Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

An Optimal Treatment for Major Depression

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An Effective New Depression Treatment Without Medication

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a technological breakthrough in the treatment of Major Depression. Family Care Center is proud to be one of the largest TMS providers in Colorado.

TMS is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation used for depression. Unlike vagus nerve stimulation or deep brain stimulation, TMS does not require surgery or implantation of electrodes. And, unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS doesn't cause seizures or require sedation with anesthesia.

TMS utilizes pulses of magnetic energy, similar to those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, to stimulate nerve cells in the areas of the brain known to control mood. This is done by placing an electromagnetic coil against the scalp near the forehead. TMS therapy is an effective alternative treatment for depression without medications. Our MagVita machines are now FDA-approved for Theta Burst treatment of Depression, which is a three-minute treatment.


TMS has been proven to be effective for the following conditions:

  • Major depressive disorder

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Autism

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Chronic pain

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Schizophrenia (negative symptoms)

  • Smoking cessation

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Stroke rehabilitation

  • Multiple Sclerosis


When is TMS used?

Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are the first-line treatments for major depression. These treatments, however, do not work for all patients. In these instances, TMS might be used as an alternative treatment or to augment antidepressant medications or psychotherapy. Patients who have failed to achieve an adequate response from antidepressants, or who are unable to tolerate medications, might consider TMS therapy.

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How TMS Works

TMS has been shown to produce changes in neuronal activity in regions of the brain implicated in mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex. As each magnetic pulse passes through the skull and into the brain, this induces brief activity of brain cells underlying the treatment coil. The frequency of pulse delivery also influences whether brain activity is increased or decreased by a session of TMS. Recent studies also suggest that stimulation over the left and right sides of the brain can have opposite effects on mood regulation.

What To Expect


You'll sit in a comfortable chair, wearing ear plugs, with the magnetic coil placed against your head.


When the machine is turned on, you'll hear clicking sounds and feel tapping on your forehead.


The procedure will last about 25 minutes, and you'll remain awake and alert. You may feel some scalp discomfort during the treatment and for a short time afterward.


After each treatment, you can return to your normal daily activities. Typically, between treatments, you can expect to work and drive.

What Happens During a TMS Procedure

TMS is always prescribed by a TMS physician who also administers the initial motor threshold. The treatment itself is administered by an experienced TMS technician or therapist under the supervision of the TMS physician. The TMS technician or therapist will always be present to monitor the patient during the treatment. The patient can stop a treatment at any time by asking the staff member present.

TMS is done in one of our clinics. It requires a series of 30-40 treatment sessions to be effective. Sessions are carried out daily, five times a week, for four to six weeks. TMS isn't invasive, doesn't require anesthesia and can be performed on an outpatient basis. You don't need to arrange for someone to drive you home after treatment — unless, for the first treatment, you prefer a driver until you get a sense of how you'll feel afterward.

Before treatment begins, our doctor will need to identify the best place to put the magnets on your head and the best dose of magnetic energy for you. This is called a mapping. It's important to make sure the coil is mapped correctly. We do this by placing a magnetic coil to your scalp and increasing the magnetic dose until your fingers or hands twitch. Known as your motor threshold, this is used as a reference point in determining the right dose for you. During the course of treatment, the amount of stimulation can be changed, depending on your symptoms and side effects.

Patients are required to wear earplugs during treatment for their comfort and hearing protection, as TMS produces a loud clicking sound with each pulse, much like an MRI machine. Patients are seated during each session of TMS.

Once the motor threshold is determined, the coil is then brought forward so that it rests above the front region of the patient’s brain. Treatment is then commenced. During the treatment, patients will hear a series of clicking sounds and will feel a tapping sensation under the treatment coil.

Motor threshold is not checked at every treatment, but it may be reassessed if there is concern it may have changed, for example, because of a change in medication.

TMS has shown to be effective in many patients. Many have reported their depressive symptoms have improved or gone away completely. Symptom relief may take a few weeks of treatment. However, if your depression improves with TMS, and then later you have another episode of symptoms, your TMS treatment can be repeated.

Proven Efficacy for Persistent Depression

TMS has been shown to produce changes in neuronal activity in regions of the brain implicated in mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex. As each magnetic pulse passes through the skull and into the brain, this induces brief activity of brain cells underlying the treatment coil. The frequency of pulse delivery also influences whether brain activity is increased or decreased by a session of TMS. Recent studies also suggest that stimulation over the left and right sides of the brain can have opposite effects on mood regulation.

See what are patients are saying!

  • Darla Rupprecht

    Darla Rupprecht

    I didn’t know much about TMS at first. I read about it then talked to a doctor and found out I was a candidate. After the 1st week, I was really tired of going every single day but I got over that because I looked at the bigger picture, my depression. With continuing TMS, my family and I noticed a difference after about 3 weeks. I am much more calm, my anxiety is way down and my depression is gone. I just want to tell people to persevere and don’t give up. It will be worth it in the end.

  • McKenna Vanhorn

    McKenna Vanhorn

    TMS has changed so much for me. Before TMS, it was hard to get off the couch or get motivated to take a shower or brush my teeth. TMS has given me the energy plus the motivation to get back into my life. My husband has noticed I’m happier and laughing more. It’s not a cure-all but it has taken such a huge weight off me that for the first time in years I feel “normal”.

  • Kara Hicks

    Kara Hicks

    Before I started TMS I couldn’t go anywhere alone. Since starting, I have been able to deal with my husband leaving for work for 3 months without shutting down. I am able to go grocery shopping by myself and I can process my emotions and seem to understand why and how I feel. I no longer emotionally eat, which has helped me feel way better. Now at the end of TMS, I feel like life is 100% better. I am able to function as a person without relying on others everyday. It is amazing!

  • J.R


    “TMS had improved my depression tremendously! Nothing I’ve done in the past worked as fast and as well as TMS. I’m on the lowest dose of my antidepressant and have discontinued three others and feel AMAZING!”

  • Emilie


    After years of being on numerous psychiatric meds, I found myself not responding to the meds anymore. I had lost all of my will to get out and do my normal daily activities. I was always tired, sleeping all day & even suicidal. TMS was offered to me as an alternative treatment plan. Almost immediately I felt better & gained my interest in life again I had more energy & all suicidal thoughts have stopped. I am now finished with my treatment and off all medications. I’m feeling great & have a new lease on life. I recommend TMS to anyone who is looking for an alternative treatment. It has changed my life!


TMS Safety & Side Effects

TMS therapy has been widely tested for various clinical indications in more than 60 clinical studies worldwide. The FDA has cleared TMS therapy for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and it is currently available in the U.S., Europe, and South America.

TMS has been proven to be safe and generally well tolerated. The treatment does not cause any systemic side effects, which are the effects generated by medication entering the bloodstream and circulating throughout the body, such as insomnia, weight gain and sexual dysfunction. The most common side effect is temporary, mild pain or discomfort in the area of the treatment site, which occurs during the TMS therapy session. This typically occurs only during the first week of TMS treatment. Other side effects may include muscle twitching, jaw pain, headache, and lightheadedness. To reduce side effects, your doctor can adjust the level of stimulation or recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain medication before the procedure.

Serious side effects are rare, but may include seizures, mania (particularly in people with bipolar disorder), and hearing loss if there is inadequate ear protection during the treatment. Before having TMS, you will meet with a physician to determine if you’re a good candidate.

Who Is NOT a Good Candidate for TMS?

Patients with any type of non-removable metal in their heads (with the exception of braces or dental fillings), should not receive TMS. Failure to follow this rule could cause the object to heat up, move or malfunction, and result in serious injury or death. The following is a list of metal implants that can prevent a patient from receiving TMS:

  • Pacemakers

  • Aneurysm clips or coils

  • Stents in the neck or brain

  • Deep brain stimulators

  • Electrodes to monitor brain activity

  • Metallic implants in your ears and eyes

  • Shrapnel or bullet fragments in or near the head

  • Facial tattoos with metallic or magnetic-sensitive ink

  • Other metal devices or object implanted in or near the head

Tell your doctor if:

  • You're pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.

  • You're taking any medications, including prescription or over-the-counter medications, herbal supplements, vitamins or other supplements, and the dosages.

  • You have a history of seizures or a family history of epilepsy.

  • You have other mental health disorders, such as substance misuse, bipolar disorder, or psychosis.

  • You have brain damage from illness or injury, such as a brain tumor, a stroke or a traumatic brain injury.

  • You have frequent or severe headaches.

  • You have any other medical conditions.

  • You've had prior treatment with TMS, and whether it was helpful in treating your depression.

Cost and Coverage

TMS therapy for depression and OCD* is covered by most major insurances. Call your insurance company or schedule an free consultation to determine if insurance coverage is available for you.

Since we are not contracted with every insurance company nor is every condition covered, patients are allowed to self-pay.

*All other conditions mentioned will be evaluated and, if approved, can be treated on a self-pay basis.


Veteran Cost Share Grant

The Family Care Center recognizes that there are potential barriers keeping clients from taking advantage of the benefits of TMS; one of these is the cost of co-pays per session.

In collaboration with the Colorado Veterans Health and Wellness Agency, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit professionally affiliated with the Family Care Center, we are able to provide veterans with an opportunity to apply for grant funded services to offset a significant portion of the cost of your co-pays.

Learn More About the TMS Co-Pay Cost Share Grant For Veterans

Conquer Depression for Good With TMS

To learn more about transcranial magnetic stimulation, schedule a free TMS consultation at Family Care Center today. We look forward to helping you on your journey towards recovery.