Alternative Medicine for Smoking

Acupuncture settles tobacco addiction cravings

November 15, 2011 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

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(dailyRx News) As the Great American Smokeout approaches, tobacco-free supporters reach out to increase awareness, some with rather interesting means of absolving addiction.

November 17th, labeled the Great American Smokeout, calls out to U.S. smokers, pleading for them to "butt out" and put down their cigarettes for 24 hours.

"Challenge yourself to 24-hours without tobacco."

Since 2001, AOMA's Graduate School of Integrative Medicine offers free acupuncture treatments for people wishing to quit smoking for two days during the Great American Smokeout.  

In a conversation with dailyRx, Lesley Hamilton, AOMA's MAcOM Program Director and acupuncture practitioner, explains: "from a Chinese medical perspective, acupuncture works at rebalancing disharmonies affecting the body, mind, and spirit. From a modern science perspective acupuncture has numerous, and as of yet, unexplained effects including suppression of the sympathetic nervous system, activation of the limbic system, and release of endorphins."  

Treating addiction since 1972, a neurosurgeon in Hong Kong discovered an acupuncture treatment called the NADA protocol used to relieve symptoms of drug withdrawal, notably cravings.The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) officialized the protocol in 1985, and several studies have substantiated its usage since.

The NADA protocol consists of strategically placing five acupuncture needles throughout the ear, a micro-system of the body. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to counteract insufficient dopamine levels, a happy neurotransmitter smokers tend to miss when beginning detoxification.  AOMA officials report that it aids smokers over the "initial hump" until their dopamine is regulated and able to improve mood and relieve tension efficiently on its own.  

Hamilton recommends: "the day a person decides to stop smoking, he/she should get an acupuncture treatment. For many people, daily acupuncture for a week or two works best, for others a treatment every 2-3 days works well. After the initial set of visits, periodic treatments help minimize a relapse." 

In asking how soon tobacco addicts should expect to be free of cravings, Lesley tells dailyRx: "every person is unique and effects vary widely. One treatment may be enough for one person and another may need daily treatments for 3 weeks with periodic follow-ups."

This local supporter hopes to increase awareness of health risks and help addicts ditch their cancer sticks. Although smoking prevalence is decreasing nationwide, the Center of Disease control and prevention report that of our 46 million current adult smokers, nearly a half a million will pass on this year.

Any smoker understanding the negative effects of smoking can challenge themselves to 24-hours free of tobacco.  Those with the desire to quit should talk to their doctor regarding alternative treatments such as acupuncture. 

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 14, 2011
Last Updated:
November 16, 2011