How Does TMS Work? – A Helpful Analogy

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


Are you curious about how TMS is used to treat clinical depression? 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a safe, effective treatment for depression, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. It uses magnetic pulses to stimulate brain function and helps the brain to develop new neural pathways. 

But how does TMS work? Though TMS treatment is a straightforward process, it can be intimidating for those who have never encountered this technology before. We asked one of our providers to explain how TMS affects your brain. Here’s what she said: 

“Whenever patients ask me ‘how does TMS work?’ I always like to think of an analogy.” Dr. Jennifer French, a psychiatrist at our Cherry Creek location, explains, “We use TMS to help the electrical flow of the brain. Think about a snow field — a beautiful snowy field that has never been walked on before. What happens when you walk on it? You create a path. When people have depression, they are creating a pathway in their brain that they keep returning to, like when you walk through the snow and then it’s easier to take that same pathway again. With TMS it’s like we’re coming through with an industrial-sized snow-blower and helping the brain create new pathways, so that your brain doesn’t have to keep returning to that well-worn path of depression.” 

Click the video below to watch Dr. French’s full analogy. If you’ve ever wondered “how does TMS work?”, we hope this explanation helps you to better understand the TMS process! 

At Serenity Mental Health Centers, we strive to help every patient suffering from mental illness with accessible, personalized mental health treatment at our clinic locations across the country. With our upcoming clinic opening in Las Vegas, Nevada, we hope to help patients in the Silver State suffering from depression and anxiety to achieve long-term results through TMS therapy. If you are interested in TMS as a treatment for clinical depression or other mental health conditions, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed psychiatrists.

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.