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Does Acupuncture to Quit Smoking Work?

woman breaking cigaretteCigarette smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, including an estimated 42,000 from secondhand smoke exposure, according to the CDC. It also causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, and diabetes. Although smokers are aware of the risks and dangers of smoking, and may even want to quit, many never kick the habit.

Smokers trying to break the nicotine addiction have to barrel through intense cravings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and more. But quitting has major benefits. When a person ceases smoking, their life span increases, circulation improves, blood pressure becomes healthier, and breathing easier. But quitting needs to happen first. For many, using acupuncture to quit smoking makes breaking the addiction much more bearable and successful.

Acupuncture and breaking the addiction

Smoking addictions are hard things to break. There are social, emotional and physical elements that contribute to the addiction. And withdrawals can take a toll.

Nicotine, the addictive chemical within cigarettes, is what makes quitting so difficult. When a person smokes, the nicotine from the cigarette causes the brain to release dopamine–the “feel good” chemical that’s released when we satisfy our needs, such as eating, drinking, succeeding, getting praise and more. When the nicotine levels in the bloodstream get low, dopamine reminds the body that it’s time to replenish–resulting in intense cravings.

Acupuncture can help those in the process of quitting by reducing their cravings and decreasing their withdrawal symptoms. Things like irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, jitters, restlessness, and many other nicotine withdrawal symptoms become easier to cope with when acupuncture treatments are involved as part of the quitting process.

How does acupuncture to quit smoking work?

In 2011, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a subsidiary of the US Department of Justice, in collaboration with the American University, evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture as an adjunct to substance abuse treatment. They found that a number of acupuncture studies demonstrated reduced cravings and symptoms of withdrawal when used in conjunction with conventional treatment plans.

Acupuncture treatments take all of your unique symptoms into account– thing like jitters, irritability, and more–and focus on rebalancing the energy within the body. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

Hair thin acupuncture needles are placed at specific acupuncture points on the body associated with smoking cessation and the addict’s specific condition. One common point is on the ears.

Depending on the severity of the addiction and the smoker’s stage within the process of quitting, a few initial weekly acupuncture treatments may be recommended, followed by monthly treatments for between 4 and 6 months. Exercise, healthy eating, and hydration are also recommended in order to decrease withdrawals, reduce cravings and make quitting easier.

If you’re ready to quit smoking and want to find out if acupuncture could help you break the addiction, contact Parkside Health and Wellness Center today for a free consultation.