Quitting smoking is hard. Incredibly hard, even, but sooner or later, take this initiative is absolutely essential to our survival, and it is always easier to do so with professional assistance as well as social support. The bad news is that few smokers manage to quit permanently the first time they try, and often several attempts are needed; the good news is that the chances that the next attempt will be the last become greater and greater every time you set out to do it. Nicotine withdrawal can trigger a series of negative physical symptoms in the days immediately following your last cigarette, and negative psychological effects for several weeks after, but they pale in comparison to the health benefits. The alternative and complementary therapies such as acupuncture can help smokers who try to quit or reduce the severity of their habits because they can reduce cravings and ease some of the anxiety associated with this challenging and rewarding undertaking.
An eight-month study on acupuncture and smoking in 2001 described a staggering fall from an average of 14 cigarettes a day for smokers treated with acupuncture. Patients reported that cigarettes tasted bitter and very unpleasant after undergoing treatment. In a 1997 study on acupuncture treatments for smokers motivated to quit, the control and test groups both reduced the amount of cigarettes they smoked per day, but the group receiving acupuncture treatments on points considered to have an effect on smoking showed greater improvement.
Acupuncture, and especially acupressure, can help reduce cravings both during treatment and in the days to follow. Many people seeking to quit borrow techniques from auricular acupressure principles when they suffer persistent cravings. Acupuncture can also help relieve some symptoms triggered by attempts to quit such as mood swings, headaches and tensions. Finally, an acupuncturist will be able to identify and treat some of the underlying causes of addiction, which often manifest themselves as anxiety and depression.
It is important to note that even with the help of one or a professional, quitting smoking is a major challenge. Acupuncture does not provide a magic cure for this problem, but it can make it less painful and faster, and improve chances of success. From a health and money standpoint, the costs of smoking are absolutely devastating: each attempt to quit helps ease these burdens!
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