There are over 300 acupuncture-based substance abuse programs in the United States. In a seminar I attended in the early 1990’s the statistics then showed acupuncture to be 81% more effective than any other treatment methods for cigarette and drug use and the recidivism rate (the rate at which they start up again) was only 1% (compared to 11% nationally with other treatment options). Bottom line – acupuncture works!
What does it do? There are several components of acupuncture that aid in the quieting of compulsive behaviors such as cigarette smoking. Acupuncture can help to detoxify the body of the chemicals that are causing the addictive component to be triggered in the patient, help to curb cravings, and can calm thoughtless actions, like reaching for a cigarette without thinking about it. Furthermore, acupuncture treatments release endorphins. Considered by many to be the natural “feel good” chemical of the human body, endorphins promote feelings of health, positive thought processes, upbeat attitudes, and promotes a sense of general well being. Many acupuncture patients report experiencing a feeling of calmness or even a faintly “buzzed” feeling after acupuncture. More than one patient has used the phrase “acupuncture glow” to describe the sensation they experience after their treatments, which can mirror the feeling many addicts experience when engaging in the behavior of their addiction, but without the compelling nature or harmful consequences of the addiction. Furthermore, acupuncture works to calm anxiousness, irritability, weepiness, anger and other emotional challenges. It also helps suppress overeating so the individual doesn’t gain weight. No other program I know of does all that.
Does acupuncture hurt? Most patients are surprised at how comfortable they are during treatment and how easily the needles are placed. When acupuncture needles are mentioned, most people associate them with hypodermic needles. The two are very different. Hypodermics have a beveled, cutting edge, large diameter, and inject a fluid. Acupuncture needles have an even circumference at the tip which enables them to slip easily into the skin, separating, rather than cutting into the tissues. Acupuncture needles are also very small in diameter, about the thickness of a horse hair, and no fluid is injected to cause the burning, swollen feeling associated with the typical “shot”.
What the patient does feel, is a prick described “like a mosquito bite” when the needle first enters the skin. When it reaches the meridian the patient may feel a slight sensation best described as a dull ache or heaviness. When the patient remains relaxed there is minimal to no discomfort involved, and generally experiences a very relaxing session.
When you are ready to quit smoking, call us at 208-765-1994 to set up your first acupuncture to stop smoking treatment, and we’ll help you on the road to a healthier new you!
© 2009 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.