How do I quit smoking? (a TCM approach)
Added 6 September 2011
The first and more important part of a stop smoking plan is to decide to do so. So, if you are a smoker wanting to quit, congratulations! There are many healthy ways to quit smoking, including hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and supplements.
Because acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are my areas of expertise, I will speak specifically to that.
How Does Acupuncture Help Break the Cigarette Habit?
Acupuncture intercepts messages sent by the brain to the body that demand more nicotine, thereby disrupting the addictive process. It can eliminate most cravings, but not the habit. A successful acupuncture program will include patient preparation, patient commitment, and education about how to replace the unhealthy habit of smoking with healthy habits.
Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to treat the specific symptoms and patterns of imbalance that are unique to each individual. Treatments will focus on the jitters, the cravings, the irritability, and the restlessness that people commonly complain about when they quit. It will also aid in relaxation and detoxification.
What Points Are Used?
Each patient is custom-treated according to his or her specific and unique diagnosis. Usually a combination of body acupuncture points and points on the ear are used that are believed to influence the organs and energetic pathways associated with smoking.
Commonly Used Points for Smoking Cessation include:
Ear points:-alleviates tension; increases will power; returns the body to homeostatic balance; relieves withdrawal symptoms; diminishes appetite and cravings.
Body points: a specific point on the wrist to quit smoking; a combination of two points (one on the hand & one on the foot) used to circulate energy throughout the body and calm the nervous system; and other points related to the person’s constitution.
After removing the needles, ‘ear seeds’ (affixed to a small beige tape) are often applied to the ear to stimulate the points between treatments and reduce cravings.
How Many Treatments Will I Need and How Long Do they Take?
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last approximately sixty minutes, with the patient being treated two to three times on the first week and two more treatments the second week (5 initial treatments). I recommend a booster treatment once a month for the next four to six months. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
A stop smoking program will often consist of 4-6 initial treatments scheduled in the first few weeks followed by monthly treatments for four to six months.
by Dr. Melissa Carr, R.DTCM, R.Ac