Acupuncture to Help Quit Smoking
Acupuncture is an alternative form of medicinal treatment that has been associated with alleviating different conditions and illnesses. But one lesser known fact about acupuncture is that it is sometimes used to help individuals quit smoking. However, the efficacy of acupuncture to aid individuals stop smoking has been questioned and recent studies have sought to explore the relationship between acupuncture and an individual's ability to stop smoking.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine in which needles are placed in specific points along the skin.
This form of alternative treatment has been used to treat a variety of illnesses, conditions and diseases, including the following:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- arthritis pain
- menstrual pain
Health Risks Linked to Smoking
There are a variety of health risks that have been linked to smoking. Some of the effects of smoking on an individual's health include:
- cardiovascular disease
- heart attack
- lung cancer
- esophagus cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- cervical cancer
Can Acupuncture Help You Quit Smoking?
One study found that 27% of smokers who wanted to quit tried acupuncture at least one time in order to help them stop smoking; many others have said that they have hopes of trying this form of alternative treatment in the future.
It is believed that acupuncture helps an individual stop smoking by releasing endorphins and other brain chemicals, a process that helps to minimize cravings and reduce symptoms related to smoking.
However, a recent study that evaluated over a dozen past studies found that acupuncture was not very effective in helping an individual quit smoking. This study evaluated past studies on the subject, most of which focused on sham and fake acupuncture and how it compared to valid acupuncture techniques, as well as similar procedures of acupressure and electrostimulation. The study found that acupuncture and similar treatments were better on a short-term basis than no treatment at all, but that they were not effective forms of treatment overall.
Studies also suggest that three-quarters of smokers who try to quit will relapse a few times, regardless of what type of treatment they seek. Therefore, combination therapy, which may include nicotine replacement and behavioral modification, are recommended.