The third Thursday in November is the Great American Smokeout, a national day on which the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to make a plan to quit smoking or try being a non-smoker for a day. Why do they want people to quit smoking? Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet nearly 1 in every 5 adult Americans still smoke. Quitting smoking will help prevent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lower your risk for cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder, and reduce the likelihood of coronary heart disease or diabetes, just to name a few of the benefits.
That sounds great right? Well it’s easy to say and much harder to do. There is a very strong chemical dependence to nicotine and the myriad of other chemicals in cigarettes and psychological attachment to the activities surrounding smoking such as taking a break from work, starting the morning, ending a meal, or going out to socialize. Overcoming these chemical dependencies and attachments is a huge hurdle.
Acupuncture Can Help
The good news is that acupuncture can help. In fact in June of 2012, the American Journal of Medicine Published a meta-analysis of 14 international studies that looked at the effect of acupuncture and hypnosis on quitting smoking. Researchers found that smokers who received acupuncture were more than three times as likely to be tobacco-free six months to a year later. Read the study.
Acupuncture is a gentle and effective way to reduce cravings, detoxify the lungs, and stabilize one’s emotions as they are quitting. Addictions to cigarettes create an imbalance in the way that serotonin and dopamine are regulated in the brain. Acupuncture has been clinically shown to regulate these vital brain chemicals without causing unwanted side effects.
Is it a magic bullet? Usually not. You have to be ready to quit. You have to be willing to shift to the identity of being a non-smoker. This means giving up your attachment to activities such as going out to bars, drinking the morning cup of coffee, or looking forward to the smoke break at the office.
The best-known acupuncture treatment for smoking cessation is the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) protocol. This protocol is used in addiction and behavioral-health programs to treat a range of conditions such as alcohol and drug dependency, weight loss, sleep disturbances, and anxiety. The NADA protocol consists of five acupuncture points in each ear: Shen Men and Sympathetic reduce anxiety and calm the fight or flight response; Kidney, Liver, and Lung target the organs most directly effected by smoking.
The quit smoking plan
I have developed a quit smoking plan that has been effective for many patients. Most the of the patients I treated to quit smoking come in 2 times per week for 3 weeks and once a week for the following four weeks. At the first visit we will take time to set some goals and I will give you a help sheet with several tips to support your health throughout the process. During each treatment I will do the NADA protocol as well as a full body constitutional acupuncture treatment customized for your specific needs. At the end of the treatment I will place ear seeds (small little metal balls that stick in your ear with a little band-aid like tape) on specific points that you can press on to activate the acupuncture points when you’re needing some extra support. I will also recommend herbal formulas and supplements to help one through the withdrawal period.
Are you ready to kick the habit?
Quitting smoking now can prevent you from getting COPD, cancer, coronary heart disease, or diabetes. It will also save you money, give you freedom from an addiction, and open up more time in your day to cultivate joy. When you’re ready to take kick the habit, acupuncture is here to help. Call us today to set up a free 15 minute consult. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and ask you some key questions to help you determine if you are ready to quit.