Can Acupuncture Help Me Quit Smoking?
Chinese medicine and acupuncture are a wonderful way to treat a host of conditions. Acupuncture has been used to treat everything from the common cold to fibromyalgia. It is used very successfully to treat pain. It even treats many forms of addiction and helps people who are ready to quit, finally stop. Chewing and smoking tobacco accounts for most new cases of lip/ mouth, throat and lung cancers every year. There are several ways that acupuncture can help you “kick the habit.”
The first is by helping the liver detoxify. This allows the liver to clear nicotine out of your body more quickly which reduces your cravings for tobacco.
The second is by relieving stress and increasing your sense of well-being. This allows you to be more relaxed and focus on healthier activities. Since many of us smoke more when we feel stressed, this reduces the stress trigger to smoke. This also reduces the anger and general moodiness that we can experience when we are trying to quit smoking.
Thirdly, acupuncture will also reduce food cravings. This helps you avoid weight gain when you try to quit smoking or chewing tobacco.
Acupuncture is not a magic pill. If you don’t really want to quit, nothing can make you quit. Acupuncture will reduce your cravings, but you will still have some. These will usually occur during your biggest trigger activities such as being out with friends, or driving in your car. It is up to you to get through these cravings. It is usually a good idea to have a friend you can call or an alternative activity you can begin when you have these cravings.
Some people find it helps to have a quitting buddy to offer mutual support and comfort while you are trying to quit. It is also helpful to have the support of friends and family in quitting. You can quit tobacco on your own, but it is usually much more difficult if friends and family continue to smoke around you, especially in the early stages.
How does it work?
Typically when you come in for smoking cessation, I will see you 2 times in the first week and then for 2 weekly visits. After that we may have you come back in for 2 – 3 follow-up visits 2 weeks to 1 month apart, depending upon how you are feeling. I will sometimes have a patient who feels they need a few more treatments, but typically I find 4-6 treatments is all it takes.
Most of the treatment is done in the ear using very small acupuncture needles. These points calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. They also increase liver function, which causes the liver to detoxify and clear nicotine and other toxins from your body.
Acupuncture has been shown to be beneficial in helping people “kick” tobacco. You have to be ready to quit. It is usually best to stop smoking at least 8 hours before coming in for your first acupuncture treatment.
There are many options available to you to help quit smoking. Acupuncture is one that has worked for many people.