Among current U.S. adult smokers, 70% report that they want to stop smoking and millions 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.
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.
A Formidable Addiction
More than 50 million Americans smoke. The numbers are even higher in other parts of the globe, with worldwide statistics showing 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. According to the CDC, tobacco is the cause of 443,000 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 their cigarette habit or are just plain tired of being dependent on a substance. There is also considerable social pressure not to smoke especially here in central Texas.
How Does Acupuncture Help Break the Cigarette Habit?
Acupuncture is 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.
The acupuncture treatments focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness; all symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.
In one study conducted at the University of Oslo, Norway, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce the desire to smoke up to five years after the initial treatment. Subjects of the study also reported that cigarettes tasted worse than before treatment and that the treatments had effectively reduced their taste for tobacco.
The acupuncture needles used are hair-thin. They are superficially inserted into various points in the ears and body to assist with smoking cessation. In between treatments, small pellets are often taped to the acupuncture points on the ear. When a cigarette craving hits, gently pressing on the pellets stimulates the acupuncture points to calm the mind and eliminate the craving.
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.