Treating depression and OCD with Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)


Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. (WHO 2018).

Depression is a debilitating condition that can have profound effects on the quality of a person’s life.

Approximately a third of those suffering from depression do not respond to pharmaceutical and/or psychological treatment.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, known as OCD, is a condition characterised by unwanted thoughts and repetitive impulses. Only about 60% of patients with OCD improve with medication and at least 75% will relapse in the months after stopping the drug.

What is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)?

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a non-invasive method of brain stimulation.

The basic principle of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is to target short magnetic pulses over the scalp in specific brain regions that regulate mood.

rTMS is a medically safe treatment that has been evidenced to significantly decrease symptoms of depression and OCD.

What happens in a Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) session?

During your first appointment, our rTMS specialist will carry out an intensive assessment to determine if rTMS is a suitable treatment for you.

Our specialist will talk you through the entire treatment procedure, and answer any questions you may have.

Following this, our rTMS specialist will formulate your personalised treatment plan. You will also be given a welcome pack, inclusive of information about rTMS treatment and an appointment’s tracker.

Your first rTMS session will last an hour. This is to allow for all initial paperwork to be completed and to also locate the ideal positioning for the treatment to take place on your head.

To begin the treatment, you will be seated in a comfortable chair and then given a cap to wear.

Measurements will then be taken for head and facial positioning, and your individual motor threshold will be recorded before the treatment commences.

Typically, you will hear a noise and feel a tapping sensation on the head area during the session. To diminish the sound, you will be provided earplugs if you wish.

The entire Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) session will last approximately 20-minutes, after which you will be able to resume your day without any disruption.

Is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) a safe treatment?

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) has been the subject of significant research worldwide, with it being consistently reported to be an effective form of treatment.

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States of America approved rTMS to treat depression, which is now routinely used in the top hospitals internationally.

In 2015, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom concluded that rTMS for depression treatment was “safe enough and works well enough for use in the NHS.”

What are the benefits of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)?

  • Research and clinical trials worldwide have reported it to be an effective treatment for depression and OCD
  • rTMS is a non-invasive treatment, which requires no sedation
  • It is an outpatient treatment and well-tolerated by the majority of people
  • People experience minimal side effects
  • Daily activities can be resumed immediately after each session (e.g driving)

What are the side effects of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)?

rTMS is generally well tolerated by most patients but can cause some minor short-term side effects including:

  • Headaches
  • Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
  • Tingling, spasms or twitching of facial muscles
  • Light-headedness
  • Discomfort from noise during treatment
  • Other rare side effects include seizures (2 per 1,000 cases)

When compared to anti-depressant medication and ECT, rTMS is proven to have far fewer side-effects.

Why choose Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment at Nightingale Hospital?

In 2014, Nightingale (in partnership with MagnaCentre) was the first private hospital in the UK to pioneer rTMS treatment.  Since then, we have been the most experienced provider of rTMS treatment in the UK, delivered by our expert and internationally experienced practitioner team.

Not only were we the first private hospital in the UK to deliver Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment, but we were also the first private hospital in the UK to offer rTMS using a BrainsWay H-coil.

rTMS is typically delivered using a figure-8 shaped coil. The standard figure-8 coil uses a highly focused magnetic field. This type of coil has limitations when it comes to accurately target the specific sections of the brain which are impacted in depression and OCD. By contrast, H-coils supply a wider field and are designed to stimulate the key brain regions more consistently. H-coils also induce an effective field at a depth of approximately 3cm below the skull, compared to less than 1.5cm for the standard figure-8 coil.

It has been suggested that the deeper and wider penetration provided by H-coils accounts for the superior response rate and greater reduction of depression severity reported in the first head-to-head trial between the H-Coil and figure-8 coil published in 2019.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) at Nightingale Hospital is delivered in partnership with MagnaCentre™.

When is Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) not suitable?

  • If you have a co-morbid neurological disorder, history of epilepsy and/or neurosurgery
  • If you have metal plates in the head/brain, the presence of pacemakers or other electronic
    implants, inner-ear implants, metal or magnetic objects in the brain and medication
    pumps. (Standard amalgam dental fillings do not pose an issue)
  • If you are below 18-years-of-age

How much does Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment cost at Nightingale Hospital?

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment starts from £185 per session*.

Most private medical insurers review applications to fund rTMS treatment on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your insurance provider to assess your eligibility. The hospital requires an insurers authorisation before treatment can commence.

*Prices for treatment vary based on the mental health condition.

For detailed billing information, please contact:

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7535 7803

How do I get Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment at Nightingale Hospital?

Consultant psychiatrists, GPs and health professionals can all refer patients for Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) at Nightingale Hospital.

All patients will need to be under the care of a Nightingale psychiatrist for the duration of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment.

The referring psychiatrist or GP will receive regular updates on a patient’s progress including HDRS scores upon the commencement of treatment and at discharge.

What patients are saying about Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) at Nightingale Hospital

  • All first-class, from the moment I arrived each day.
  • This is a really positive option for suffering from depression.
  • The process was extremely fast, efficient, friendly and reassuring.
  • Excellent care and help.
  • I was very happy about the service in every aspect.
  • Staff service I can’t recommend enough. Treatment (from a very sceptical chap!) has been
    amazing. Feel as though depression never happened! Hope more people use it.
  • Felt like a new man after my course of treatment. Wife and family all amazed at the change in

Make an enquiry about Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) treatment at Nightingale Hospital

You can make a confidential enquiry using the form below.

Our experienced team will endeavour to respond to your request within two business days.

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) enquiry


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“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”