by Abie, TMS Technician
In her first expert blog post, Manchester TMS Technician Abie gives her advice on what to expect and how to prepare for a visit to a Smart TMS clinic.
Many patients who have attended the Smart TMS clinic in Manchester have been nervous before their first session. These nerves quickly dissipate once the first session is over, as knowing what to expect and what TMS feels like are the predominant worries that patients experience.
This post will provide some tips on how to help you if you’re feeling nervous for your first session.
Bring a friend
If possible, ask if a friend or family member can attend your first session of TMS treatment with you. They will be able to distract you and take your mind off things whilst you are travelling to the clinic. This may also be helpful if you’re not great with directions, as having someone with you when travelling somewhere new for the first time can be comforting. They might even be able to drive you in, if you’re lucky!
They don’t have to come into the clinic with you, they can stay in the waiting room, or pop round to Starbucks for half an hour, and could even have a drink ready and waiting for you when your session is over, which is another bonus! If you want them to come into your session with you, that’s perfectly fine too. This will give them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have and seeing your treatment will help them to understand it.
Know what to expect
Ensure to read through your welcome pack, which will take you through the treatment process. The length of a treatment session depends on which procedure you have been prescribed, however the longest individual treatment is 20 minutes.
Your first session may take up to an hour, as we will mark some measurements on your cap, and determine your resting motor threshold, which tells us the maximum power output you will be able to tolerate. This ensures that we won’t reach an intensity that you are uncomfortable with.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have to the clinician during your assessment, and the TMS technician before your first session.
What does TMS feel like?
TMS feels like a tapping sensation – this will be tolerable and should not cause you any pain. Some patients may start to find it slightly uncomfortable as we start to reach a higher power output. However, we will increase this at a rate you are comfortable with, and patients can acclimate to the feeling pretty quickly. Some actually like the feeling of TMS.
Bring some earphones
I love to chat to patients throughout their treatment sessions. However, don’t worry if you want to bring some earplugs, or earphones to listen to music to distract you during your sessions.
Your TMS technician will always be ready for a chat if you decide you don’t need music once you’re comfortable with treatment. You could also bring a book or a newspaper to read whilst having your treatment, if this would make you feel more at ease.
I like to play music in the background whilst patients are having treatment. If this is something you would like, just ask, and don’t be shy to request a particular band or song.
Be open with your technician
If you are feeling particularly nervous, let your technician know, and we will do whatever we can to make you feel more comfortable. Your technician will always be able to give you support and encouragement. If you have any concerns, just make sure to discuss them, and talk them through with your technician.
Abie, TMS Technician
Abie is a member of the Smart TMS team of technicians at our Manchester TMS Clinic.
Her qualifications and experience prior to working at Smart TMS include:
- Psychology Bsc (Hons) at Lancaster University, with a certificate of distinction
- Currently studying MSc in Developmental Disorders
- N-compass Northwest volunteer – advocacy and carer support
- Experience of peer mentoring, supporting disaffected youth and co-facilitating support groups for mental well-being
Smart TMS was established in 2015, dedicated to providing TMS treatment in London at their South Kensington/Brompton Cross centre. The company opened a second clinic in Birmingham in September 2017 and also has a base in Northampton. The first Irish clinic was opened in Dublin in October 2017 and in 2018, Smart TMS opened further locations in Manchester, Bristol and Havant (South Coast).
For any queries or for patients wishing to book an appointment at one of our UK clinics, please contact us:
- Tel: 0345 222 5678
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Irish patients may contact Our Dublin Clinic direct on: