Needles are placed or pressure applied in areas
of the body associated with certain nerves believed to play a role in the specific health
problem. The stimulation on selected acupuncture points is thought to make your body
produce natural medicines such as endorphins (a brain chemical involved in producing pain
relief and pleasure). These agents are believed to block your "pleasure
response" to tobacco and to decrease the withdrawal symptoms that normally occur with
The treatment involves the insertion of 4 to 6
needles into well-defined acupuncture points. The treatment is painless. A minimum of two
treatments is recommended. Some people return for a follow-up treatment.
After treatment, some acupuncturists place
tiny magnetic balls on selected ear points of patients to maintain the stimulation. When
the smokers get a craving for a cigarette, they stimulate the magnets on their ears.
Acupuncture works best with other methods of quitting, such as counseling.
According to the COHIS, success with
acupuncture alone has been considered to be fairly low. Quit rates at one year have
reportedly ranged from 8% to 40%.