An increasing number of smokers are turning to acupuncture and other alternative forms of treatment when nicotine gum or patches or prescription medications have failed. Although many scoff at the idea, research studies are suggesting that the ancient Chinese technique may actually help motivated smokers to give up the habit.
Smoking is a powerful addiction and stopping is a serious challenge. Many smokers try and fail several times before they finally say goodbye to cigarettes for good, and some ex-smokers say that kicking the smoking habit is more difficult than stopping heroin or cocaine.
Does it Really Work?
One study published by the American Health Foundation followed 46 healthy male and female smokers who were divided into a test group and a control group. The test group received acupuncture on recognized anti-smoking acupoints while the control group received acupuncture on acupoints with no recognized effect on smoking
Researchers found that acupuncture treatments provided motivation for smokers to quit or reduce smoking for as long as five years or more.
The kicker is that acupuncture isn’t a magic potion, but it can make it a little easier to quit smoking, especially during the early days when withdrawal symptoms are intense. However, smoking is still difficult and acupuncture (or other treatments) aren’t likely to help if the smokers isn’t truly motivated to stop.
Although acupuncture can reduce the physical cravings and relieve difficult withdrawal symptoms, it’s ultimately up to you to make a serious commitment to change old habits, especially if you use cigarettes as a tool to cope with difficult emotions or anxieties.
For many smokers, acupuncture is most helpful when used in conjunction with other stop-smoking programs such as support groups, hypnotherapy, meditation or herbal medicine.