ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville doctor is using magnetic pulse technology to help treat clinical depression.

Dr. William Sauve is one of a few doctors in the area who performs transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatments.

The Greenbrook TMS NeuroHealth Centers Charlottesville offers this noninvasive treatment, which is normally used as a secondary method when prescribed medications don't do the trick.

Sauve says the process uses magnetic fields to painlessly stimulate nerve cells within the brain.

"The treatment for depression - which is specifically what we do, and what was approved by the FDA in 2008 - involves a high-frequency, high-intensity treatment to the left prefrontal cortex. That excites that area of the brain, and that's what's associated with improvement of symptoms of depression," explained Sauve.

Patients attend TMS sessions five days a week for at least an hour. The total treatment process lasts for about six weeks.

TMS is also being used by doctors to treat combat veterans who have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The treatment is covered by several health insurance companies and Medicare.