Ready to Trash Tobacco? Acupuncture is on Your Side
Maybe this will be your first attempt; maybe it will be your tenth. Maybe you've tried patches, gums, lozenges or pills; maybe these methods have failed. Whether you've been using tobacco for two months or 20 years, quitting now greatly reduces your chances of health complications later in life.
When you’re ready to quit, consider acupuncture treatment. "Acupuncture is incredibly effective at helping people quit smoking and we welcome people at any stage of quitting," notes Terry Courtney, MPH, LAc, Bastyr University's dean of the School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and clinical faculty member at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.
The initial decision to quit lies squarely on you, but once you make that decision, acupuncture treatment can make the process less difficult and more effective. Courtney says, "If someone is motivated to come in the door, it's a gift to the provider because the person has acknowledged that they are ready to make a change." Courtney has extensive experience treating chemical dependency and notes that acupuncture is particularly effective in treating nicotine withdrawal symptoms. "Acupuncture can cut cravings and change the way you taste cigarettes so they taste more like they actually are - which begins to shift the smoker away from the pleasure normally associated with smoking."
Treatment typically includes a total of six to eight visits over the course of one month. The physical treatment involves the placement of ultra-thin, sterile, single-use needles at specific points - mostly in the exterior cartilage of the ear. Providers also spend time talking with you to learn your health history, lifestyle habits and potential obstacles to quitting. Courtney explains, "We talk about outside support and changing personal habits as well as recognizing smoking triggers and cravings. We find that if people can develop ways to deal with stress other than smoking, their success with quitting is much better."
If you or a loved one are struggling with a more complex issue such as alcoholism or other type of chemical dependency, acupuncture can be an extremely valuable tool as part of a larger treatment program. Courtney recommends against using acupuncture as a stand-alone treatment for complex dependencies. Instead, she suggests that Bastyr Center providers refer patients to more comprehensive treatment options.
Quitting won't be easy, but the new year is a fantastic time to take control of your health, and Bastyr Center practitioners are eager to work with you to achieve your goals. Congratulations on taking this step!