With millions of people in the vise grip of tobacco addiction, it’s little wonder we’re inundated with products and programs to help smokers quit. Nor does it come as a surprise that many are turning to alternative therapies in their fight to kick nicotine. Whatever method you try, nothing is going to work without some willpower and a strong desire to stop. Whether you’re trying to quit cold turkey, with help from nicotine patches and gum, or using alternative means such as acupuncture, you won’t be successful until you’re ready and determined. Here are some popular alternative methods that just might help you go nicotine free.
Acupuncture has been shown to increase levels of endorphins (opiate-like substances the body produces), which are known to calm the system and may consequently soothe cravings.
Most acupuncturists recommend at least four treatments during the first month of quitting; acupuncture performed on the ear is reported to be most effective.
Clinical trial results are mixed, and a recent literature review published in the British journal Tobacco Control found acupuncture was as effective as behavior therapy but inferior to nicotine-replacement therapy. Some research is promising, however. One British study of 78 smokers found that 12.5 percent of those using acupuncture had quit smoking six months after treatment, compared to zero in the control group.
If you’d like to give acupuncture a try, ask your friends and family to recommend practitioners or visit the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture website, for referrals by state.
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While no herb has been proven to replace nicotine effectively in the way that substitutes such as Nicorette do, chamomile and valerian may be able to ease your transition to life as a nonsmoker.
The calming effect of these herbs can help you cope with stressful situations that might otherwise lead you to smoke. If your feelings are already on an even keel, the herbs make it easier to handle unexpected cigarette cravings without tumbling off the wagon.
On rare occasions, chamomile may produce an allergic reaction in people prone to hay fever. Don’t use valerian if you’re taking other sedatives, as it may intensify their effects, including side effects.
Keep in mind that the government doesn’t regulate herbal supplements as strictly as