Acupuncture and the Addictions

smoking addiction

Acupuncture has been used in mainland China and the Far East for many years in the treatment of addictions, primarily, hard drugs.

Acupuncture and Smoking

What are the common withdrawal symptoms associated to stop-smoking (without the help of acupuncture)?

Withdrawal Symptoms>Duration Proportion>Affected 
Increase appetite >10 wks 70%
Craving > 2 wks 70%
Depression < 4 wks60%
Restlessness < 4 wks60%
Poor concentration < 2 wks 60%
Irritability/Aggression < 4wks 50%
Night time awakenings < 1 wk 25%
*Source: http//www.ash.org.uk/html/factsheets

What causes weight gain and craving after quitting?

The possibility of weight gain is often of particular concern to those who want to give up smoking. When nicotine, a chemical in cigarette smoke, leaves your body, you may experience:

” Short-term weight gain. The nicotine kept your body weight low, and when you quit smoking, your body returns to the weight it would have been had you never smoked.

” You might gain 3 to 5 pounds due to water retention during the first week after quitting.

” A need for fewer calories. After you stop smoking, you may use fewer calories than when you were smoking.

How can acupuncture help stop-smoking?

Probably the most common addiction the acupuncturist is called upon to treat is smoking. The basic principle as with all anti-addiction treatment is that the person should be willing to receive the help to give up – you cannot force someone to give up, nor should you, against their will.

The fundamental treatment is to stimulate acu-points which are capable of transmitting messages down nerve pathways to the brain, and instituting change in the chemistry of appetite.

If you take in a substance for long enough which is addictive, the encephalins or “brain chemical messengers” make room for it and allow it to become necessary to the chemical balance.

If you then remove the substance e.g., nicotine, and do not balance the chemistry, the brain is thrown into shock which causes what we all know as withdrawal symptoms (refer to table).

The acupuncture technique basically rebalances the chemistry, thus avoiding withdrawal symptoms. In effect, acupuncture balances and restores conditions to that which applied when you were a non-smoker.

In addition, it is also not uncommon for patients to leave the office feeling calm and relaxed. Patients usually won’t crave food, as when necessary, we will also treat the mouth and pancreas point.

Within a few hours your body begins to heal itself. The carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system rapidly disappears. Your heart and lungs begin to repair the damage caused by smoking. Your sense of taste and smell will return.

Your smoker’s hack will disappear and your digestion will return to normal. You will climb a flight of stairs without being winded. Best of all, you will feel alive, clear headed, full of energy, and breathing easier.

Very frequently, after acupuncture, many smokers also experience an unpleasant taste in the mouth, which gets aggravated with cigarettes. They will have no more desire to smoke.

Main Points Selected
ECIWO Lung – Lu 7 – H 7

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