Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)

For treatment-resistant depression

Breakwater Neuro is a pioneering community provider of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a non-invasive outpatient medical treatment that uses magnetic energy to stimulate the brain.

How it works

rTMS works by delivering pulses of magnetic energy to a carefully chosen location on the brain’s surface. It takes advantage of the fact that magnetism, unlike electricity, passes very easily through the body’s tissues, giving ready access to structures underneath the surface.

In rTMS, an electromagnetic coil is placed over the scalp and generates a series of very brief, pulsed magnetic fields on its underside, which reach all the way to the surface of the brain. The pulses are patterned in a way that either increases or decreases the brain’s activation at the stimulated site. This in turn alters activity in a broader network of related brain areas, leading to symptom relief.

 rTMS has been shown in scientific research to be effective for various conditions, including:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • insomnia
  • chronic pain
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

rTMS is often effective for people for whom other treatments have not worked.

Is rTMS for me?

Anyone over the age of 18 who struggles with depression and who has tried at least one medication is a good candidate for rTMS, because its benefit-to-side-effect ratio is so favourable.

Our clinic’s current focus is on using rTMS to treat depression. To qualify for rTMS treatment, depression symptoms must be present, whether or not other symptoms are also in the picture.

In the future, we plan to provide a broader range of protocols to treat other conditions. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that our clients whose depression improves with rTMS typically also report improvements in other symptom areas, like anxiety and PTSD. The reason for this is that rTMS affects brain networks that are involved in regulating a broad range of emotions, not just depressed mood.

Benefits of rTMS as a treatment solution

rTMS is easily tolerated

It is non-invasive, has no major side effects, and adverse events are extremely rare

rTMS works well

Roughly two thirds of medication-resistant depressed patients treated with rTMS show a clinically meaningful reduction in symptoms, with about half of those reporting that their depression has cleared completely

rTMS is fast

It works rapidly, typically bringing about relief from symptoms within four to six weeks of the start of treatment, compared to traditional methods for treating depression, which can take much longer

“Typically, people suffering with depression who come to our clinic have tried other things that have failed entirely. The fact that they have access to something this effective is very positive.”
–Dr. Philip Toman, Clinical Psychologist and head of the Breakwater Neuro team

Interested in learning more about rTMS?