How to Get Started with TMS Therapy in Los Angeles

 

If it sounds like you’re a good candidate for TMS and you want to learn more, follow the next steps:

1

Give us a call or request an appointment online

If you want to use your insurance, go ahead and fill out the TMS Pre-Approval form.
2

Schedule Your Evaluation

We will schedule you for an evaluation with our clinical team at our LA or Santa Monica location—wherever is more convenient for you.
3

Get Approved Through Your Insurance

If you choose to go through your insurance, we will submit all of the information to your insurance and get you approved before you begin treatment.
4

Begin treatment!

Call TMS & Brain Health today or request an appointment online to learn more about how TMS can improve your mental health.

Find out if our treatment programs are right for you

Let us help you today!

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