Rehabilitation of sensory and cognitive function typically involves methods for retraining neural pathways or training new neural pathways to regain or improve neurocognitive functioning that has been diminished by disease or trauma.
Research indicates that magnetic stimulation is able to improve the rehabilitation when used as a co-treatment for indications such as stroke, paresis, spasticity, aphasia/apraxia, pain, neuromuscular disturbances, and movement disorders. In the case of stroke, the loss of voluntary movement in the limbs of one side of the body or loss of speech production or understanding are severe consequences.
As opposed to most of the already used methods, magnetic stimulation is treating the cause and not just the symptoms. Magnetic stimulation is painless as there is no current stimulation across your skin.
Research points towards a method where both the peripheral nerves and the cerebral cortex (the brain) are stimulated in the same session. First, the peripheral nerves are stimulated, followed by stimulation of the brain (transcranial magnetic stimulation). This appears to help the brain retrain or use new circuits to send signals to the nerves telling them to move. (Wupuer et al., 2012; Struppler et al., 2007; Struppler et al., 2003; Glaser et al., 1994; Barker et al., 1987)
A vast amount of research shows that the brain is plastic (the ability of the brain to develop new neuronal interconnections) and it is thus possible to regain lost functionality to a certain degree (Pascual-Leone et al., 2005).
Research also indicates that magnetic stimulation can improve spatial neglect, which is a common and devastating syndrome following stroke (Cazzoli et al., 2012).
On www.clinicaltrials.gov it is possible to follow the development of ongoing clinical trials for using rTMS in rehabilitation after different diseases and traumas (e.g. stroke). It is also possible to find selected research sites.
Rehabilitation with Magnetic Stimulation has not yet been approved by a regulatory body, and the treatment is considered investigational.