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The premier treatment center for depression, TMS Portland, is located in Portland, Oregon, the state's largest city.

With approximately 2.4 million people within the metropolitan statistical area, this port city is vibrant, eclectic, and committed to environmental solvency, making it one of the most liveable cities in the United States.

Portland offers numerous transportation options, making it easy to access the TMS therapy facility. Whether traveling by car, bus, bicycle, TriMet (rail), or on foot, after visiting the TMS Portland clinic, patients have the option of stopping at one of the many coffee shops and eateries located nearby. In addition, the city is known for its farm-to-table restaurants, so many healthy dining choices are available nearby.

TMS therapy does not require sedation or anesthesia, so patients will not be groggy or sleepy after treatment. That means patients will also be able to take advantage of the city’s many opportunities for respite and/or entertainment. Portland has over 10,000 acres of public parks, is located on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, and sits at the foot of Mount Hood. It also offers numerous microbreweries, the Oregon Zoo, and formal Japanese Gardens. The city is an exciting art, theatre, and art venue. That means trips to TMS Portland can easily be combined with a night out on the town!

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive and pain-free procedure that uses a continuous electrical current to create a magnetic field around a specific area of the brain. It is believed that the magnetic field stimulates the reward and motivation pathways of the brain in the subgenual anterior cirgulate cortex, thereby reducing or eliminating depressive episodes.

How Does TMS Work?

Treatment for depression typically involves medication and/or psychotherapy. When those strategies are ineffective, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy is an appropriate alternative.

TMS was developed in 1985 as a way to target and treat the parts of the brain believed to affect depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Various forms of TMS are now used, including deep and repetitive TMS. While both use coils that contain electromagnets, they treat the affected area of the brain differently. Deep TMS creates a magnetic field that stimulates the reward and motivation pathways of the brain in the subgenual anterior cirgulate cortex. Repetitive TMS uses magnetic pulses to target the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. At Active Recovery TMS, we use both types of TMS treatment.

The efficacy of TMS as a treatment for depression is supported by a 2010 National Institute of Mental Health study, which found that 14 percent of study participants achieved remission. After the initial clinical trial ended, all participants were permitted to enter a second phase. Participants were again treated with TMS and rates of remission climbed to almost 30 percent.

What Does TMS Treatment Involve?

TMS therapy uses a helmet or hat-like device that contains a coil with electromagnets. When an electrical current runs through the coil, it creates a magnetic field in front of the head. A session generally lasts about 20 minutes. However, the initial calibration session may take up to 40 minutes.

Is TMS Safe?

Is TMS Safe? TMS is considered a safe and well-tolerated procedure. The magnetic field is equivalent to an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging scan). Patients are provided with ear protection to minimize the noise created by the magnet. Recent studies found that TMS treatment results in almost no side effects, but those that were reported were mild or moderate. Side effects may include:

  • Discomfort from the electromagnet placed on the forehead.
  • Contracting or tingling of the scalp, jaw, or face muscles.
  • Mild headaches or brief lightheadedness.

In most cases, the level of stimulation can be adjusted to reduce side effects or over-the-counter medications can be taken prior to the procedure.

How Do I Prepare for TMS?

Anything containing metal should be removed from the body. In addition, it is important to disclose any metal or medical devices implanted within the body, such as pacemakers or stimulators. You will also be asked about medical conditions that can be impacted by TMS, including pregnancy or epilepsy.

Will TMS Therapy Work for Me?

As a result of TMS therapy, depression may decrease or be alleviated altogether. However, it may take several weeks of therapy before results are evident. The effectiveness of TMS will increase as researchers learn more about how best to stimulate mood sectors of the brain.

Our staff is available to respond to any questions you may have about TMS therapy. Please contact us at (503) 388-9947.



Factors that contribute to nonresponsive, or inadequate, treatment include insufficient dosage, concurrent disorders, patient noncompliance or early discontinuation of treatment.

A common cause of early discontinuation of treatment is the side effects from the medication itself: patients are affected too negatively and opt to stop taking the medication altogether. Treatment-resistant depression options do exist. TMS is proven to be successful without the concurrent use of antidepressants; it is very helpful for patients with resistant depression or who are averse to taking depression medication because of side effects.

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Electroconvulsive Therapy Has Risks and Side Effects

Another oft-taken course of action for severely depressed patients is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT is an effective option for patients whose depression is severe enough to warrant hospitalization. It is, unlike TMS, highly intrusive with has many severe and long-lasting side effects. Some common side effects of ECT:

  • Confusion or disorientation is common after undergoing ECT treatment. It may last several days or longer.
  • Memory loss is commonly experienced during the weeks of treatment, generally improving within a couple of months after treatment has ended.
  • Physical side effects include, but are not limited to, lightheadedness, possibly severe headaches, facial numbness, fatigue and sleepiness, and nausea.
  • ECT treatments are administered 2-3 times a week and require the use of anesthesia. A single instance of being anesthetized has the potential side effects of nausea and vomiting, sore throat, postoperative delirium, muscle aches, and hypothermic chills and shivers.

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Website Photos by Kitta Bodmer Photography in Portland, Oregon.