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Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Updated on December 13, 2013

Quit Smoking

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Quitting Smoking

Smoking is not only a dangerous habit, it is also one of the most difficult to quit. Physical withdrawal symptoms are intense and quitting can change your life completely. If you aren't ready to give up smoking or are quitting for the wrong reasons, giving up cigarettes is going to be difficult.

Many different options are available to assist you. These include nicotine gum, the “patch,” hypnosis, counseling, group therapy, and electronic cigarettes.

Acupuncture can also help.

How Does Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture is a safe and natural method that can help you to stop smoking. It calms the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation.

Acupuncture will help get you through the first 3-4 days – this is how long it takes to overcome physical detoxification. Symptoms may include, headache, nausea, sweating, and tingling in the hands and feet. During this phase, accumulated chemicals are leaving your body and you will feel miserable. Many times coughs, aches, chills, sore throat, and a runny nose are also experienced. Acupuncture treatments may have to be administered every other day.

After the nicotine is out of your body, you should begin to feel better physically. The emotional and mental process of quitting smoking is much more difficult. At this point, your treatment will most likely change. Your practitioner will focus less on supporting your body through the physical detoxification and more on the stress and anxiety and psychological response that you will have. Different acupuncture points may be used and you may be able to start to lengthen the time between your treatment sessions. Combining acupuncture treatments with support groups or counseling may also be beneficial.

Auricular Acupuncture and NADA Protocol

A popular treatment protocol for addiction recovery constitutes receiving five acupuncture points in each ear. This is a fairly safe procedure, though ear needles can pinch a bit. The points focus on balancing the Kidney, Liver, Lungs, Sympathetic Nervous System, and Shen (spirit/psychological state). It is commonly used by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). This protocol treats other addictions ranging from alcohol, to food, to heroin. Needles may be retained for up to an hour, though I was taught that only 15 minutes were required.

In some states, the person who may be administering the NADA treatment may or may not be a licensed acupuncturist so always check credentialing.

Supporting Points

These points will focus on supporting you through the really tough phase of smoking cessation. These are more similar to points for stress and anxiety. Yintang, Ren 17, and Liver 3 may be incorporated due to their calming ability and tonification properties. Lung 9 and Ren 17 support the lungs and the heart. Because there are so many emotional and social issues that go along with smoking cessation, your treatment will vary according to your personal needs.


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Detoxifcation Points

These acupuncture points listed below may be used in your initial treatments to help clear your body from the accumulated chemicals of the cigarettes.

Liver 3 (Taichong) and Large Intestine 4 (Hegu) - A.K.A. "Four Gates"

When Liver 3 and LI 4 are used in combination, they circulate energy throughout the body, creating balance. Large Intestine 4 is located on the back of the hand, between the thumb and first finger. Liver 3 is located on the top of the foot, between the first and second metatarsals. In some cases Liver 2 (Xingjian), which is located between the first and second toes, may be substituted for Liver 3 when a stronger treatment is desired.

Ren 17 (Tanzhong)

Located on the anterior chest between the nipples, about four ribs down, Ren 17 benefits the thoracic cavity, as it is the main point of the upper burner and clears the lungs and transforms phlegm.

Lung 9 (Taiyuan)

While all points on the Lung Meridian benefit the lungs, this point both clears and provides nourishment. It also benefits the blood vessels and promotes circulation. Care must be taken when needling because it is located close to the radial artery.

San Jiao 5 (Weigan)

This point helps to facilitate the movement of toxins throughout the body. It is also good for headaches and inflammation. San Jiao 5 is located on the outer wrist, about 2 inches up from the crease.

The Most Important Factor in Quitting Smoking...

When you are ready to quit, you will. And just because it doesn't work one time, doesn't mean you shouldn't try again. Be kind to yourself. Though acupuncture is very helpful, having a good support system and a positive attitude is the best medicine.


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