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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
Quitting smoking is possible. Since 2002, former smokers have outnumbered current smokers.
Many smokers prefer to use Eastern approaches to smoking cessation rather than traditional Western techniques, such as prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) cessation products.
Experts in smoking cessation have begun implementing Eastern strategies, such as acupuncture and herbs. These natural approaches to smoking cessation offer promising results. They’ve been shown to help curb cravings and assist people in overcoming nicotine addiction.
Cravings can persist even after nicotine has left your system. The human body must detoxify all traces of nicotine in your system before your cravings go away.
In acupuncture, extremely thin needles are inserted into particular points on the body to stimulate and improve energy flow to certain areas. Despite the use of needles, the technique doesn’t cause any pain.
Acupuncture’s origin is embedded among traditional Chinese medicinal concepts. Some of the earliest examples of metal needles date back to 113 BC.
This Eastern approach didn’t always have credibility in the Western medical world. It’s now more commonly accepted throughout the Western world due to improvements in acupuncture techniques along with extensive research findings.
According to a 2016 literature review, having at least six treatment sessions can help to reduce symptoms of migraine. Although more conclusive research is needed, some studies show that it can help people quit smoking, too.
Research on smoking cessation
Acupuncture is most effective when combined with other antismoking techniques, such as counseling or the use of the Chinese medicine technique moxibustion. Moxibustion is a type of heat therapy where you burn dried mugwort on or near your skin.
A 2012 literature review included six trials that looked at 823 people who smoked. People who received acupuncture showed substantial increases in smoking cessation over people who didn’t receive any treatment.
More studies are needed to evaluate precisely how effective complementary remedies are in comparison to pharmacotherapies.
According to one theory mentioned in the literature review, one of the acupuncture points in the ear may correspond to the closest position of the vagus nerve.
What is acupressure?
According to a 2019 literature review, auricular acupressure may help individuals stop smoking when it’s used in combination with other therapies, such as acupuncture.
More high-level research studies that look at the effects of acupressure on its own are needed.
Eastern approaches to smoking cessation also include herbal remedies. They help to reduce cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as emotional unrest and irritability. Green tea is also reported to help repair tissues that have been damaged by smoking.
Green tea is one of the herbal remedies most commonly used to control cravings. It can be sipped throughout the day during the detoxification period. It’s also available in supplement form.
According to a
Green tea may have benefits that go beyond simply helping you quit smoking. A
At the start of the study, the incidence rate of COPD for people who never drank green tea was
Other herbal remedies, such as lobelia and St. John’s wort, have also been used in smoking cessation. However, the research in favor of their use as cessation aids is weak and not credible. More vigorous studies are needed.
Since the improper use of herbal supplements can be harmful to your health, it’s recommended that you consult with a medical professional before taking supplements.
Lifestyle modifications can greatly affect your ability to quit smoking. Here are some actions you can take:
- Get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Avoid sugar and caffeine, since both can increase blood acidity and elevate withdrawal symptoms.
- Practice deep breathing or meditation techniques.
- Exercise to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
- Identify environmental triggers that induce cravings; for example, drinking alcohol, arguing with your spouse, or going to a party.
- Make sure that you drink plenty of water every day.
- Get a good night’s sleep every night.
A lack of water may alter chemicals in the brain such as cortisol and affect your stress levels and mood, according to a 2014 study. The alteration in stress and mood may enhance your risk for smoking cravings.
Getting enough sleep enables you to better combat the stressful and often unavoidable situations that trigger cravings.
If you decide to opt for traditional treatments instead, your first choice should be the prescription medication varenicline (Chantix), according to 2020 guidelines from the American Thoracic Society. It’s recommended for all people who are dependent on tobacco and want to quit smoking.
It’s preferred over other options, such as the prescription medication bupropion (Wellbutrin) and nicotine patches.
People who opt for varenicline should take the medication for at least 12 weeks. Shorter durations weren’t as effective at helping people quit smoking.
Whether you’re on the search for traditional or complementary methods to quit smoking, many options are available to help you get through this challenging time. Work with your doctor to create a plan to help you quit smoking.