Acupuncture Can Help You Kick the Habit
Smoking is possibly THE most addictive drug known. And, if you are a smoker, it is slowly killing you.
There are many reasons to quit smoking:
- With each inhalation of a cigarette, you breath in over 4,000 chemicals, including but certainly not limited to arsenic, ammonia, acetone, ammonium bromide, benzene, carbon monoxide, cadmium, cyanide, DDT, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, nickel, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen sulfide, in addition to at least 50 cancer-causing agents.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking causes death: nearly 443,000 deaths per year (1 in 5 deaths) to be exact. This is more than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.
- Smoking increases the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, infertility, premature delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome.
- Cigarettes cause cancer: acute myeloid leukemia, bladder, cervical, esophageal, kidney, larynx, lung, oral (mouth), and stomach cancers.
- Cigarette smoking is associated with lower bone density in postmenopausal women, and increases the risk of hip fractures in women.
Despite all the facts regarding the ill effects of smoking, people continue to smoke because of the addictive nature of nicotine, the primary chemical in tobacco. Within 10 to 20 seconds of inhaling on a cigarette, nicotine will reach your brain, causing a huge surge of dopamine to be released. Dopamine is one of several “feel good” chemicals your brain produces to make you feel pleasure. Nicotine is such a potent drug that one drop of pure nicotine can cause you to go into respiratory failure (stop breathing), paralysis and death.
What can acupuncture do to assist in quitting smoking? Acupuncturists are trained to address addictions, especially nicotine addiction, following the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We assess the addiction from several perspectives, inclusive of the physical, mental and emotional addiction. There are many acupuncturists who utilize a technique where fine needles are inserted into a set of five acupuncture points on the ear (auricular acupuncture), as promoted by The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), a not-for-profit organization who teaches and endorses this acupuncture detoxification protocol. You may even be sent home with small beads placed on the ear using adhesive tape, that when stimulated, can continue to help curb withdrawal symptoms (an application of auricular acupressure). In general, expect frequency of visits to be several times per week for the first week or two (recommendations vary per acupuncturist and patient’s condition). Our goal in the treatment plan is to support patients through the acute phase of withdrawal, improving your success at kicking the nicotine habit. Commonly, patients experience a decrease in cravings, changes in sensory perception as the taste and smell of cigarettes becomes intolerable, and an increased state of calm and relaxation.
If you have ever attempted to quit, you know there are multiple withdrawal symptoms that one can experience, including: insomnia, fatigue, feeling jittering, cough, tightness in the chest, dry mouth, constipation, irritability, depression, anxiousness and lack of concentration. As an acupuncturist, I routinely address these issues independently, and improvements in such symptoms are commonly experienced as side benefits by patients. In the scientific community, there have been insightful findings on acupuncture’s complex mechanism of action, offering explanation of why this ancient treatment works. Research supports acupuncture’s role in influencing the various aspects of the nervous system, thereby modulating things like your gastrointestinal system, heart rate, stress response and mood.
The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can be smoke free. You may be quitting for yourself, a loved one, or maybe just to get cheaper insurance rates. Whatever your reason for quitting is, you owe it to yourself to come in and find out if acupuncture can help you quit.