There are plenty of good reasons to quit smoking. Cigarettes contain 4,000 known toxins. Smoking-related lung disease is the number three killer in the United States, responsible for one in six deaths. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 438,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking, and victims of carcinogenic "secondhand" exposure. Many chronic illnesses and diseases are associated with smoking, including lung cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure, asthma, shortness of breath, chronic cough, an increased frequency of colds and flu.
Unfortunately, smoking is exceptionally addictive, and quitting can be notoriously difficult. Smokers not only become physically addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, they also become psychologically addicted, linking the habit with social activities and stress relief. It's estimated that most smokers attempt to quit at least twice before finally kicking the habit. As Mark Twain famously said, "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times."
But for those with a sincere desire to give up nicotine, acupuncture can be a powerful tool. In fact, acupuncture is often court-mandated for other types of drug addiction, thanks to its ability to curb withdrawal symptoms and diminish cravings. Acupuncture's primary role in smoking cessation is detoxification. It helps the body quickly purge itself of the nicotine and other toxins, thereby reducing craving and decreasing physical dependence.
Acupuncture also strengthens and supports the heart, kidney, liver and lungs, calms the nervous system, and revitalizes the senses of taste and smell, which are dulled smoking. By detoxifying and supporting the liver, heart, and kidneys acupunture is able to relieve nervousness and irritibility associated with nicotine withdrawal.
If you've decided that it's time to quit, or if someone you know would like to overcome their addiction to nicotine, Dr. Earl can help.
Your first visit with Dr. Earl will last approximately one hour. Prior to receiving your acupuncture treatment, Dr. Earl will explain the process. He may also recommend herbal, enzyme or nutritional support, as well as some dietary and lifestyle changes.
The treatment itself lasts 20 minutes. The acupuncture points used for smoking cessation are located in the ear and on the arms, legs and feet. Six to 10 needles will be inserted at depths ranging from 1/16 inch to 1 inch. When the needle has reached the appropriate depth, there is a sensation called "de Qi", which translates to "the arrival of Qi." The sensations you feel will be sore, dull, heavy, achy, electric, or tingling, and will dissipate quickly. Do not confuse this sensation with the insertion of the needle, which most people do not feel. The needles are then left in place for 20 minutes, and while you may retain awareness of one or two of them, any level of discomfort is rare. In fact, most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing, and many fall asleep during the treatment.
Tiny, discreet, sterile needles or small seeds are also inserted into the points on one ear, and left in place for 10 to 14 days. Massaging these points provides additional detoxification and support between or after treatments.
85-90% of the patients treated for smoking cessation by Dr. Earl are able to quit just after one treatment ; others may require two or three; and a few may need four or five. The number of treatments required depends a great deal on your level of commitment to quitting and whether you work or live around smokers. The exposure to second hand smoke will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment by 50%. This is because the acupuncture rapidly detoxifies the body, and re-exposure to cigarette smoke will be working in direct opposition to the purpose of the treatment. Acupuncture is not a magical cure for smoking, but for those who sincerely want to quit, and are willing to actively participate in the process, it can make the difference between quitting for good or just quitting again.