TMS is a procedure in which cerebral electrical activity is influenced by a pulsed magnetic field. The magnetic field is generated by passing brief current pulses through a figure 8 coil. This coil is encased in plastic and is held close to the scalp so that the magnetic field can be focused onto specific areas of the cortex, or surface, of the brain.
The magnetic field that is generated in rTMS can penetrate the scalp and skull safely and painlessly to induce a current in specific regions of the brain. It is termed repetitive TMS, or rTMS, because the magnetic stimulation is delivered at regular intervals.
Many aspects of rTMS, referred to as stimulation parameters, can be changed. The ability to change parameters while directly targeting specific brain areas suggests that rTMS has valuable therapeutic potential.