Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation

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What is it for?

Treatment to stimulate nerves in the brain

Treatment overview

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (RTMS) is a non-invasive method of stimulating nerves in the brain using magnetic fields. The stimulation can target the entire brain, or certain parts of the brain, such as specific nerve networks that cause changes in movement and behaviour. It has been proven to be a safe and effective form of neuromodulation.

What is it used to treat?

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been found to be effective for a broad range of medical conditions:

Movement disorders:

Movement disorders, such as dystonia and tremors, can be treated using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. It has been shown to speed up the reaction times in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Multiple sclerosis:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of symptoms including problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been shown to reduce the fatigue and depression also associated with MS.

Neuropsychiatric conditions:

Neuropsychiatric conditions including chronic major depression that has not fully responded to medications can be helped with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Studies are also looking at how it may help other neuropsychiatric conditions.


Rehabilitation following a stroke may also be helped by using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. It can be used to improve recovery if used alongside supported physical therapies.

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How is it performed and what is involved?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a painless procedure that is performed whilst the patient is awake.

Earplugs are used (to reduce the risk of hearing-related side effects) and a special helmet is worn throughout the procedure. This helmet contains a coil through which an electrical current is passed into the brain.

TMS can be delivered one pulse at a time (single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation), or more commonly using several repeated pulses (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation).

The length of treatment sessions vary, but usually last around 30 - 40 minutes. A treatment plan typically consists of multiple sessions over weeks or months. Our leading specialists at The London Clinic will be able to design and discuss bespoke treatment plans.

What are the risks?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is considered to be a safe, non-invasive treatment. However, as with any procedure, there are still some risks to consider. These vary depending on the type and frequency of the procedure, but include:

  • Temporary twitching of the face or arms
  • Headaches
  • Hearing changes that are usually short-term and reversible

Interruption of working memory (this is very rare and usually short-term) Seizure during the treatment, although this is rare.

Our experts at The London Clinic will perform thorough risk assessments and will discuss these with patients considering transcranial magnetic stimulation.

How effective is it?

Over half of all patients who receive a sustained course of TMS for a major depressive disorder achieve a full response. A further 30% of patients have at least a 50% reduction in symptoms.

In the treatment of stroke and multiple sclerosis, the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation alongside physical therapy has been shown to reduce spasticity of the muscles. High-frequency TMS has also been shown to be effective as a treatment for movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

Why choose The London Clinic

Excellence in one place

We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.

Personal care, every time

Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.

Effortlessly simple

We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.

What's included in your package?

Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.


Your treatment package will include:

  • Enhanced pre-admission assessment
  • Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
  • Personalised aftercare and follow-up

We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.

How to pay

  • You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
  • You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
  • If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis

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