Control Your Urge to Smoke with Acupuncture
Headaches. Overwhelming cravings. Social pressure.
People trying to quit smoking face many obstacles. And for those looking for help, acupuncture may just be the answer.
“Acupuncture helps to calm a person and curb cravings; it relaxes you,” says Polina Karmazin, MD, medical director of Virtua’s Center for Integrative Medicine. She offers acupuncture to her patients who smoke and has seen impressive results.
Here’s what you need to know about quitting smoking with acupuncture:
Acupuncture stimulates nerves in your body to help curb cravings.
Practitioners insert extremely thin needles at strategic points of the body to transmit impulses to the peripheral nerves, which carry messages to the spinal cord and the brain. This causes a release of chemical substances in the body that have a deeply relaxing effect that can reduce the anxiety and curb cravings known well to smokers trying to quit.
Dr. Karmazin says that because the needles are so tiny, they aren’t painful. In fact, most people find it calming.
Acupuncture is just one part of a plan to quit.
While the practice can ease cravings, it doesn’t address the psychological or behavioral components of a smoking addiction. These components are vitally important, according to Dr. Karmazin. She helps her patients form a well-rounded plan that includes all of the elements needed to quit smoking – for good. She recommends identifying your smoking triggers, like morning coffee or drinks with friends, and planning ahead for how you’ll handle those situations.
Acupuncture is time-consuming.
Each session is only thirty minutes. For the first ten days of quitting, patients typically get treatment once day to get control of their cravings. After that, they can receive treatment less frequently.
Quitting with acupuncture won't work without commitment.
Even with acupuncture, quitting isn’t easy. Dr. Karmazin says motivation is key. She suggests sharing your goal with friends, family and co-workers, so you’ll get support and stay committed. This is critically important, especially when the cravings strike.
Having support when quitting can go a long way. To learn more about how acupuncture can help, check out the Virtua Center for Integrative Medicine. A quick consultation today can means years more to your life later.
Updated June 9, 2016