Cigarette smoking is a habit that is difficult to let go because as soon as nicotine is introduced to the human body dependency and tolerance take hold, instigating the deadly habit. In addition, cigarette smoking is considered the key to the vulnerability of addiction to other recreational substances like marijuana, cocaine or heroin. Smoking is acknowledged as a step toward lung cancer, especially if it is a long-term habit, due to the internal acidity that tobacco causes, throwing the human body out of balance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011, 43.8 million people or 19% of all adults in the US smoke cigarettes. Tobacco smoking is more common with males than with females and it is the leading cause of preventable death in US. If this trend continues, smoking will kill 1 in every 6 people in 2030.

Acupuncture, along with other modalities like hypnosis and good nutrition, can help patients to extend their lifespan by helping individuals who are ready to quit smoking but have not been able to succeed or who do not want to use other nicotine delivery systems.

Acupuncture works by stimulating the release of endorphins and other brain chemicals to ease symptoms like the jitters, irritability and restlessness and by blotting out nicotine cravings due to nicotine withdrawal. Acupuncture treatment also helps to relax and detoxify the body more efficiently.

The University of Oslo in Norway reported in one study that acupuncture treatment was found to significantly reduce the desire to light up. Also, subjects felt that cigarettes tasted worse than before treatment. Acupuncture treatment had actually made the taste of cigarettes disagreeable.

Acupuncture treatment is performed with five hair-thin needles shallowly inserted on the ears and body to assist patients who want to quit smoking. After treatment, patients leave the office with small pellets taped on the acupuncture points of the ears. This way, they can stimulate these same points when a craving occurs. Patients gently press the pellets to stimulate the points to calm and ameliorate the desire to smoke.

Usually acupuncture treatment is based on four to six sessions spaced apart–two the first week and then once a week for the remaining sessions. This will depend on each patient’s readiness for a new life. Some patients may have emotional attachments to quitting. The program can be modified to fit the needs of each individual.

At Behavioral Wellness Center, we offer the opportunity to help you achieve your goal to quit smoking through acupuncture treatment. Call our office to make an appointment and leave smoking in the past.

By Consuelo Camarillo de Gonzalez, Lic. Ac