Smoking Cessation – How to Stop Smoking with Acupuncture
It can be challenging to stop smoking, but ear acupuncture can make the process much easier. The most important aspect is having the motivation to make the change, but keeping calm and reducing cravings are also key aspects of being successful with any smoking cessation plan. Acupuncture has an amazing capacity to calm the nervous system, reduce cravings, stimulate detoxification and facilitate healing.
An auricular acupuncture treatment called the NADA Protocol is especially helpful for patients removing addictive substances. A large number of controlled clinical trials, found strong evidence for the effect of the NADA protocol in improving patient outcomes in terms of program retention, reductions in cravings, anxiety, sleep disturbance and need for pharmaceuticals.
What Does the Stop Smoking Plan Involve?
The smoking cessation treatment plan consists of five visits for acupuncture and consultation. At the beginning of this process we will gather information about your smoking history and general health. Based on the individual, we work together to identifying any habits and triggers have previously lead to smoking. A few examples of triggers for smoking are:
- Smoking during phone conversations
- Smoking after emotions such as anger or sadness
- Smoking along with coffee or alcohol
Additionally, at the first appointment your health history is discussed and a physical exam will be conducted (including traditional pulse and tongue diagnosis). Based on this intake, we will determine a Chinese medical diagnosis for you and individualize treatment based on this diagnosis. It is important to understand that each person is treated differently based on their diagnosis or “pattern” in Chinese Medicine terms.
In order to make smoking withdrawal easier, acupuncture supports the body to reduce cravings and minimize symptoms associated with smoking cessation. Because the first month is generally the most difficult, the acupuncture program can make the transition much easier.
Where do the acupuncture needles get placed?
Although there are some common acupuncture points for smoking cessation, each patient’s treatment is customized according to his or her specific diagnosis. Usually a combination of body acupuncture points and ear points are used. After the needles are placed, you will be encouraged to relax for about 30 minutes.
Are Other Techniques Used Between Sessions?
Usually patients are prescribed herbs or supplements to reduce cravings or withdrawal symptoms. Exercise is encouraged and dietary recommendations are often made (foods to avoid and foods to be included during the withdrawal phase). Sometimes a small metal “seed” is tacked onto a specific point on the ear to reduce cravings.
How Does It Compare to Other Methods?
Because the acupuncture smoking termination program is individualized, it is often successful for those who have been unable to stop smoking through other methods. Often, our patients may have tried Nicorette gum, the nicotine patch or some type of organized program. If the individual sticks with it, the acupuncture quitting program can lead to permanent cessation.
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