Are you Ready to Quit Smoking?
By Dr. Janine Pulley
Smoking is one of the hardest addictions to quit. It is not just one addiction – it is three addictions. The first addiction is the chemical dependency on nicotine, the addictive substance inside cigarettes. The second is the oral fixation (putting the cigarette in your mouth), and the third is the mental component of needing a “fix.”
Gums and patches attempt to address the chemical dependency – they help you wean down the amount of nicotine your body is exposed to until you drop to zero. However, if that was the only part you had to fight, everyone could quit just using gum and patches!
The oral fixation and mental component are the hard parts. For oral fixation, that is another reason why the gum can help. But honestly, you can just use any gum or better yet, a mint, to replace the cigarette. One of the easiest ways for some people to break the habit is to keep a pack of gum or a tin of mints in their jacket pocket (or wherever you always store your pack of smokes), so when you unconsciously reach for a cigarette, you will be greeted by gum or a mint instead. Maybe it is not as satisfying, but it will help you address this oral fixation as you go through the chemical withdrawal.
The final part of smoking addiction is the mental component. What I mean by that is the “why” behind why you “need” to smoke. Are you doing it to get alone time (because no one bothers you because they don’t like the smell)? Is it your stress relief? Are smoke breaks the only way you get a real break at work?
You need to figure out the “why” so that you can replace it with a healthier way of fulfilling whatever need the smoking is filling. If it is how you generally get alone time, instead of smoking, go find a quiet corner or go to a coffee shop and read your book instead. If you are using it for stress relief, find an exercise program, meditation routine, or your one fun thing a day and just do it! If it is the only way you think you can get a break at work, it may be time to take your legal 15 minute break or longer lunch break and go for a walk (and silence calls from work on your cell) and do not feel guilty about it.
Even if all of these parts of smoking addiction are addressed, some people still fail. Most people try several times before they finally quit for good. Acupuncture can help!
Acupuncture can help reduce the number of cravings you experience by promoting your body’s natural ability to detoxify. The fewer cravings you have to resist, the more likely you will be able to quit for good! The NADA protocol is an addiction protocol comprised of auricular acupoints (ear points) that are known to help with detoxification. Those, along with an acupoint on your arm found empirically to help quit smoking will be used, along with a few other body acupoints tailored just for you. You will rest with the needles inserted for 25-60 minutes each visit to maximize their effects.
Also, your acupuncturist can help by being your external source of responsibility to help keep you on tract, as well as giving you more customized tips for your particular journey.
You will need several sessions at first as you deal with the worst of the cravings while you quit. Then monthly maintenance for a couple of months will help to keep you on track once you break through the hardest part.
Start your road to better health today!
Picture of NADA Protocol from: http://www.altmedicinezone.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Auricular-Acupuncture.jpg
Picture of broken cigarette from: http://www8.pcmag.com/media/images/276367-great-american-smoke-out.jpg