Acupuncture treatment can be a great support for the process of stopping smoking. People report that it helps decrease cravings, and soothes the physical and emotional tension associated with withdrawal. Evidence also indicates that it significantly increases the chances of kicking the habit.
One study assigned 46 smokers to two groups. One group was treated at points recognized for their anti-smoking effect, while the other was given acupuncture at points assumed to have no effect for smoking cessation.
At the end of treatment, 31% of the subjects in the active treatment group had quit smoking completely, compared with none in the control group. Overall, the number of cigarettes smoked daily fell in both groups, but the reduction was larger for the active treatment group than the control group.
The study also measured tobacco by-products in the blood. In the treatment group, blood concentrations of tobacco by-products were reduced significantly after the treatment period, but no significant reductions were observed for the control group. Members of the active treatment group also reported a larger decrease in the desire to smoke, and a stronger aversion to the taste of tobacco, than those in the control group.
Effects of acupuncture on smoking cessation or reduction for motivated smokers. He D, Berg JE, Hostmark AT. Prev Med 1997 Mar;26(2):208-214.
Fenway Detox Program
The Fenway Community Health Center in Boston offers daily ear acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation or drug and alcohol detox. People are treated in a group setting, seated in chairs; the therapy is most effective when done on a daily basis. For more information: www.fenwayhealth.org.