Quit Smoking With Acupuncture

FINALLY! I can quit smoking without the terrible withdrawals!

There seems to be a stigma with acupuncture and quitting smoking. Most people in the western world believe that acupuncture does just a few things, helps with pain and decreases you urge for cigarettes.

This is far from the truth, acupuncture has been around for at least 3000 years, some would say 5000 or more years. This ancient medicine has been helping with just about every ailment known to man. Colds, flu, hepatitis, broken bones, stomach issues, gynecological issues, pain and so much more.

It is true though, acupuncture does help adjust the cravings for cigarettes and any other addictive substance as well. The NADA protocol which stands for National Acupuncture Detoxification Association has been helping people quit unhealthy habits since the 70’s. This protocol consists of putting 5 small needles on tiny points within the ear. Each point has a specific purpose which helps cravings and detoxification.

The first point is called Shen Men. Shen men first puts the patient in the state of receptivity to the treatment. It also helps ground the patient, calm stress and anxiety and sedates excessive sensitivity.

The second point is called the autonomic point. This helps balance out the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system along with helping the blood circulation. When balancing out the sympathetic nervous system, we are helping to stabilize the “fight or flight” reaction by calming the body.

Most people that are highly stressed out have a hyper sensitive sympathetic nervous system. When something goes wrong in life, such as stress or arguments people tend to either push back by fighting or running away. If its flight, then usually the smoker will go somewhere to light up a cigarette to relieve the presume threat. What the parasympathetic nervous system does is let you “rest and digest”.

If the body is always in fight or flight, then the body is not allowing itself to get good sleep or digest their food properly. This will cause a perpetual loop going back to over stimulating the sympathetic causing more stress due to being tired. Then, the body will require caffeine to stay awake and we all know how good a cigarette and coffee taste! So, balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system will help you sleep and keep the stress levels down.

The 3rd point that would be needled is called Lung 2. The lung point has the function to detox the body but also has an emotional component within the Chinese medicine theory as well. This emotional factor explains that the lungs hold “grief”. Some smokers may have emotional baggage from their past which they are trying to suppress or push down by smoking.

Unconsciously, the smoker could be pushing down the emotion of grief with the smoke and not letting whatever the grief being held in to surface. The cigarette is a crutch to alleviate the pain the grief is causing. This is a much more esoteric way to thing about this but from my own experience of quitting smoking, I needed to let go of some of my own demons before wanting to quit as well. The Lung 2 point is great for detoxing and releasing grief.

The fourth point is the liver point. The liver is the largest organ in the body that helps detoxification. By needling this point, it is helping the liver detox the blood for all toxins. Also, the liver holds the emotions in general but specifically irritability and stress.

This goes back to the sympathetic nervous system as well. Fight or flight is a stress issue. If the liver is congested then the body becomes stressed and when the body is stressed is caused congestion which causes the qi to stagnate. Smooth Qi means less stress and better flow of blood.

The last point is the Kidney point. What the kidney does in the western sense is detoxify the blood through the urination function. So, the lung, kidney and liver are all helping rid of toxicity. Also, in the Chinese theory, the kidney stores our life essence which correlated to the bones, reproduction, growth, brain function and aging. Most of these are affected if you smoke for long enough.

In general, this is a great point for all. What I want to make clear is that acupuncture will not be the sole factor in quitting smoking.

Acupuncture and the NADA protocol is a tool to help facilitate the process. Quitting smoking is a process and most people do not quit on the first try. When I first wanted to quit, I relapsed several times before I finally was able to kick the smokes to the can.

I also have a behavioral psychology degree so I implemented those ideas for myself to move in a positive way towards my goal of quitting. Always, remember baby steps are key to being smoke free.

Adding positive things to your life to cancel out the negative behaviors will help keep your mind of smoking as well. Adding exercise, meditation, group support or a psychologist will help tremendously as well.

Just remember, quitting smoking is a process and you must be ready to quit for acupuncture or any other tool to work.