For many patients smoking cessation is difficult. The first step is getting through the initial withdrawal symptoms. Acupuncture, herbs and the creation of a support system through friends and family are effective means to success.
Once you have succeeded, you must maintain your success. The long term quit rate is just above 50%. That is why this program requires 4-6 months follow-up treatment.
According to the director of The Institute for Traditional Medicine, the patient should consider the following:
Acupuncture stimulates production of endorphins and enkaphalins, which are hormones that reduce pain and cravings and have a soothing effect on the body.
- Patients who volunteer to stop smoking because they desire to quit are more likely to succeed than patients who are assigned, forced or persuaded to enter a program with little or no desire to quit.
- Short term smoking cessation, that is, stopping smoking at the end of a stop smoking program, is easier to attain than long-term smoking cessation. Regardless of the type of treatment, once the stop smoking treatment is successfully finished a variety of factors can affect the patient so as to induce re-initiation of smoking. Generally, if a person has stopped smoking for a full six months the chances of smoking again are very low.
- Short term smoking cessation success may depend on the extent to which the intervention provides regular reinforcement of the stop smoking effort. A person left to his or her own is more likely to resume smoking than a person who daily encounters someone who reinforces the stop smoking attempt.
In a Chinese study of 28 smokers treated with acupuncture, 26 reported that the taste of cigarettes changed, becoming undesirable or even objectionable. Some smokers even become nauseous if they attempt to smoke.
It is recommended that the patient take their herbs daily to calm the mind, increase the nutritional value to the foods they eat, drink plenty of water and take a multivitamin daily.
The following outline is for you to help in your stop smoking program.
- Support Person: The decision to stop smoking can elicit uncomfortable emotions. Ask someone who is available to you in the next few weeks to act as a sounding board and provide encouragement when needed.
- Affirmation: An affirmation is a positive statement repeated often to create desired changes in your life. Repeating the affirmation helps not only to remind you why you are no longer smoking but imprints a new image of health so that the body can produce health.
Example: "I am a non-smoker. I make healthy choices in my life."
- Setting Boundaries: Set up contracts with other smokers to refrain from smoking in your presence. This includes spouses. When possible, stay away from smokers until you feel more confident with your non-smoking health status.
- Drink Water: Research shows that dryness causes cravings. Sip water frequently throughout the day.
- Refrain from Drinking Coffee and other caffeine drinks: Research shows these cause cravings and dehydrate the body.
- Food Choices: Eat lots of sweet natured foods that are not sugary but naturally sweet such as carrots, honey, sweet potatoes, etc. Candies upset the blood sugar level, which can aggravate smoking-withdrawal. Sugar substitutes such as NutraSweet are sweeter than sugar and cause further aggravation to the body.
- Managing Cravings: Cravings feel like they will last forever but actually fade in two minutes. Plan what you will do during a craving. Examples: Take your herbs, repeat your affirmation, breathe deeply, walk to another place, sing a song, dance, call your support person.
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac.
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
41 Union Square West, Suite 519
New York, NY 10003
"I went to Aiyana Acupuncture because my immune system was weak - I'd been getting sick once a month for several months. Since I started treatment nine months ago, I've caught one head cold that lasted a day or so - nothing like what was happening before. During one of my appointments I told Juliette that my right shoulder, which has two labral tears, was particularly aggravated that day because of an intensive workout the day before. As as result of my treatment the soreness was gone."