Acupuncture Studios are successful with smoking cessation and has turned a growing number of cigarette smokers into permanent ex-smokers. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and aim at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health.
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 reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and difficulty concentrating.
Among current NZ adult smokers, 70% report that they want to quit smoking and try to quit every year. If you have attempted to quit smoking, you know how difficult it can be. Nicotine is a powerful addiction. In fact, research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
It is estimated that most smokers will attempt to quit two or three times, or more, before finally kicking the habit. When conventional methods to quit smoking have failed, smokers often look outside mainstream approaches and turn to alternative medicine.
A Formidable Addiction
The worldwide statistics shows that one out of three people over the age of 18 are smokers.
The reasons to quit smoking are endless. Cigarettes have 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic and DDT. Tobacco is the cause of hundreds of premature deaths each year, and is associated with emphysema, lung cancer, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, chronic cough and an increase in frequency of colds and flu.
Many people want 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. Most smokers can recall a dirty look or rude comment from someone that was nearby when they lit up.
How Does Acupuncture Stop Smoking?
When you smoke nicotine enters your lungs and your blood stream. Nicotine is metabolised by your liver. After years of smoking your liver goes into a panic when you decide to quit. The liver sends messages to your autonomic nervous system resulting in a nervous withdrawal reaction. Your heart beat speeds up, you’re irritable, restless and you may feel shaky.
To remove this addiction we must take away the liver’s memory of nicotine. This is accomplished by treating the outer ear and body with tiny acupuncture needles. The ear has connections to your liver, lungs, mouth, pancreas, fingers, and hands. Neural messages are sent through these points via the brain to the corresponding organs.
Acupuncture helps to decrease the physical cravings for tobacco. It also lessens the symptoms of withdrawal, detoxifies and has a generally sedative effect on the nervous system. We know that the surfaces of the auricle are richly supplied with branches of four cranial and two cervical nerves. All of these nerves transmit what are called general somatic sensations and make the external ear a veritable network of neurological interchange – a nest of nerves. The tenth and largest of the twelve cranial nerves is also called the Vagus or “wandering nerve”.
The Vagus nerve also has fibres that communicate with the nerves of the taste buds at the root of the tongue and with salivary glands in the jaw. There is a direct neurological connection from the ear to the mouth.
Beta-endorphin, the natural hormone that causes physical relaxation and reduces sensitivity to pain, is released by acupuncture treatment. The production of beta-endorphin is part of the physical mechanism that makes it possible for you to quit smoking.
Acupuncture is not a panacea or a magic cure in the treatment of any addiction, including smoking. But, acupuncture is effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke-free for good.
What Points Are Used and How Long Will it Take?
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.
Typical treatments last 45 minutes. After removing the needles, ear press needles are applied to stimulate the points between treatments and reduce cravings. These can be pressed when the patient is experiencing a craving.
A typical program consists of 2 treatments during the first week (when the withdrawal symptoms are the greatest) and 2 weekly follow-up treatments. We sometimes recommend monthly follow-ups for 2-3months after the initial series.
After treatment you often feel calm and relaxed. The carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system rapidly disappears. Your heart and lungs begin to repair the damage caused by smoking. Your sense of taste and smell will return. Your smoker’s morning cough or hack will disappear. You will climb a flight of stairs without being winded. Best of all, you will feel alive, clear-headed and full of energy.
Are There Herbs To Help Me Quit Smoking?
Often you are prescribed herbs or supplements to control cravings or withdrawal symptoms. There are three areas to address for herbal support; dryness and tissue repair, irritability and cravings.
– A Lung Yin Tonic such as Ophiopogonis Combination (Mai Men Dong Tang) is often used to moisten the lungs and mouth which can prevent cravings and repair tissue damage caused by smoking.
– A Chinese herbal formula to calm the spirit may be used for irritability. Bupleurum plus Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell (Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang) can help relieve irritability and anxiety associated with detox. Many people use this formula to help them through stressful situations and prevent relapses.
– Green Tea can be sipped daily during the detox period to keep tissues flooded with elements that discourage nicotine cravings
NOTE: The improper use of Chinese Herbs can be dangerous. Please consult with a licensed acupuncturist and herbologist before taking any herbal products.
What Lifestyle and Dietary Changes Should You Make?
1. Avoid situations you strongly associate with smoking ie: drinking with friends who smoke!
2. Exercise more. Exercise can reduce your stress and help you relax far better than cigarettes.
3. Drink more. Drink water. Research shows that dryness causes cravings. Sip water frequently throughout the day.
4. Get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable juices to neutralize and clear the blood of nicotinic acid and to fortify blood sugar. Carrots, Carrot juice, celery, leafy green salads and citrus fruits promote body alkalinity and decrease cravings.
5. Avoid junk food, sugar and coffee. They can upset blood sugar levels and increase blood acidity which can aggravate smoking withdrawal symptoms.
6. Green Tea or Lobelia Tea can be sipped daily during the detox period to keep tissues flooded with elements that discourage nicotine cravings
7. Practice deep breathing exercises to increase body oxygen and keep calm.
8. Schedule your acupuncture treatment!
I was winded while running around with my kids, I hated the smoke smell, and the cost became prohibitive. Around two years ago I decided enough was enough and it was time to quit smoking, and this is my story.
I knew smoking was not a healthy lifestyle option and had tried to give up on many occasions. I began smoking in my teens and as I got older I smoked more and more cigarettes a day.
I first tried a hypnotist in my early 20’s. The first thing I did after my appointment was light up a cigarette. Later in my 20’s I tried nicotine gum. I could not stand the taste of it, and continued to smoke. I was now up to a pack a day.
In my early 30’s I tried patches. I still heavily craved cigarettes while wearing them and gave up. Later in my 30’s I tried Zyban in the USA. Not only did I experience multiple side effects, my body had an anaphylactic reaction to the medicine. Next method was sheer willpower that method was the least successful.
Due to many circumstances 2 years ago I decided to try one last method that I had not tried- acupuncture. I had received acupuncture for back pain, and RSI with great results. I made my appointment with Monique and away I went to become smoke free.
At this point I had sadly smoked for over half of my life. This one appointment changed my life and gave me back my health, more money back in my pocket, and more energy to run around with my kids. I had one session and have never looked back. It was easy, painless, and I have recommended Monique to many of my smoking friends.
If you would like to discuss weightloss and the possible treatment options, please contact me at Acupuncture Studio at Pt Chevalier, Auckland city.