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About NeuroStar TMS Therapy

NeuroStar TMS provides  transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a measured and repeated magnetic pulse, that targets key areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression. While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that it is caused by an imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells and play a role in mood.

What is NeuroStar Advanced Therapy (TMS)?

During a NeuroStar treatment session, a magnet similar in strength to that used in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is used to stimulate nerve cells in structures of the brain thought to affectl mood. These magnetic pulses may have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitter levels, making long-term remission of depressive symptoms possible. Treatment with NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is easy. TMS is not electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Unlike ECT, NeuroStar TMS involves:

  • Therapy sessions are conducted in your NeuroStar doctor’s office

  • You can return to normal activities right away

  • You are awake during treatment

  • There are no negative effects on memory or sleep

  • It’s covered by most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Tricare

With more than three million treatments delivered, using NeuroStar TMS to treat depression is bringing new hope to people every day.

How NeuroStar TMS Therapy Works

The magnetic pulse is believed to stimulate areas of the brain that help improve depression by changing the balance of the neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. What you can expect when you come for a TMS session is as follows:

Prior to treatment you will settle comfortably in the treatment chair. A small, curved magnetic coil about the size of a pack of playing cards will be positioned on your head. The treatment will then start sending focused magnetic pulses  to the target areas of the brain that were determined in the first treatment session. You will hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation on your head. Treatment can take between 3 and 37 minutes depending on the protocol Dr. Parks recommends. After treatment you can resume your daily activities.


NeuroStar TMS Therapy is administered 5 days per week for approximately 4-6 weeks on average. Individual treatment may vary depending on response.

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TMS Clinical Trials & Academic Studies

  1. Carpenter LL, et al. (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.

  2. George MS, et al. (2010). Daily Left Prefrontal Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder: A Sham-Controlled Randomized Trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 67(5):507-516.

  3. Dunner DL, et al. (2014). A Multisite, Naturalistic, Observational Study of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Patients with Pharmacoresistant Major Depressive Disorder: Durability of Benefit Over a 1-Year Follow-Up Period. J Clin Psychiatry. 75(12):1394-1401.

  4. O’Reardon JP, et al. (2007). Efficacy and Safety of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the Acute Treatment of Major Depression: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial. Biol Psychiatry, 62(11):1208-1216.

  5. Klomjai W er al. (2015) Basic Principles of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and repetitive TMS (rTMS).Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2015 Sep,58(4) 208-213.

  6. Iriarte IG, George MS; (2018). Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in the Elderly.Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2018 Feb 10;20(1)6.

  7. Stultz DJ et al. (2020) Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Safety with Respect to Seizures: A Literature Review. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2020 Dec 7;16:2989-3000.

  • What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?
    TMS is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is typically used after 2 or more ineffective trials of antidepressant medications, when medications have ceased working, or when a patient is unable to tolerate psychiatric medications.
  • How does TMS work?
    TMS delivers magnetic pulses to specific parts of the brain involved in mood regulation.
  • How long is TMS treatment?
    A typical initial course of treatment is about 3-37 minutes 5 days per week for approximately 6 weeks. Treatment length and treatment course are determined based on symptoms and response to TMS.
  • Is TMS Therapy covered by my insurance?
    A vast majority of commercial and Medicare plans have recognized the effectiveness of treating depression with TMS Therapy and now cover TMS as part of their plans. Call our office at 815-526-3781 and we will discuss your need for treatment with your insurance company and work with them to get it authorized.
  • Is TMS Therapy a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressant medications?
    Absolutely! TMS avoids many of the difficulties that can occur with medications. TMS is not a drug and thus does not circulate in the blood throughout the body. It does not have side effects like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, gastrointestinal effect etc. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp discomfort — generally mild to moderate — occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment. None of our patients have discontinued TMS treatment as a result of these common side effects.
  • Is TMS Therapy like other alternative therapies that use magnets to treat some illnesses?
    No. TMS Therapy involves a unique method of using pulsed magnetic fields for a therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of an MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. Those products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells. The activation and stimulation of brain cells is a key part of why TMS is so effective.
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