Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing approach that is almost 3500 years old. It is based on the belief that chi, a vital energy force flows around 12 key channels around the body. Within these channels there are 365 acupuncture points, which can sometimes become ‘blocked’ preventing the smooth flow of the vital energy, resulting in degrading health.

Acupuncture is a highly effective method for treating all manner of addictions including nicotine. The application of acupuncture to help you stop and eventually quit altogether involves the insertion of very fine needles into special points on the skin. The needles are generally left in the skin for up to 20mins. There is virtually no pain apart from the slight pricking sensation when the needle first goes in. The technique itself results in the release of special chemicals called endorphins which will provide a ‘natural high’ at the end of the treatment.

Following the first treatment, the patient is likely to cough up phlegm during the week after treatment as the body starts to adjust to life without smoking, and the tar and phlegm in the lungs start to loosen. It is common to schedule a follow-up session about 1 week after the first to assess progress and decide whether further therapy is required. Many heavy smokers have reported success after only 1 or 2 acupuncture sessions.

Acupuncture as a method for quitting smoking is best for those individuals that are heavily addicted to nicotine but have clearly made the commitment to quit. This type of therapy will dramatically reduce the side effects of nicotine withdrawal, such as cravings, depression, and anxiety. The body will also start to repair itself, particularly in improving blood circulation and decongesting the lungs, and the patient will generally feel very positive and optimistic as a result of the release of natural anti-depressants by the brain.

Combining acupuncture with more traditional approaches to quitting smoking can be an effective strategy, especially if you have tried and failed at simply using willpower to quit in the past. If you decide acupuncture to stop smoking is for you, make sure you see a qualified and reputable practitioner.

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