Among current U.S. adult smokers, 70% report that they want to quit 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 a cigarette habit or are just plain tired of being dependant on a substance. There is also considerable social pressure not to smoke. Most smokers can recall a dirty look or rude comment from someone that was nearby when they lit up.
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.
If you are ready to quit, call for a consultation to see how acupuncture can empower you to take control and begin a healthy and smoke-free life!
Source: Preventive Medicine. Volume 33, Issue 5, November 2001, Pages 364-372
Multivitamins, Folate, and Green Vegetables May Halt Gene Modification in Smokers
Green vegetables, multivitamins, and folate may protect current and former smokers against lung cancer, according to a study that appeared in the January 15 issue of Cancer Research. This study, supported by the National Cancer Institute, adds to the growing accumulation of research connecting high folate intake to decreased cancer rates.
In the study, researchers examined sputum samples of 1101 current and former smokers from the Lovelace Smokers Cohort in New Mexico. Detailed study of the cells and comparison of those cells with the Harvard Food Frequency profiles of the smokers’ dietary intake of leafy green vegetables, multivitamins and folate revealed that the dietary substances could be used to predict the prevalence of cellular gene methylation – a chemical modification used by the cell to control gene expression. High methylation is a potential marker for the early detection of lung cancer.
The study also investigated the associations between 21 dietary variables and methylation. Both higher intake of leafy green vegetables and folate were significantly associated with a reduced probability of high methylation.
Source: Cancer Research 70, 568, January 15, 2010
A Stop Smoking Acupuncture Point?
There is an acupuncture point located on the wrist that is used exclusively for smoking cessation. The acupuncture point is used to alter the way cigarettes taste.
The acupuncture point is called, Tim Mee. It is located approximately one fingers breadth above the transverse crease of the wrist on the inside of the arm.
Tim Mee is often used in conjunction with another acupuncture point, Lung 7 that is located right above Tim Mee. Lung 7 is one of the most powerful of the lung meridian points. It is a popular acupuncture point for stopping a persistent cough and relieving a sore throat. Lung 7 is often used to treat conditions related to the head and neck. It is also used to improve circulation in the brain and stimulate memory.
Eight Tips to Quit Smoking
1. Exercise more. Getting moving is a great way to remind yourself why you shouldn’t smoke. Exercise can reduce your stress and help you relax far better than cigarettes.
2. Get plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable juices to neutralize and clear the blood of nicotinic acid and to fortify blood sugar.
3. Carrots, Carrot juice, celery, leafy green salads and citrus fruits promote body alkalinity and decrease cravings.
4. Avoid junk food, sugar and coffee. They can upset blood sugar levels and increase blood acidity which can aggravate smoking withdrawal symptoms.
5. Lobelia Tea or Green Tea can be sipped daily during the detox period to keep tissues flooded with elements that discourage nicotine cravings. Lobelia is traditionally used to rid the body of a strong toxin such as a snake bite.
5. Drink water. Research shows that dryness causes cravings. Sip water frequently throughout the day.
6. Practice deep breathing exercises to increase body oxygen and keep calm.
8. Come in for your acupuncture treatment.