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Quitting Smoking With Acupuncture

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 quitting.

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 counselling.

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%.

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Updated March 2019