Acupuncture and Quitting Smoking (Smoking Cessation)

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Each year, people across the globe vow to finally quit smoking for good only to watch their resolution go up in smoke. If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how difficult it can be. It is hard because nicotine is a powerful addiction. For some people, it can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.

Acupuncture as an alternative approach to smoking cessation has a growing number of converts. In fact, acupuncture is often a court mandated treatment for drug addicts because of its ability to curb withdrawal symptoms and manage cravings. It is estimated that most smokers will attempt to quit 2 or 3 times, or more, before finally kicking the habit. When conventional methods to quit smoking, such as nicotine gum or patches, have failed, smokers often look outside the mainstream and turn to alternative medicine.

Acupuncture is not a magic cure in the treatment of any addiction, including smoking, however, it is effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke-free. If you are highly motivated and ready to quit, acupuncture can empower you to take control and begin a healthy and smoke-free life!

The reasons to quit smoking are endless. Cigarettes have 4000 known poisons, any of which can kill in high enough doses. One drop of pure nicotinic acid can kill a man. According to the CDC, tobacco kills more than 440,000 people each year, in the US alone. Not to mention the chronic illnesses and diseases which are associated with smoking. Emphysema, lung cancer, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, chronic cough, an increased frequency of colds and flu; these are just a few of the widely known risks associated with smoking.

Many people decide to quit because of the enormous expense of a cigarette habit or are just plain tired of being dependant on a substance. There is also considerable social pressure not to smoke. I am sure that most smokers can recall a dirty look or rude comment from someone that was nearby when they lit up.

How Does Acupuncture Help Break the Cigarette Habit?

Acupuncture has turned a growing number of cigarette cravers into permanent ex-smokers. As said before, acupuncture is not a magic cure in the treatment of smoking. It can, however, reduce the cravings and lessen the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting. A successful acupuncture program will include patient preparation, patient commitment, and education about what acupuncture will and will not do.

Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, Chinese herbs, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Your acupuncturist will do an interview to learn about your unique smoking habits and perform a physical examination including blood pressure, taking the pulse and observing the tongue. The emotional and physical symptoms that you are experiencing will help create a clear picture on which your practitioners can create a treatment plan specifically for you.

The acupuncture treatments will focus on the jitters, the cravings, the irritability, and the restlessness that people commonly complain about when they quit. It will also aid in relaxation and detoxification.

What Points Are Used?

Each patient is custom-treated according to his or her specific and unique diagnosis. Usually a combination of body acupuncture points and points on the ear are used that are believed to influence the organs and energetic pathways associated with smoking.

What Lifestyle and Dietary Changes Should I Make?

Exercise is encouraged and dietary / support systems are recommended to rid the body of toxins and avoid relapses:

Affirmation - An affirmation is a positive statement repeated often to create desired changes in your life. Repeating the affirmation helps not only to remind you why you are no longer smoking but imprints a new image of health so that the body can then produce health.
Examples: "I am a non-smoker. I make healthy choices in my life."

Treatment protocol:

Two/three treatments in the first week are going to do the trick to put you into the "non-smoker" saddle, followed by two additional treatments in the second week. This has a significant effect on lowering cravings and calming you down.

There's another benefit to acupuncture for quitting smoking. Nobody really knows why, but it is a well-known effect. After the acupuncture, cigarettes actually taste foul. Cigarettes taste like a wet ashtray smells, and you know how disgusting that is! After your acupuncture, even if you do try and have a cigarette, the taste will have you spitting until your mouth is dry and searching for mints to remove that nasty burnt taste.

Another added benefit of putting down your cigarettes is that you'll be able to redefine yourself. You are now a non-smoker. Say it again: "I am a non-smoker". It's a great feeling and one that I choose to protect to this day.

It is suggested that on the fourth week you have a 'booster' treatment. Often smokers will think "that wasn't so difficult, I can have a cigarette without falling back into the habit..." and the next thing you know, you're a smoker again. The 'booster' treatments keep you in check! We are all different regarding our smoking habits for example ten cigarettes to two packs per day or week. Some of us need a few extra 'booster' treatments to help us on our way to become a non-smoker.