- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy uses strong magnets to influence the electric currents that run through your brain. It targets your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which influences your mood, memory, mental flexibility, and more.
- TMS therapy is a powerful way to alleviate depression and improve your brain function without the side effects of prescription drugs.
- TMS therapy involves 20-minute daily sessions with a doctor over 4-5 weeks. The results last for months and the process is painless and noninvasive, with few to no side effects.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a powerful new way to hack your brain, particularly if you tend toward depression.
TMS therapy uses strong, specialized magnets to change the electrical currents in your brain. It’s a great way to boost mood without the many side effects of antidepressants.
Before becoming Bulletproof, I suffered from serious mood swings. I had bursts of anger and bouts of depression and anxiety that sabotaged my work, my health, and — most importantly — my relationships. I haven’t had depression or unstable mood in years, but I’m always interested in ways to relieve depression, especially because it’s been on the rise over the last few years.
Recently, I tried TMS therapy with Dr. David Feifel (you can hear us talk about treating depression on this Bulletproof Radio podcast episode). When we did it, I felt really weird, like there was a little scrunching in my scalp and a shift upward in my mental energy. I felt happier afterward, like I was a little more in the zone and it was going to be a great day. I could see how doing TMS therapy daily could be a powerful way to boost mental performance and relieve depression.
This article will cover how TMS therapy works, and how you can use it to improve your mood without drugs.
TMS therapy for depression, anxiety, and OCD
TMS therapy works by sending strong magnetic waves deep into your brain. Your brain cells communicate with each other using a combination of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) and electricity. You constantly have low-level voltage running across your brain, and if you change your brain’s electrical patterns, it can have a major influence on how you think and feel.
Your brain also seems to need magnetic fields to orient its electrical activity. Astronauts have magnets in their helmets because their brains don’t work right in space when there’s no magnetic field there.
You can use magnets to influence your brain in a profound way, which is exactly what TMS therapy does. In a TMS session, you sit under a little coil that looks like a butterfly, and it sends an electromagnetic pulse through your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), a part of your brain that influences mood, memory, and mental flexibility.
More than a dozen human studies have found that TMS therapy relieves treatment-resistant depression. Other human studies have found that TMS therapy can treat social anxiety, general anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
If you have depression, anxiety, or OCD, TMS therapy could be a powerful treatment that doesn’t involve medication or nasty side effects.
TMS therapy for cognitive enhancement
More recent research has found that TMS therapy can help you learn faster. Healthy people who did TMS sessions had significantly faster skill acquisition afterward — in other words, they could learn new things with ease. Participants also had better accuracy and speed during cognitively challenging tasks.
TMS therapy could be a valuable new tool for brain hacking, although right now it’s challenging to do TMS sessions without a doctor or a diagnosis. If you want to try something similar without a doctor’s approval, you can visit Upgrade Labs in Los Angeles and try pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy on your brain; it can activate untapped mental energy by making your mitochondria stronger. You can also use nootropics to unlock more brain power.
How to do TMS therapy
To try TMS therapy, you’ll have to work with a doctor. Usually you do a 20-minute TMS session every day for four or five weeks. The benefits start after your first couple sessions, and they last for about six months after your last session. The process itself is painless and noninvasive. It actually felt kind of good when I tried it. It’s like a massage for the inside of your brain.
TMS therapy is a great way to relieve depression, anxiety, and OCD without taking damaging prescription drugs. Give it a try, and for more ways to get control of depression, check out my guide to fighting depression without medication. Thanks for reading.