OccupationalTherapy.com Phone: 866-782-9924

What Does An Occupational Therapist Need To Know About Noninvasive Brain Stimulation?

Heather T. Peters, MOT, OTR/L

May 16, 2016



What does an occupational therapist need to know about noninvasive brain stimulation?


If you want to administer brain stimulation within the scope of your clinical practice, there is not any kind of additional consent needed from the patient. What you do need is you need to obtain a doctor's order to use this. If you are performing brain stimulation in a research setting (which is where the majority of my experience is), test subjects obviously have to consent to be in the study. You have to be very clear with them about what brain stimulation is, what side effects they might experience, what benefits they may or may not get, and what the potential consequences are.

No, you do not have to shave the subject's head. Interestingly, there is a lot of evidence suggesting that more of the current coming from the electrodes gets into the brain if you have hair, because hairs produce natural oils, which serve as a conductor for the current. If someone is bald, they have rougher skin with less natural oils, and it makes it more difficult for the current to get into the brain. You can put the electrode right over their hair.

There is not a certification necessarily in administering tDCS and TMS. I can tell you that Harvard has a center for noninvasive brain stimulation where I believe they offer a two-day-long course. They definitely have a course on both TMS and tDCS, depending on which one you are interested in. MUSC has just opened a center for noninvasive brain stimulation. I think "neuromodulation" is what they call it. They are having their first training sessions in March of next year where they will provide training on TMS and tDCS as well. Those are the two that I know of.


heather t peters

Heather T. Peters, MOT, OTR/L

Heather Tanksley Peters is a licensed occupational therapist and Ph.D. student at The Ohio State University. Currently working in the B.R.A.I.N lab as a graduate research associate, her primary area of interest is developing and testing interventions that improve quality of life in stroke survivors. Specifically, her primary research area of emphasis is examining the effect of non-invasive brain stimulation combined with occupational therapy (Functional Brain Stimulation™) on improving arm and hand function as well as other post-stroke deficits in survivors of stroke. Heather has also engaged in research and/or published in the topics of mental practice, outcome measurement validity and portable upper extremity robotics.

Related Courses

Electrical Stimulation for Recovery of Function in Neurorehabilitation
Presented by Rebecca Martin, OTR/L, OTD, CPAM, CKTP


Rebecca Martin, OTR/L, OTD, CPAM, CKTP
Course: #3840Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Clinical examples'   Read Reviews
This course will describe the different mechanisms of action for electrical stimulation to restore function in patients with neurological dysfunction. Using case studies and best evidence, participants will learn how to design and execute interventions with electrical stimulation useful in neurorehabiliation.

Joint Hypermobility Syndromes: Assessment and Intervention
Presented by Valeri Calhoun, MS, OTR/L, CHT


Valeri Calhoun, MS, OTR/L, CHT
Course: #5376Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'I like how the presenter expanded info beyond what was provided in power point (she didn't just read from the power point)'   Read Reviews
This course will cover upper extremity assessment and treatment strategies for the pediatric/young adult population affected by joint hypermobility syndromes. The treatment focuses on both orthopedic strategies along with adaptive methods for these individuals.

Disability Inclusion: What Healthcare Providers Need To Know
Presented by Kathryn Sorensen, OTD, OTR/L, ADAC


Kathryn Sorensen, OTD, OTR/L, ADAC
Course: #5632Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'I remember taking a client in a power chair 500+ feet down a sidewalk only to find a steel tie down in the way of completing our walk'   Read Reviews
As a person with a disability and an occupational therapist, I have a unique perspective of living in two worlds. In this course, I will share my personal experience and things I wish healthcare providers knew and understood about living with a disability.

Recommendations For Preventing And Managing Mechanical Low Back Pain With Occupational Therapy Clients
Presented by Lisa Juckett, MOT, OTR/L


Lisa Juckett, MOT, OTR/L
Course: #3585Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Thank you very much for professional and beneficial course!'   Read Reviews
This course will review neuromusculoskeletal anatomy of the spinal column with a specific emphasis on the lumbar spine region. Screening, evaluation, and intervention techniques for managing low back pain will be provided as will recommendations for activity modification and injury prevention.

Continued Conversations, The CE Podcast: The Top Ten Mistakes Clinicians Make During Seating and Mobility Evaluations
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS


Michelle Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Course: #4610Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'Everything discussed made it Excellent'   Read Reviews
This podcast will be a conversation about common mistakes made during wheelchair seating and mobility evaluations. The discussion will give you new ideas to improve the evaluation process!

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.