On quitting smoking: what to expect from acupuncture

We support a lot of folks to quit smoking, and we regularly get questions about how well acupuncture works and how much acupuncture someone will need in order to quit smoking.

The good news is that regular acupuncture (at least once a week, possibly more) can significantly reduce cravings, ease anxiety and irritability, and help your body to expel toxins – and this will help you to feel much better. Acupuncture can also help to clear your lungs when you get to the coughing-up-old-phlegm stage of the process.

The sad news is that acupuncture won’t make it easy. It’s still a hard thing to do.

The number of treatments you’ll need will depend on a few different factors, like how long you’ve been smoking, how many cigarettes a day, how intense the cravings are when you quit or cut down, how high your stress levels are, and how emotionally attached you are to smoking. Because quitting smoking is such a difficult thing to do, we usually recommend that you come in for two or three treatments before you quit, to help you feel as good as possible before taking on the challenge of quitting smoking. Once you’ve begun, we ask you about your symptoms (cravings, anxiety/irritability, stress, etc) on a scale of one to ten. If your cravings are a 10/10, we might suggest that you come in every day, or as often as you can until the cravings are reduced. If they’re only a 5/10, we’d probably suggest twice a week for a couple of weeks and then reassess where you’re at.

By the way, we won’t judge you if you end up deciding that you’re not ready to quit. Or if you set a quit date and then push it back. Or if you quit, and then come in smelling of cigarette smoke. We won’t remind you that smoking is bad for your health. Most of us at GCA have been addicted to something at one time or another. We understand that addictions are incredibly challenging and it is not our place to judge you about smoking (or anything else).

If you have any more questions about how acupuncture can support you, please get in touch.

On one side, several people sleeping in recliners under red blankets. In the back of the room, a practitioner sitting on a stool facing a patient sitting upright in a recliner.
photo by Vanessa Tignanelli

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