Leading Drug Free Treatment for Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia and ADHD: rTMS

rTMS or Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a drug free, noninvasive treatment best known for depression and is currently offered at Team Health Care Clinic in Champlin, MN.  rTMS is an FDA cleared device for treatment of depression but has also been shown to be beneficial for ADHD, anxiety, insomnia, and other brain-based disorders.  Since the earliest studies were focused on people with depression, virtually all insurance plans, including Medicare, cover rTMS for resistant depression.

What is rTMS?

rTMS is a medical grade magnet that is used to balance the speed of the frequency of firing of the nerves in the brain.  The magnet sends a signal that can be varied to stimulate or slow down the nerves in specific regions of the brain, depending on the patient’s disorder.

For example, people with depression, concussions and ADHD are found to have a slowing of the frequency of firing of the brain.  People with anxiety and insomnia are often found to have a faster than normal firing of the brain. In our clinic, we use a 19-lead electroencephalogram, or EEG to determine the frequency of firing in the brain.

An EEG measures the electrical firing of the brain much like an EKG measures the heart.  Huge data bases have been developed that have allowed us to make comparative studies of our patient’s EEG versus a normative data base.  We can now objectively determine if a patient’s symptoms are related to abnormal firing of the brain and require a modality such as rTMS to speed up or slow down the firing. No guesswork!

A cautionary warning to all readers considering rTMS:  Not all rTMS providers select their patients based on this objective high-tech EEG testing.  Many are still determining their patient’s candidacy by their symptoms alone.  We find our patients are impressed and feel validated when the objective testing determines that their brain is simply not firing as it should.

rTMS is NOT electroconvulsive therapy.

rTMS should not be confused with electroconvulsive therapy or even medication management where side effects are potentially severe such as cognitive impairment, sexual dysfunction, weight gain and many others.  Our patients resume normal activity following a treatment session as the worst side effect may be a mild headache.  Even this is rare.

As one patient put it, “what do I have to lose?” when she considered her treatment options for anxiety.  rTMS is a low risk, highly success option for qualified candidates.  Here is what one rTMS patient had to say about his results:

If you are interested in learning more about rTMS, call our clinic at 763-323-1492 to schedule an “rTMS consultation and examination” with one of our medical providers.

Joe Bertsch, DC

Joe Bertsch, DC


Why Can’t I Sleep?

All too often, I hear the complaint from patients that they are having trouble sleeping at night. Whether it’s falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting up in the morning, it seems the majority of people in our day and age struggle with getting good, let alone enough, sleep. So what can lead to these challenges? Lets take a look at a few possibilities.


From phones, to tablets, to TV’s and more, we are bombarded with a constant barrage of stimulating light. These devices give off a blue-wavelength spectrum of light, a very short wavelength, which makes it difficult for our brains to shut down at night. This type of light actually suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, and can alter the circadian rhythm, which allows us to have proper, consistent sleep/wake cycles. It may be time to shut that phone down before going into bed, and consider reducing or eliminating that time in front of the TV during late times at night as well.

Low Blood Sugar

Dysglycemia, or blood sugar dysregulation, is running rampant among our society. You don’t have to have diabetes to have trouble controlling blood sugar, and sleep is just one area that may be affected as a result. When our diets are high in carbohydrates and sugars, our body quickly breaks these down for use for quick energy. What happens when we eat a dinner high in carbs or a late night snack high in sugar, such as ice cream? We may go to bed feeling full and satisfied, but the quickly broken down and absorbed carbs can’t sustain the energy our body needs through a full night of sleep. So our body taps into our adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, our stress hormone, to pull blood sugar out of our stores and into our blood stream so our body, and our brain, can continue to function while we sleep. With this quick spike in cortisol, along with adrenaline hormones, in the middle of the night, our brain quickly wakes us up as we get put into fight or flight mode. This often takes place sometime between 2 and 3am. If this is you, consider having a healthy snack high in protein before bed, so your body has something in can break down and use over the course of a night of sleep.


The world we live in tends to be busy, go-go-go, and thus, stressful. But does that high stress life you live really affect your sleep? It most certainly Stress causes poor sleepdoes. As mentioned above, cortisol, our stress hormone, plays a large role in our sleep. During the day our cortisol levels are higher, to keep us alert and awake. At night, they drop and should be at their lowest point in the middle of the night, so we can sleep. When morning comes cortisol increases to help us get up and ready for the day. But when stress levels are high in a person’s life, the pattern of cortisol can be thrown off. Often, one may feel awake at night and have a hard time falling asleep, while mornings are nearly impossible to get out of bed. Adding to the story, melatonin, our sleep hormone, works in an inverse relationship, where it should be low during the day and high at night to help us sleep. When these become out of range or even reversed, our sleep patterns are greatly affected.



3 Steps to Better Sleep

1. Turn off your phone, tablets, and TV while in bed, and maybe even an hour or so prior.
2. Avoid high carb meals for dinner, and especially high sugar snacks before bed.
3. Consider doing an easy test that measures cortisol levels in your saliva throughout the day, to see if your levels are where they should be. This test can be ordered and reviewed in our Champlin wellness clinic.

It’s time you start taking control of your sleep. Sleep is one of the most critical parts to optimal brain health and every poor night of sleep can lead to more trouble down the road. Call today to discuss with one of our providers about how we can help you.

Erik Starr, DC

Erik Starr, DC