Smoking is an extremely complicated addiction which is difficult to get rid of. Besides your enormous willpower, you need other support to successfully quit smoking for good.
You require the best tools to arm yourself with, a myriad of physical and emotional factors, and acupuncture, which can be the perfect support system to help you conquer the many evils of smoking.
The Ill-effects of Smoking
You already know the myriad “benefits” of smoking. Some of the more telling effects are the following,
1. Smoking is the chief cause of 90% of lung cancers. It also causes cancer in other parts of the body too including the:
- Voice box (larynx)
- Oesophagus (the tube between your mouth and stomach)
Smoking can also damage your heart and your blood circulation, which increases your risk of developing conditions such as:
- Coronary heart disease
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Heart attack
- Peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)
- Cerebrovascular disease
Smoking also damages your lungs, which in turn may lead to
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Smoking can severely worsen the symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma, or respiratory tract infections such as the common cold.
- Men can suffer from impotence, and it reduces fertility in both men and women.
The scariest thing about smoking is the damage is not restricted to smokers only but also affects the people around. This is known as passive smoking.
2. The health risks of passive smoking
- The second-hand smoke comes usually from the tip of a lit cigarette and the residue smoke that the smoker breathes out.
- Passive smoking can increase your risk of ending up with almost the same health conditions as smokers suffer from. For example, passive smoking increases a non-smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer by about a quarter.
Children and babies bear the brunt of passive smoking the most. A child who is exposed to passive smoke can develop chest infections, meningitis, persistent coughing and, if they have asthma, their symptoms worsen with time. They can also be affected by cot death and an ear infection known as the glue ear.
Health risks of smoking during pregnancy
You are especially susceptible to the ill-effects of smoking when you are pregnant. Not only do you get affected, but you also put your unborn baby’s health at risk. If you have been smoking during pregnancy, you may be further be exposed to further complications such as:
- Premature (early) birth
- Low birth weight baby
- Stillborn babies
Can Acupuncture Help you get Rid of Smoking?
Smoking sucks you into a vortex from where it is difficult to escape. So, there isn’t just one method to help a smoker quit. There are actually numerous methods specifically designed to enable a smoker to quit smoking.
Most of the tools or foods which are used to help quit smoking become a cause of addiction itself. Acupuncture, however, has zero side effects and on top of that boasts of some positive side effects instead.
It is largely believed that acupuncture, though it may not outrightly help a person quit smoking, and help in other ways. That is, it can effectively control the mechanisms of addiction itself.
It can change a person’s habits and this can be the most powerful weapon to fight smoking. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association has previously declared that acupuncture is really effective in managing addictions of several kinds and that includes smoking.
People reeling from the side-effects of smoking can experience marked improvements with acupuncture and can experience better moods, better sleep, and reduced cravings. That brings us to the question, how does Acupuncture help in quitting smoking?
Does Acupuncture help to Quit Smoking?
Research on acupuncture has always produced inconclusive results, but more recent findings have brought forward the powerful effects acupuncture has on our body, instead of going to explain the complexities of this holistic routine.
Acupuncture has been shown to have an incredibly powerful effect on the aspects of the nervous system and also its inimitable ability to regulate things like stress, heart rate, and mood.
Acupuncture is actually a technique that can help get rid of any kind of addiction, and that not only means tobacco addiction but other addictions too.
Addiction is not bound by just the mental aspect of things, addiction can take on several forms, on the the emotional and physical front too. Thus, you have to fight addiction on multiple levels.
One of the most common acupuncture techniques particularly helpful in treating addictions is called auricular acupuncture. This technique involves inserting fine needles into the acupuncture points in the ear.
What Acupuncture Points Are Used to Help in the Cessation of Smoking
Each patient is treated individually according to his or her specific diagnosis. Usually, a combination of body acupuncture points and points on the ear are used to influence the organs and energy pathways associated with smoking.
Commonly Used Points Used to Quit Smoking include:
- Lung Upper and Lung Lower
- Hunger or Mouth
Tim Mee-point is an extra-meridian point located right on the wrist between LU-7 (Lieque) and LI-5 (Yangxi), this point is specifically used to help quit smoking.
There are other points known as the Four Gate Points (LI-4, LV-3)- which are used to circulate energy also known as (Qi) throughout the body, and invariably calms down the nervous system.
Usually, acupuncture treatments last from five to 30 minutes and the patients usually have to return to the chamber one or two times a week for treatment. After you remove the needles, you can ear press needles or silver pellets often applied to stimulate the points to reduce cravings, between the treatments.
A Few Points to Consider About Acupuncture
Here are a few things you must keep in your mind before starting on acupuncture.
1. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for smoking.
If you think acupuncture has only recently been used to help with smoking addiction, then you are wrong!
Acupuncture has helped combat addiction and also helped with the struggle to give into cigarette cravings, for years now. Many people have had success, and research has also supported these claims.
In a recent study, “Alternative Smoking Cessation Aids: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials,” researchers gathered promising results from 14 different studies to find out about a few alternative techniques that can help patients stop smoking.
The study included 823 different patients. The researchers had several positive things to say about acupuncture and its positive influence on smokers.
The researchers had further substantiated that both acupuncture and hypnotherapy can have a positive impact on patients who smoked.
Though the scientific world may not have gushed over the benefits of acupuncture and have not as such gone ahead on a recommending spree for smoking cessation, more and more research is helping them let go of their doubts about acupuncture.
Acupuncture helps detoxify the body, restore the balance in your constitution and jumpstart the healing process.
2. The “Stop Smoking” Acupuncture Point.
The Tim Mee point, already discussed before, is the one point which can help stop smoking, but how effective is it? Smoking is too complicated an addiction to deal with, so just by activating this point you won’t be able to kick the habit. Don’t get us wrong, the Tim Mee point is indeed a powerful acupuncture point, but you have to use it in conjunction with other points to combat cravings, and help your body to heal.
3. Acupuncture cannot change habits.
The withdrawal symptoms or Physical cravings are just one aspect of cigarette addiction. It affects you in more ways than meets the eye.
If smoking helps you breeze through emotional troubles, it can almost act as a shield behind which you try to hide; and as soon as the shield goes off, you find it difficult to cope with difficult emotional situations, and you end up feeling naked and vulnerable.
If you are a smoker hurtling into a no-smoking zone, it can make you feel “off” and unable to cope with things. All of these problems may seem monumental, but truth be told, you must learn to accept them, as they are part of your daily challenges and are considered normal.
Find support systems around you such as family and friends. A support group can be a great help too. Exercise, of course, as it boasts of some of the best side-effects. There are loads of positive activities which you can indulge in, which will take your mind off smoking.
4. Massages to cope with cravings.
Ear massage is one very effective way to help you cope with cravings at home. It releases endorphins or happy hormones, these are chemicals which can act as painkillers. It also helps stimulate the acupuncture points, which helps balance the Qi.
There are many ear massage techniques, which you can employ. All you have to do is place your thumbs on the widest upper portion of your ears and knead the area using circular motions.
With gentle strokes, massage the small inner crevices and the front of your ear which is linked to your head. You can massage your earlobes, with gentle pulls and circular massages.
5. Herbs to curb cravings.
There are many herbs which can help with cravings, detoxification, irritability, and tissue repair. You need to discuss with your acupuncturist about the best points to curb cravings.
There are almost half a million deaths in the USA alone all associated with smoking. No wonder, because there are about 4000 listed toxins in cigarette smoke and the list of smoking related diseases are just too many to put down. It includes ailments such as lung cancer and high blood pressure.
So, you will never run out of reasons to quit smoking. The statutory warning on cigarette packets should never be taken be lightly.
Acupuncture, as it has been said, works best in tandem with other alternative methods such as herbs and hypnotherapy.
What is Hypnotherapy, you are wondering? It is a treatment of the mind where the mind is so trained that you say NO to smoking. Acupuncture, on the other hand, mainly caters to the physical element of the addiction.
Acupuncture is a very important tool to quit smoking and you should explore it as an alternative method to the other conventional methods available to quit smoking. Try it and reap its endless benefits.
A few Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations
Besides continuing with the acupuncture treatment, there are some other points which you need to follow to get more effective results. They are as follows:
- Exercise- Move more, getting more movements is a great way to remind yourself why you should steer clear of cigarettes and smoking. Exercise is such a great stress-buster that not only can drastically reduce your stress but also help you function better in every way, which puts your mind off the immediate and pressing need of a cigarette.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables- Plenty of fruits and vegetables help neutralize and clear the blood of nicotinic acid and also to fortify blood sugar. Keep your body alkaline by including more carrots, carrot juice, celery, citrus fruits, and leafy green salads to promote body alkalinity and decrease cravings.
- Avoid junk food, sugar and coffee. These can jeopardize your blood sugar levels and increase the blood acidity that aggravates smoking withdrawal symptoms.
- Consume Green Tea daily. This helps in detoxing and in the reduction of nicotine cravings.
- Drink copious amounts of water- When you are dehydrated you crave for a cigarette more. So, it makes sense to drink more water throughout the day and keep yourself hydrated.
- Yoga and pranayama- Yoga and deep breathing techniques like pranayama flood your body with oxygenated blood and help you keep calm and composed.