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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 14 out of every 100 adults in the United States smoke cigarettes. In 2015, 68 percent of adult smokers told the CDC that they wanted to quit.

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.

Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of health and medical conditions, most notably chronic pain caused by conditions like headache or arthritis.

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.

Withdrawal symptoms come through the vagus nerves from the parasympathetic nervous system. When an acupuncturist stimulates that acupuncture point, they block the flow of withdrawal symptoms.

What is acupressure?

Acupressure is based on the same principles as acupuncture but uses manual pressure instead of needles. One form of acupressure is auricular acupressure, which involves the ear.

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.

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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 2010 study where green tea was used in cigarette filters, green tea keeps the system flooded with micronutrients and amino acids that are thought to help diminish the urge to smoke.

Green tea may have benefits that go beyond simply helping you quit smoking. A 2018 study concluded that drinking it at least twice a day helped reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Koreans 40 years old and up. Smoking is the primary risk factor for COPD.

At the start of the study, the incidence rate of COPD for people who never drank green tea was 14.1 percent. The incidence rate dropped to 5.9 percent after they increased their green tea intake to at least twice per day.

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.

Shop for green tea and green tea herbal supplements online.

Lifestyle modifications can greatly affect your ability to quit smoking. Here are some actions you can take:

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.