Can acupuncture help me quit smoking? Absolutely?
If you smoke cigarettes, quitting is one of the most critical things you can do to improve your physical health.
Nicotine dependence is one of the most challenging habits to break. Nicotine addiction is tangled in an intricate web of physiological and psychological factors, as with most addictions. Unfortunately, there is no single method to help someone who smokes stop for good.
However, several therapies are available to help you stop smoking, including one-on-one counseling, support groups, medications, and even acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on the body. Acupuncture is an essential component of traditional Chinese medicine that is most commonly used to treat pain. However, it is also used for stress management, smoking cessation, and even acne.
It's believed to work by stimulating specific pressure points that circulate energy, also known as qi, through the body. Experts believe that acupuncture also helps your increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
Acupuncture may not be as well-known of an option as nicotine patches or gum. However, acupuncture can provide relief from your cravings, especially when you're in the active phase of withdrawal and wrestling with fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms.
While acupuncture is a traditional medicinal practice that is hundreds of years old, several recent studies cite its effectiveness in helping people quit smoking.
One study of 46 healthy men and women who reported smoking approximately 20 cigarettes a day found that cigarette consumption fell on average by 14 cigarettes per day, with a maintained reduction in smoking that lasted for at least five years.
This study confirmed that acupuncture treatment could help motivated smokers to reduce their smoking or even quit smoking altogether. The study also noted that acupuncture could minimize a person's smoking by reducing their taste of tobacco, as well as their desire to smoke.
Thanks to promising recent research, acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular for smoking cessation. Even WebMD, a medical website with 179.5 million unique readers each month, now cites acupuncture as a safe and viable option to quit smoking.
The publication suggests acupuncture for people who have struggled with side effects from other quitting methods.
WebMD suggests that points on your ears, in particular, seem to boost the brain chemicals that help curb your desire to smoke. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association has an entire protocol about ear suppression points commonly used to combat addiction.
However, other studies indicate that different acupoints have varying effects on smoking cessation and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
As such, we recommend consulting with a licensed and practicing acupuncturist you trust on which points are best for your specific situation.
Acupuncture can help you quit smoking because of your cranial nerves. These nerves are commonly accessed through your ears and stimulate the nervous system to suppress your urge for cigarettes.
Stimulating these cranial nerves helps to not only to suppress cravings but also to engage your body's relaxation response. Studies also show that acupuncture triggers your brain to pump out endorphins that help stabilize your mood and reduce irritability.
In short, acupuncture utilizes a combination of thin needles and targeted pressure to reduce cravings, relieve stress, and help support people as they work through their withdrawal symptoms.
Each acupuncture session will typically last around 30 minutes, but this can depend on the severity of your symptoms.
Many acupuncturists recommend starting with two sessions each week until you notice a reduction in your cravings and an overall sense of improved wellbeing.
The number of treatments you require to quit smoking varies from person to person. There is no absolute way to predict the number of treatments you will need to start feeling better.
Some patients experience results in a few treatments, while others need long-term acupuncture care.
The number of treatment sessions required to help you quit smoking depends on a variety of factors, including:
How long you've been smoking
How many cigarettes you smoke
Additional treatments or supports used to quit smoking
As a general rule, you should plan on a minimum of 5-6 visits before you start to see improvements and changes.
The road to quitting smoking or nicotine isn't always a straight path. But if you're trying to quit smoking, acupuncture is a natural approach that can help you curb your nicotine cravings and work toward a healthier you.
If you are experiencing symptoms of addiction, seeking assistance from a trained medical professional can help. You can reduce your cravings for smoking with the help of a trained and licensed acupuncturist.
Ready to get started?