Quit Smoking for Good This Time with Acupuncture
How to Quit Smoking for Good This Time with Acupuncture
There’s an old joke that goes like this: It’s easy to quit smoking; I’ve done it a thousand times.
In reality, giving up cigarettes is perhaps one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Nicotine is highly addictive. The only ones arguing that is the tobacco industry. But scientific studies suggest that quitting smoking may be just as hard as overcoming addiction to substances like heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.
The good news is that it’s not impossible. If you’ve had trouble quitting in the past, maybe you haven’t found the right combination that works for you yet. Maybe you need a multi-pronged approach to tackle this problem. An approach that includes acupuncture.
The ancient art of acupuncture comes to us from Chinese traditional medicine. It’s been in use for at least two thousand years. But with its origins shrouded in ancient mysticism, some in the West are dubious about it. How can being poked with random needles change anything?
Regardless, the fact remains that acupuncture still helps a lot of people butt out for good. There are many successful quitters who’ve used acupuncture to help them live smoke-free. Maybe it’s time to see if it could help you quit as well.
Science just might be slowly coming around
In the past, Western science and Chinese traditional medicine haven’t exactly seen eye-to-eye. Acupuncture doesn’t lend itself to randomized double-blind experiments in the lab well. As such, the medical establishment often frowns upon it. They merely attribute any successes credited to acupuncture to the placebo effect.
But in 2012 the American Journal of Medicine published a paper entitled “Alternative Smoking Cessation Aids: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Control Trials.” The paper looked at several studies involving practices in alternative medicine. In the end, the data suggested that acupuncture “may help smokers quit,” even if no one was certain why or how. To answer that question, more evidence would be needed.
Even if science hasn’t figured it out yet, acupuncture has helped many former smokers get a new lease on life. It helps ease the jitters and minimizes cravings. It calms irritability and soothes restlessness.
Acupuncture also helps you relax and works to detoxify your system. And detox is something your body needs when you consider that smoking releases hundreds of toxins, some of them known carcinogens.
It then undoes the damage caused by years of smoking by promoting healing. In addition, acupuncture helps you sleep better, letting your body make the most of its natural restorative processes.
How acupuncture works to help you quit smoking
The theory behind acupuncture is that certain points on the body, when stimulated properly, help to sympathetically heal other parts of the body. Fine needles temporarily inserted into these points provide the necessary stimulation.
In procedures to help you quit smoking, needles are inserted into five points on the ear. These points help heal things like the kidneys and your lungs. They also help diminish your cravings. There are also needles in your hands and feet at the four gate points. These points boost your immune system, block pain, and promote good liver health. Because a healthy liver leads to a toxin-free body.
These points come up often enough in common acupuncture treatments. But when it comes to helping you quit smoking, there’s a very special point that also comes into play. The Tim Mee point.
This point is located on the inner forearm a finger’s width above the crease of your wrist. And this is the point that makes all the difference. For when this point is properly stimulated, smoking stops tasting the same. The joy you once cherished will start tasting bad, unagreeable, and just plain wrong.
How acupressure can help
Hand-in-hand with the practice of acupuncture is acupressure. That’s the art of stimulating the points without breaking the skin. You merely press a specific location to produce the desired result.
Sometimes during a therapy treatment, your acupuncturist may tape a small ball bearing to part of your body. Perhaps somewhere on your ear. Then they’ll show you how pressing on that spot can help you with the problem you’re trying to overcome.
With smoking cessation treatments, your acupuncturist will show you how stimulating your ear can help release endorphins into your system. This technique helps calm you to better manage your cravings.
What to expect during acupuncture treatments
Your initial treatments will usually run anywhere from five to thirty minutes in length. And you’ll probably see your acupuncturist once or twice a week for the first four to six sessions.
By this point, you should be well on your way to butting out for good. Especially if you’re using acupuncture in conjunction with other smoking cessation methods. But more on that later.
After your initial treatments, you’ll have monthly follow-up appointments. These typically run no longer than four to six months.
What about hypnosis?
Another alternative treatment that has shown positive results is hypnotherapy. It got the seal of approval acupuncture did in the meta-study listed above. Whereas acupuncture is concerned with healing the body, hypnosis focuses on shaping mental habits and controlling impulses.
Since the two fields focus on different areas that complement each other, many have found great success using them together. While acupuncture and acupressure help you overcome the cravings and the physical damage, hypnotherapy can help you rein in habitual bad behavior.
During hypnotherapy, smokers are given a series of suggestions that drive home the ugly truths many try not to think about:
Many report that hypnotherapy really helps them think twice about the choices they’re making and guides them to make the right decision.
How you can change your habits to manage your cravings
There are those who’ll say all you really need to quit is willpower. But you wouldn’t be looking into smoking cessation methods if you didn’t already have the will to succeed. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to naturally harness your existing willpower to give you the strength you need to see this through.
The first thing to realize is that a lot of people use smoking as a coping mechanism. It helps them deal with stress. And when you take away someone’s coping mechanism, they often feel exposed, defenseless, and vulnerable. Which only leads to more stress.
It’s important to find new ways of coping with stress that have nothing to do with your old smoking ritual. Don’t go to where you used to smoke. Don’t do the things you used to do when you smoked. And if necessary, put some distance between yourself and the people you used to smoke with.
Instead of reaching for your cigarettes when you’re stressed, try brewing a cup of green tea. It definitely gives you something to do for a few minutes, and it’s way healthier than smoking.
Try looking for new activities far-removed from your old bad habits. Ones where it would just seem out of place to pull out a pack of smokes. And do your best to stay away from junk food, sugar, and coffee. Because bad habits just love company.
There are also little changes you can make to your diet to help with all this. For instance, carrots, leafy greens, and citrus all promote alkalinity which decreases cravings. And while you’re at it, do your best to stay hydrated. It’s been shown that dryness helps to make cravings worse.
Vaporize your nicotine addiction with the help of acupuncture
It’s hard to butt out. Worldwide, a full third of the adult population is addicted to nicotine. And that number is only lower in North America because of the enormous social stigma we attached to smoking.
Your willpower might be strong, but against a powerful adversary like nicotine addiction it needs all the help it can get. A nuanced, layered approach that uses the power of acupuncture might be the combination you’ve been looking for all this time. The winning ticket that finally lets you break free.
If you’ve quit a thousand times already, why not make it a thousand and one for good measure? But this time, do it with the help of acupuncture—to make this time the last time.
Learn more about living smoke-free with the help of acupuncture
If you have any questions about how you can quit smoking with the help of acupuncture, naturopath Dr. Tara Andresen can help. Book an appointment with her today.