home / patient care / therapy and treatments / rTMS Treatment

rTMS Treatment

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a brain stimulation therapy that helps individuals manage depression and anxiety-related issues. Functional since 1985, rTMS treatment involves focusing on specific areas of the brain and stimulating them with a magnet. rTMS treatment elicits desired effects in the brain that helps with a wide range of mental health disorders, including depression, psychosis, anxiety, OCD, and more.

At Cadabams Hospitals, we have a stellar team of psychiatrists along with specialist doctors, therapists, psychologists, and registered mental health nurses, who are experts in rTMS psychology and rTMS psychiatry. We offer quality rTMS treatment with successful outcomes. 

How Does Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) Work?

rTMS is a medicine-free treatment that’s suggested by a psychiatrist or a doctor as an adjunct to the main therapy or when traditional therapies or antidepressant medications are unable to provide expected relief for the individual.

rTMS is a popular procedure that is used to treat depression and usually chosen after both medication and psychotherapy have failed. It’s also important to explore antidepressant medications before moving on to rTMS therapy. Generally, patients choose rTMS treatment when they’ve used up all other options. rTMS is also for those patients who have a greater risk of seizures and may not support anaesthesia.

The rTMS device produces a series of strong magnetic signals to the brain by the use of electromagnetic coils. The coil passes the impulse to the brain nerves through the device when it’s placed on the forehead of the individual. Initially, the medical professional analyses the area of the brain that needs to be stimulated.

Then the specific nerve cells in the brain are targeted and induced. As the rTMS therapy progresses, the brainwave regulations improve, thereby providing relief to the individual by reducing the symptoms.

Is rTMS Effective?

rTMS therapy is effective against illnesses such as depression and anxiety. rTMS is a non-invasive neuromodulation technique that has a greater effect on several mood-related issues and disorders. rTMS treatment helps to manage other neurological and psychological disorders such as: 

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorders
  • Sleep-related issues
  • Chronic pain

rTMS Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

To treat Bipolar Disorder, rTMS stimulates the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that is responsible for controlling mood, motivation, and social skills. Medications usually numb emotions but rTMS treatment gets to the root cause by resetting brain patterns. Depending on the condition and severity, the rTMS treatment for bipolar disorder involves 15 to 30 sessions which take place over a period of three to six weeks. 

rTMS Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), given at low or high frequency, effectively helps to manage & reduce motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. A study on the effect of rTMS on Parkinson’s disease states that the effects of high-frequency rTMS are superior and lasts longer.

rTMS Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

rTMS applied at 80% motor threshold and 20 Hz for 2 s/min, for 20 min to OCD patients can significantly decrease compulsive urges for 8 h after stimulation. Well, it was a study done by NICB and since then, rTMS has successfully been used for severe OCD cases.

rTMS Treatment for Panic Disorders

Anxiety disorder often causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger. The symptoms of panic disorders like fast heartbeat, dizziness, or chest pain become so excessive that the person faints. rTMS therapy in such severe cases really helps a lot.

rTMS Treatment for Sleep-related Issues

Neurological and psychiatric disorders like insomnia, stress, anxiety are characterized by several disabling symptoms for which there aren’t many effective treatments. More advanced non-invasive therapeutic methods are required and one such therapy is rTMS. The rTMS plays a great deal in curing psychological disorders. It modulates brain activity to heal the condition. 

Is rTMS Safe?

Yes, rTMS is a completely safe treatment method. Furthermore, it doesn’t require any medications such as needles and anaesthetics. rTMS induces only the pure magnetic impulse to enter the body. rTMS treatment comes with a few minor side effects (mentioned below). Other than that, rTMS has lesser side effects when compared to the other side effects that are associated with antidepressants and medications.

Side Effects of rTMS

rTMS therapy is one of the most popular techniques because of its non-invasive approach. However, it does have a few side effects on the individual. Remarkably, the side effects may not continue for a long period of time. Some of the side effects are:

  • A slight tapping or knocking sensation through bones as the electric current is passed
  • Nausea
  • Scalp irritation
  • Seizures
  • Temporary Hearing loss
  • Temporary Vision problems
  • Mania

In some cases, rTMS therapy may not be ideal. Although there are some people who may benefit from rTMS, however, they shouldn’t explore it. This can happen in the following cases where the patient may have: 

  • Aneurysm clips
  • Bullet fragments in the head
  • Cardiac pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD)
  • Facial tattoos sensitive to magnets
  • Metal implants in eyes or ears
  • Stents in the neck or brain

The multispecialty team at Cadabams ensures that all these conditions are taken into consideration to provide you the best treatment and recovery plans.

rTMS and ECT – The Difference between the Two

People commonly get mixed up with ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). However, there’s a vast difference between these two treatment methods.

In ECT, the electrical signals are sent to the whole brain to improve the mood of the individual. Whereas in rTMS, the impulse is sent to the targeted specific nerve cells in the brain, which also makes this therapy more effective and accurate. 

The second difference is that anaesthesia or a muscle relaxant is administered during the ECT process to prevent any shaking during the stimulation. In the case of rTMS, no sedation medicines are administered which reduces the risk of any potential side effects. Another difference is also in their area of targeting.

While rTMS is able to target a specific part of the brain since the rTMS coil can be placed over a certain part of the brain, thereby sending impulses only to that part, whereas ECT is unable to target specific areas. Finally, while both ECT and rTMS can be used to treat depression, ECT is used to treat more life-threatening forms of depression.

What is the Duration of rTMS?

The duration of the rTMS therapy may vary between individuals with respect to the severity of the illness or issue. However, most of the sessions may last 30 to 60 minutes about 2 times a week. The number of sessions could be longer or shorter depending upon the individual’s improvement and recovery. Normally, the duration may last for six weeks.

Benefits of rTMS

No sedation or anaesthetic is required. Most times, when patients undergo a major procedure, it usually involves anaesthesia or sedation, which can pose a life risk as well; sedation and anaesthesia can cause loads of fear and anxiety.

Unlike sedation, which can have negative side effects like confusion, vomiting, cognitive dysfunction, and delirium, electroconvulsive therapy or rational emotive therapy does not need sedation or anaesthesia; this will minimize a lot of the risks.

Few side effects – rTMS has shown little to no side effects or safety risks. Only ten percent of patients have experienced some discomfort such as mild headaches. There are rare cases where rTMS has caused a seizure. Hence, proper screening should be done before receiving rTMS therapy.

Quick onset – Almost 75% of patients will see a response with rTMS therapy, in a clinical setting. This is defined as a drop in depression symptoms by half. Around 50% of patients who have received this rTMS treatment have experienced mild symptoms.

rTMS patients can see some improvements within the first two weeks of treatments, unlike some medications that take the body many weeks to adjust to the dosage.

No recovery period – Since rTMS does not need any anaesthetic or sedation, there is no need for a recovery period after a session.

Cognitive improvements – Usually, depression can cause cognitive impairments, and patients will see an increase in cognitive functioning. Studies have shown that rational emotive therapy, in high frequencies, can improve attention, memory, and executive functioning like decision making and reasoning.

Other benefits include – 

  • Non-invasive
  • Non-medicine treatment
  • Effective with all mood-related issues
  • Responsive treatment technique

Why Cadabams 

Cadabams Hospitals is the top psychiatric hospital for rTMS treatment in Bangalore for all kinds of mental health conditions including Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD amongst others. We have over three decades of experience of helping countless patients live a better and healthier life. Ours is a multi-specialty team of experts who commit to providing patients with the best treatment and a satisfying experience on the back of an evidence-based, personalized approach.

At Cadabams Hospitals, we offer both inpatient and outpatient services. We help patients by relying on a variety of therapeutic approaches towards resolving mental health issues, including rTMS treatment. If you would like to know about the best rTMS treatment, please do contact us @+91 97414 76476.


Is rTMS really effective?

In a small study, 70 percent of patients with PTSD and comorbid major depression saw clinically significant response after rTMS; 50 percent saw sustained response after 2 months. Similarly, there are several such studies that show the effectiveness of rTMS in helping with symptoms of schizophrenia, OCD, and other mental health disorders. (source) If you attend regular sessions of rTMS therapy, you may benefit from it. Moreover, a combined treatment of rTMS and psychotherapy is known to work really well.

Is it okay to get rTMS without CBT?

rTMS is best known to work along with CBT. While the former deals with biological aspects, the latter deals with psychological and behavioral aspects. rTMS involves the application of electric current to a part of the brain through electromagnetic induction. It is aimed at eliciting certain responses in the brain that helps with mental health problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, on the other hand, adopts a problem-solving approach wherein the patients are guided to change their thought patterns and behave in a different manner. CBT is more holistic in a way that it teaches people to identify problems, be more self-aware, recognize their mood patterns, and develop a positive way of thinking. So, for better results, it’s recommended to explore combined sessions of rTMS and CBT. At Cadabams, we have a team of experts who specialize in rTMS and CBT. Our clinicians administer rTMS and our psychologists take care of CBT.

How many sessions of rTMS do I need?

Ideally, going for around 20 sessions is recommended. The frequency of the sessions should be at least 2 to 3 times a week. You can expect to get results within 8 to 12 sessions.

Will it be painful to go through an rTMS session?

An rTMS session won’t be painful, however, the magnetic sensations can seem a bit uncomfortable. You may experience a mild, short headache after the session.

Will I be able to drive myself home after an rTMS treatment?

Since no medications are administered during the course of the treatment, you may not lose your ability to drive home alone. However, it may make you feel tired, so it’s best to have a friend or family member who can drive you home.

What are the benefits of ECT?

Electroconvulsive therapy is one of the procedures used to treat several severe mental health disorders, including major depression and psychosis. It is opted in cases where other treatment measures have failed to show the desired outcomes. It has proven to be effective in easing the symptoms of certain psychiatric conditions. To that, under the supervision of an experienced professional, ECT is clinically safe.

What to expect in the first session?

The professionals administering the session will ease you in. They would explain to you how these sessions will pan out. They would explain how the magnetic coil will be used, what you will experience, and the possible side-effects like headaches you may feel. The first session is also a great time to ask the expert any question or concern you may have.

Get in Touch


rTMS Treatment | Blog