DENVER (KDVR) — Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is becoming a more common way to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression.

TMS is a non-invasive form of deep brain stimulation in which a magnetic field is used to optimize brain function.

Dr. Eric French at Mind Spa in Greenwood Village allowed FOX31 to record a TMS session with Sam Peterson. Peterson served as a bomb disposal technician in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, and he suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Peterson is a co-founder of Mind Spa and also gets the treatments.

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation like?

French got Peterson strapped into a helmet and started the treatment. 

“I barely feel anything. It’s just almost like a little pressure on the outside of my skull,” Peterson said. This was his 35th TMS treatment and he says it is helping him.

“I feel a pretty significant difference, especially with the depressive symptoms. Stressers are easier to deal with and my lows don’t feel as low,” Peterson said.

In general, French said the treatments last less than 30 minutes and then patients can go back to their day

French said the treatment, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, can help patients who do not respond to medication, or it can be added to an ongoing treatment plan.

“Insurance companies are very well aware of how well this works and that’s why they’re covering it,” French said. “Most of them have their own criteria. They want you to have at least failed one or two antidepressant medications, possibly having undergone some therapy, but then once you’ve met that criteria, they will approve it and pick up the bill, which is excellent.”

According to Mind Spa, up to 75% of patients report a significant improvement in their symptoms within the first few weeks of treatment.