How Does Auricular Acupuncture Treat Smoking Addiction?

A lot of smokers find it so difficult to quit smoking. They are hooked on nicotine, a substance that’s three times more addictive than cocaine or heroin. Most probably, these people have tried all sorts of ways to quit: counseling, nicotine patches, and gum, etc. All have failed.

In this article, we will delve into one clinically effective technique that has helped a lot of ex-smokers overcome their nicotine addiction withdrawal. This technique stems from tens of hundreds of years of Chinese Acupuncture, and over a half century of European medical innovation, research, and practice. This therapy is known as Auricular Acupuncture and it may just be the answer smokers are looking for.

What is Auricular Acupuncture?

Auricular acupuncture (Also known as Auriculomedicine, auricular therapy, or ear acupuncture) is a procedure that originated in France. It is a form of treatment that uses basic Western medical science (mainly based on neurology/neurophysiology) and theories of classical acupuncture.

The process itself involves either the application of filiform, single use sterile needles into the skin of the auricle or the outer ear. As an alternative to needles, low level laser may also be used for stimulation. In general, the acupuncturist uses a series of acupuncture points (usually two to five), and often combine them with predetermined points in the body (also to be stimulated by laser or needle). The process is 100 percent pain-free leaving the patient extremely comfortable and relaxed.

How Does Auricular Acupuncture?

Several theories abound as to how acupuncture works. But the potency of auricular acupuncture is well known and has been thoroughly researched. When the outer ear is stimulated, either with laser or needle, the body releases euphoria-inducing chemicals known as endorphins.

The endorphins are produced and released by the pituitary gland and some areas of the CNS or central nervous system. There is evidence that Auricular Acupuncture influences the CSF or cerebrospinal fluid and blood serum levels of endorphins.

When a person is addicted to nicotine (through smoking tobacco) he tends to experience high endorphin levels. So, how does Auricular Acupuncture, which also stimulates the release of endorphins, work?

A couple of reasons, one is when a person decides to quit smoking. The endorphins inside his CNS will decrease naturally and will need to be maintained. Two, the amount of endorphins in his body doesn’t increase with Auricular Acupuncture therapy; it simply regulates the rate of release. Because of these, patients who have quit and require assistance with their withdrawal can be helped, and patients that need assistance in putting down the cigarette and resisting the urge to smoke can also be helped.

The benefits related to Auricular Acupuncture therapy (a sense of relaxation and calmness) occurs when endorphins are released and the stimulation creates an analgesic or painkilling effect. This effect happens from the activity generated through reflex stimulation inside the prefrontal and somatosensory cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus and periaqueductal gray. This causes the symptoms of withdrawal (physical cravings, stress, restlessness, and anxiety) to be successfully treated.

What Occurs During an Auricular Acupuncture Treatment?

First, the patient needs to be sure that the physician or acupuncturist is qualified and has experience in Auricular Acupuncture therapy (he has undergone specialized training in Auricular Acupuncture and not just in traditional Acupuncture). A majority of people who are trained in this technique have undergone their training in clinics, in the US and Europe. In Australia, there are just a few practitioners who are able to use this method properly and effectively.

Treatment often involves a thorough evaluation of the patient’s health status via a number of diagnostic methods. One specific form of assessment that acupuncturists often use is the inspecting of laterality dysfunction. The term laterality refers to the harmonious state of interaction between the brain’s two cerebral hemispheres. The hemisphere that is dominant (which is the right side for a left-handed person and the left side for a right handed person) needs to be first established so that a correct acupuncture point selection can be made. Laterality dysfunctions may occur from any emotional or physical trauma that the patient has experienced in his past – it can happen at any time.

Signs of laterality dysfunction may include productivity difficulties (such as confusion in co-ordination and concentration problems), behavioral problems (stress, anxiety, depression), and learning disorders (dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, etc.). Clinical studies have discovered that people addicted to nicotine or any other substances are trying to balance or “re-lateralize” themselves. There has been clinical evidence to support the claims that Auricular Acupuncture is the fastest and best way to cure such problems.

One should know that Laterality Dysfunction is the reason a lot of acupuncture treatments are not as effective as they should be. In reality, this issue can be seen as an obstruction to treatment, and hence needs to be diagnosed and addressed first. To determine the points on the outer ear that are the most “active,” the acupuncturist may either use a polarized or filter object combined with a pulse procedure (known as VAS or Vascular Autonomic Signal) to ascertain which of the acupoints on the outer ear are the most “active.” This needs to be done because the auricle literally has hundreds of acupoints and acupuncturists are merely “stabbing in the dark” when they don’t utilize this method. Unfortunately, laser therapies that are protocol based are like this and hence do not often completely help the patient.

Patient Cooperation

The acupuncturist needs to explain to the patient the procedure he or she needs to go through and the duration of the treatment. Typically, the number of treatment sessions the patient needs is around two to six. From time to time, to ensure patients are still on track, a “booster” or follow-up treatment is advised.

The cooperation of the patient is very important and we usually recommend the patient to not smoke a few hours before the initial treatment. This is because most of them tend to become anxious just before the procedure and may need to light a cigarette to calm their nerves. After the procedure, we advice patients not to attend social gatherings or any stressful situations in which they would normally tend to smoke.

Conclusion

For those wishing to quit smoking, Auricular Acupuncture is an extremely effective form of treatment. The myths surrounding acupuncture about being uncomfortable and painful do not apply to this procedure. Patients who have tried it have discovered a deeper sense of relaxation that usually bolsters their confidence and makes them more determined to quit.

Studies Validate Auricular Acupuncture’s Effectiveness In Treating Insomnia

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACA) published a study showing ear acupuncture or auricular acupuncture to be quite effective in treating insomnia. The researchers in the study gathered data from six controlled randomized trials. All the trials were done in conducted in Hong Kong or mainland China. One was in English and five were in Chinese. 402 out of the 673 subjects were given auricular acupuncture therapy. Western drugs were given to the control group in four of the trials. One used fake or auricular acupuncture and the other used routine medical care.

The researchers observed that the subjects treated with auricular acupuncture experienced greater improvement compared to the people in the control groups. In addition, auricular acupuncture brought about better recovery from insomnia than diazepam. For feeling refreshed upon waking, for boosting sleep to 6 hours a night, and for remaining asleep during the night, auricular acupuncture was preferred over the control methods.

Diazepam initially sold under the label Valium. Doctors commonly used this drug to treat alcohol withdrawal, seizures, insomnia, and anxiety.

No conclusions were done about the efficacy of longstanding treatment of insomnia using auricular acupuncture due to the lack of follow-up information. Also, no conclusions were made about the safety of auricular acupuncture use for the treatment of insomnia again due to a lack of information on harmful effects.

A typical disorder marked by difficulty going to sleep and/or staying asleep, insomnia is often related with functional impairment while awake. Functional impairment associated with insomnia during the day includes occupational impairment, depression, irritability, and drowsiness.

Based on a study sponsored by the WHO or World Health Organization, 16 percent of subjects experienced problems falling asleep and 25 percent of subjects either woke up too early or had problems remaining asleep. Based on statistics gleaned from the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are about 60 million Americans suffering from insomnia affecting about 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women.

A Combined Treatment Of Qi Gong, T’ai Chi Acupuncture, And Chinese Nutritional Therapy Can Work Quite Well In The Treatment Of Fibromyalgia

In a recent study of patients suffering from fibromyalgia, it was discovered that compared with the control group who were given stretching exercises and wellness education, the group practicing T’ai Chi showed a significant improvement in their quality of life that included both significant physical and mental improvements.

While this was just a small scale study, it is additional proof of the health benefits of Qi Gong and T’ai Chi, especially for extremely painful conditions like fibromyalgia, which Chinese Medicine categorizes as ‘knotty issues’ that entail complex interconnections of various causes and symptoms. Several previous types of research have also demonstrated acupuncture’s ability to improve fibromyalgia symptoms significantly, especially in regard to anxiety, fatigue, and pain.

Fibromyalgia is a complex disease that involves symptoms such as pain, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, weakness of the limbs, heightened sensitivity to touch, and fatigue. Memory and concentration problems are typical – this is sometimes known as ‘fibro-fog’ or ‘brain fog’. The clinical perspective differs enormously from person to person, with each person manifesting his or her own unique symptoms.

Western conventional medicine has still not ascertained the real cause of fibromyalgia. Several theories have been proposed connected to stress, sleep disturbance, and abnormal amounts of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Western medicine poorly understands this condition and so has little to offer by way of treatment – medications for treating fibromyalgia include anti-seizure drugs, anti-depressants, hormones, muscle relaxants, and painkillers. Obviously, most of these drugs come with adverse side-effects and the level of success is quite low.

Case to case treatment offered by Chinese Medicine for fibromyalgia and other ‘knotty problems’ can work quite well. This is particularly true when a combined plan of treatment that includes Tuina and acupuncture strengthen Chi and normalize the hormones to relieve anxiety and boost energy levels is considered. Tui Na therapy massage can be quite effective in easing muscle spasm and relieving tense muscles.

In Chinese medicine, the ‘brain fog’ associated with fibromyalgia is a common ‘Dampness’ symptom that can be effectively dealt with through the use of tuina and/or acupuncture therapy. Chinese nutritional therapy can also be used with extreme effectiveness to augment the benefits of the treatment, more so when it comes to increasing levels of energy and in eliminating ‘brain fog’. And as the recent study has demonstrated, getting Qi Gong or T’ai Chi practice on a regular basis can also significantly alleviate symptoms and improve overall health.

A combined treatment strategy involving more than one type of treatment can treat different symptoms at the same time since fibromyalgia symptoms tend to be interconnected. This results in a slow but sure improvement in all areas of a person’s well-being and health. Normally, this is significantly much better than just acupuncture alone or any stand-alone treatment, for that matter.

Bellabaci Massage Therapy For Treatment Of Fibromyalgia Symptoms

For fibromyalgia medications, common side effects would include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, concentration problems and hypertension. Side effects may also include suicidal ideations and the drugs can also have lethal interactions with other medications. Because of this, a growing number of people are seeking ways to avail themselves of natural fibromyalgia relief.

One way people suffering from fibromyalgia derive relief from some of its common symptoms is by trying Bellabaci massage therapy. This type of massage is a form of cupping treatment with more superior benefits over the more traditional and older cupping techniques.

What Is Cupping Therapy?

A form of alternative medicine dating back hundreds of years, cupping therapy is a procedure whereby cups are placed on certain parts of the body and a vacuum is used to generate suction. The effect of the suction goes about four inches deep into the tissues of the body causing the release of toxins from the tissues. The suction effect is likewise believed to stimulate the lymphatic system and helps eliminate blockages in the arteries and veins. For the therapist to generate a vacuum and a suction effect, the air is heated inside the cups, and the cups are then applied to the body. After the air cools inside the cup, pressure drops inside the cup producing a vacuum.

What Is Bellabaci Massage Therapy?

For fibromyalgia, Bellabaci massage cupping therapy uses a similar principle of generating suction to clear out blockages and toxins while the suction is generated in a safer and easier way. Instead of heating the cups up that actually could lead to burns in the patient, if one is not careful, Bellabaci cups are composed of silicone and all one needs to do is squeeze the cup gently with one hand and then release pressure as they apply the cups to the skin surface. One gets the same benefits as traditional cupping therapy with Bellabaci cups although these cups are simpler and safer to use.

Can Fibromyalgia Pain be Alleviated with Bellabaci Therapy?

On the Mayo Clinic website, an article was posted showing studies suggesting that when combined with acupuncture, cupping therapy can actually lessen the symptoms of fibromyalgia more effectively than conventional drugs. The studies measured the cupping technique’s efficacy by comparing it with other forms of treatment. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that while there is still a need to do additional studies and research but the article noted that “some feasible studies suggest a probable role for cupping in treating fibromyalgia“.

To know whether Bellabaci cupping therapy really works for you is to simply give it a try. Unlike conventional drugs, there’s no need to worry about any adverse side effects and there’s also no need to worry about the risk of being burned nor is there a need to have a lot of skill in order to use Bellabaci cups. In addition, Bellabaci cupping therapy is an inexpensive therapy which makes it accessible for people who can’t afford more expensive fibromyalgia treatments. So if you are experiencing painful symptoms from your fibromyalgia conditions, you may want to try Bellabaci Body Massage Therapy if you’re seeking a natural way to relieve its symptoms.

Five complementary and Alternative treatments For Gout

TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine has a wide repertoire of therapies to choose from when it comes to treating gout. This includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, acupressure, Tuina and other lesser-known healing practices. For more than 25 centuries, Chinese medicine has been a globally successful alternative and complementary medical system to conventional Western allopathic medicine. TCM practitioner and acupuncturist Simon Becker When comparing the effectiveness of Chinese herbs to Western therapies for gout, Simon Becker mentioned a clinical study done in China that compared the effectiveness of Chinese herbs to Western treatments for gout. The control group in the study was administered with conventional Western medical care while the treatment group was treated with Chinese herbal medicine. At the end of the study, results showed that the group treated with herbal therapy slightly much better improvements in their symptoms compared to the control group treated with conventional Western medicine. Between the two groups, however, the only known difference groups was that the treatment group did not experience any side effects while the control group did. From the perspective of Becker, the use of Chinese herbs under the supervision a qualified alternative health care practitioner, are totally safe and have no risk of harmful side effects.

Ermiao wan

A 1994 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed that Chinese herb Ermiao wan, helps reduce swelling and edema in the body. This Chinese herb has been for thousands of years to treat people with gout and toxic high levels of uric acid. Ermiao wan should only be used under the guidance of a qualified Oriental medicine practitioner.

Dandelion

This herb has been known to relieve gout pain in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. Herbalists may also use dandelion due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It can serve as an herbal cataplasm for topical application or brewed into tea and drank to address gout. It can relieve swelling around the joints and edema. Dandelion increases the elimination of the cause of gout: uric acid.

Burdock root

Burdock root helps lessen inflammation and swelling in the tissues. It can be used as a natural diuretic and is recommended by practitioners to treat swollen tissues surrounding the joints and edema. The root can be taken as cataplasm that’s topically applied on the problem areas. It can also be brewed into tea and drank. Burdock root can also be cooked like parsnips or carrots or eaten raw. According to Urban Herbs, when the root is topically used, some people have reported negative reactions. In certain cases, it can result in contact dermatitis or a rash.

Meadow saffron

Meadow saffron contains the alkaloids colchicoside and colchicines, both of which possess diuretic and painkilling properties. This herb can help treat edema, water retention, gout pain, and inflammation around the joints. Standard pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of gout treatment often contain colchicine. Patients who need to take the relatively toxic colchicine in any form should be closely supervised by a qualified health practitioner.

Blood-letting cupping

Blood-letting cupping is a type of Chinese medicine treatment that is rarely practiced in the West. According to the 2010 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, blood-letting or cupping is once again used in China to treat gout. A clinical trial that involved 34 patients suffering from acute gout showed that along with blood-letting, Chinese herbal remedies improved the state of health of 21 of the 34 patients which is considered a success in the treatment of gouty arthritis. When you’re suffering from gout, never self treat yourself. Consult with a licensed or trained practitioner instead.