TMS Therapy for Depression in Los Angeles

TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is an FDA approved therapy that creates a pulsed electromagnetic field and is targeted at specific areas of the brain that are underactive in certain conditions, such as depression.  This non-invasive therapy is pain free, and each session lasts between 20 and 35 minutes.  Patients can relax during the treatment, there are no drugs to administer, and there is no recovery time after each treatment, so patients may continue their daily activities once they leave the office.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

The electromagnetic waves that are produced by the TMS device stimulate the areas of the brain that are responsible for mood control.  TMS is used most often for those with depression, and is most often recommended for those patients where more traditional treatments like psychotherapy and medication have proven ineffective.

How Many Sessions Does it Take?

TMS requires a series of regular sessions to be most effective.  Often, the treatment plan involves 5 sessions per week for several weeks, which can help the brain to produce a more favorable balance of neurotransmitters, as well as allow the nerves in the brain to be stimulated more effectively.


Unlike previous electrical stimulation methods which required surgery to directly impact nerve impulses or implant stimulation devices, TMS uses targeted electromagnetic waves that can penetrate the skull and soft tissue without anesthesia, needles, or surgery.  This makes it safer for patients, as well as being pain-free.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects are uncommon, and mild.  They can include headaches, scalp sensations, lightheadedness, and twitching of facial muscles.  In very rare cases, more serious side effects have been reported, such as seizures in those who have a family history, mania, and hearing loss where ear protection has not been provided.


Since TMS therapy uses electromagnetic waves for treatment, make sure your healthcare provider and mental health specialist are aware of any implanted devices, as these can be disrupted or damaged during treatment.  You should also discuss any family history of seizures, and share any medications you are currently taking, including herbal supplements or specialized diets that can alter brain chemistry.

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Your initial session will be approximately 60 minutes, as your doctor will be finding the ideal location for the device and adjusting the strength of the magnet to your specific situation.  This first phase of your treatment is called mapping, and you will hear some clicking sounds as well as feel tapping on your forehead.  Your doctor will be looking for light twitching in your fingers or hands to determine the right dose of electromagnetism.  You will also be given earplugs or other ear protection.  Subsequent sessions will be shorter.


You should have no disorientation or impairments after your treatments, so you’ll be able to drive home and continue your day as normal.  You may or may not see results after your first treatment, though you will gradually see your symptoms declining with repetitive treatments.  Some patients see a return of symptoms months or years after their sessions have been completed.  In these cases, patients are able to work with their doctor to schedule another set of sessions as needed.


TMS therapy has been shown to have a great deal of benefit for those with even major depression, and offers relief to those who have tried other therapies with less success.  As a safe and effective non-invasive treatment, patients can enjoy an elevated sense of well-being and reclaim their lives. Have any questions? Call our Los Angeles TMS Therapy office today at (818) 305-6061.

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