For most of us the New Year is a time to think about the changes we want to make in our lives. Many of us resolve to drop some bad habits or pick up some good ones. Here at the Yinova Center we hear from a lot of people who are trying to give up smoking. We understand that quitting smoking can be really tough and we want to support you in whatever way we can.
So can acupuncture help? The answer according to clinical research is mixed.
This study published in the journal Preventative Medicine found that it could. It followed a group of people attempting to quit smoking who received acupuncture twice a week for 3 weeks and compared them to another group of quitters that received no acupuncture. The acupuncture group fared significantly better when compared to the control group. However other research studies such as this one have found that acupuncture was not particularly effective for smoking cessation. If you keep looking at the research you will see many conflicting studies. Some find acupuncture effective and some don’t. How confusing!
Although the studies seem to contradict each other they do reflect our experience here at The Yinova Center. Some of our patients find acupuncture very helpful. They find it takes the edge off their nicotine cravings and gives them the support they need to resist temptation. Other patients enjoy their relaxing treatment but find it isn’t nough to get them to quit. I always tell my patients that when it comes to stopping smoking acupuncture can be supportive but it isn’t a panacea. It can help you with cravings but it won’t replace will power.
So if you’ve made up your mind to stop smoking and want some extra support we’d love to see you here at the Yinova Center. We have found that 2 treatments a week for three weeks seems to work best. We focus on points that calm cravings as well as those that calm anxiety. We also address any symptoms that come up. For example many smokers who quit to protect their lungs are disappointed to find that initially they develop a cough as their lungs expel years of accumulated gunk.
So if acupuncture alone is not the magic bullet, what else can you do?
Here is the advice we give our Yinova patients:-
- We love these people who run a 1/2 day stop smoking course in New York City and all over the world. Founded in the UK they use a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy and hypnosis and have great success rates. They also have an online course that many of our patients have found really helpful.
- From the same people comes a book, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking: Join the Millions Who Have Become Non-Smokers Using Allen Carr’s Easyway Method. Both Ashton Kutcher and Ellen DeGeneres claim to have quit smoking having read the book. One of my patients skimmed through the book standing up in Barnes and Noble and quit there and then!
- In our experience the best way to quit is cold turkey. Patients who try to cut down their cigarette consumption usually find that it creeps up again.
- Quitting to make someone else happy almost never works. You need to find a reason to do this for you. Talk to us and let us help you get in touch with all the reasons why you are worth taking care of.
- Note that cravings last only a few minutes so ignoring them uses less will power than you think. Distract yourself for a couple of minutes and you should feel much better. We asked some of our patients what they did when they were experiencing a craving and here are some of their suggestions. Chew sugar free gum, eat a carrot, light a candle, focus on taking 10 full breaths, wash your hands or have a shower.
- The worst cravings only last a week. Take it one day at a time and know that by the time you have reached day 7 you are over the worst.
- Many of our patients have found that drinking alcohol weakens their resolve. In fact in studies 50% of relapse is related to alcohol use. Its best to avoid situations where you are drinking and other people are smoking, especially for the first few weeks.
- Find ways to calm your mind. Take up yoga, adopt a regular meditation practice, have a reiki treatment, or go for a run.
- Don’t skip meals. When you were smoking you may have replaced a meal with a cigarette. It allowed you to avoid the feelings associated with low blood sugar. Now if you miss a meal you may feel irritable and unable to concentrate and your mind may trick you into having a cigarette to make you feel better.
- Convince yourself that there is no excuse for a relapse. Nicotine never makes anything any better so no matter what life throws at you don’t use it as an excuse to start smoking again.
- Acupuncture, whilst not replacing your own will power, can help you manage cravings so feel free to come in and see us for a course of 6 treatments.
- If you do slip up and have a cigarette, simply start again. Don’t beat yourself up or decide it’s impossible. Just get back on track. Many of our patients who have successfully given up smoking made several attempts before they finally quit for good.