Acupuncture is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, and has found to be effective in curing a number of ailments like pain and discomfort.
In the context of smoking cessation, acupuncture consists of locating the crucial points in the human body and working on it to build resistance against tobacco triggers, by making cigarettes less tasty.
Acupuncture has been lauded as an effective method with none of the side effects as in other methods like Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
According to the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, acupuncture has been highly successful in management and reduction of withdrawal symptoms.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture is a technique wherein the practitioner identifies various accupoints in the body and stimulating them by means of thin needles that are inserted into these points.
In auricular acupuncture, the needles are inserted into many such acupuncture points in the ear, influencing the cranial nerves to detoxify the body.
Similarly there are many other ear points including those on liver, kidney, shenmen and lungs. The body points include the Tim Mee on the wrist and the Four Gate points.
By means of inserting the fine needles into critical pressure points in the body and gently pressing them, acupuncture calms the human system against cravings and addiction.
The energy pathways that control addiction are positively influenced. Release of endorphins from the brain is facilitated, and this serves as a tough response to withdrawal symptoms.
Is acupuncture painful?
Acupuncture is a known practice for alleviation of pain and obviously cannot cause unbearable discomfort to smokers.
There is nothing more than a feeling of subtle prickling sensation when the slender needles, ranging anywhere from quarter to half of an inch, are inserted.
During the treatment, one experiences a kind of numbness, soreness and heaviness, depending on the depth till which the needles are inserted.
Are there any side effects of Acupuncture?
Acupuncture does not involve any harsh side effects . The mild tingling feeling caused when needles are inserted is unavoidable though.
There may be visible bruises caused due to clotting of blood in the points pierced through. Concern and panic during the sessions may cause mild dizziness or nausea in some cases.
Twitching of muscles, mild head ache and emotional disturbances have been reported, but fall within the scope of healing crises, where one feels agitated before getting healed.
Is Acupuncture effective on long-term basis?
Acupuncture has made smokers to quit their addiction successfully. Each session may last from 30 minutes to an hour, and follow-up sessions are necessary to experience the benefits on a long-term basis.
By boosting the functioning of liver, which has been used to tobacco addiction, acupuncture helps smokers manage withdrawal symptoms better, when the liver id denied its usual supply of nicotine.
Similarly by making tobacco based products taste unpleasant, acupuncture motivates a hatred in smokers, towards the use of tobacco based products.
Usage of acupuncture in combination with other methods like hypnotherapy has been found successful.
The medical status of acupuncture is still that of a pseudoscience and it is not acclaimed as a universal panacea for smoking cessation.