With the all too many ill-effects smoking has, not only to our health but to the world around us, many of us (especially those who are addicted to nicotine) still find it unbelievably difficult to quit. Being a chronic smoker myself, I have already been through numerous counseling sessions and nicotine gum and patches in order to quit, all to no avail. Fortunately, I was able to discover an ancient Chinese secret and European healing innovation that has helped me break my smoking habit and turned my life around.
This article will talk about this secret in the hope that it will help you get over the difficulties in trying to quit smoking for good, especially in dealing with nicotine addiction withdrawal. This method, which has been practiced by the Chinese for thousands of years, is acupuncture, but specifically, the more than six decades of European medical innovation, research, and practice known as Auricular Acupuncture.
What is Auricular Acupuncture?
Auricular Acupuncture, also called ear acupuncture or auriculotherapy is a form of acupuncture treatment that originated and was refined in France. It is a procedure that utilizes the theories of traditional acupuncture and basic modern medical science (mainly based on neurology/neurophysiology).
Auricular Acupuncture basically involves the insertion of ultra-thin, single-use, disposable, and sterile needles onto the auricle or outer ear. A modern form uses low level laser instead of needles to stimulate the acupuncture points on the ear. Two to five acupoints are generally used for treatment, which is often combined with needling or “lasering” of selected acupoints on the body. Both needling and laser auriculotherapy are 100 percent safe and pain-free procedures that leaves you extremely comfortable and relaxed.
How Does Auricular Acupuncture Work?
Several theories have been postulated as to how acupuncture actually works. But with regards to Auricular Acupuncture, years of research have shown it to definitely work for a wide range of health conditions. When the outer ear auricle is stimulated, either with laser or needle (studies have shown the laser is less effective than needling but, nonetheless, still effective), natural pain-killing chemicals are released by the brain to calm and relax the person and ease the pain.
Certain parts of the CNS (central nervous system) and the pituitary gland secrete the endorphins, which is triggered by Auricular Acupuncture. The treatment has been shown to influence the blood serum and endorphin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
A person addicted to nicotine (through tobacco smoking) will naturally show high levels of endorphins in his/her body. If this is the case, then how can Auricular Acupuncture help lessen a person’s smoking cravings since nicotine has already increased endorphin levels in the smoker’s bloodstream?
When a person has decided to give up smoking, the CNS will stop secreting endorphins in the body. This results in the rise of symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which can be very difficult to overcome, and more often than not, is the reason why most people fail to stop smoking. Therefore, the endorphin levels of the person need to be maintained. Auricular Acupuncture actually doesn’t increase a person’s endorphin levels per se; it just stabilizes the rate of release. In this manner, people who have quit, and need assistance with the withdrawal symptoms can be helped, and people who need assistance in actually stopping their smoking can be treated.
As mentioned a while ago, Auricular Acupuncture can be extremely comfortable and relaxing to the patient. This occurs because of the treatment’s ability to release endorphins that brings about a state of analgesia. This effect is caused by the activity within the prefrontal cortex, somatosensory, thalamus, hypothalamus, and periaqueductal gray regions of the brain that is stimulated via needles/laser. This makes it possible to successfully treat symptoms of nicotine withdrawal including physical cravings, stress, restlessness, and anxiety.
What Does Auricular Acupuncture Treatment Involve?
Patients should first look for a trained and licensed acupuncturist who has specialized in Auricular Acupuncture and is preferably experienced. Most of these specialized acupuncturists have had done their training within specific clinics in the United States or Europe.
Treatment typically begins with a full evaluation of the patient’s condition by means of various diagnostic procedures. One specific mode of evaluation that acupuncturists use is the examining of laterality dysfunction. Laterality means the state of harmonic interaction between the brain’s two cerebral hemispheres. In order to select the correct acupoints to be used, the dominant hemisphere of the patient must first be determined (a left-handed person will have a dominant right hemisphere and vice versa). Laterality dysfunction may be caused by any emotional or physical trauma that a person experienced in life; it may happen at any time.
Laterality dysfunction may manifest through productivity problems (such as difficulty in coordination and concentration), behavioral issues (stress, anxiety, depression) and learning disorders (dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, etc.). Medical studies have revealed that people with substance addiction (specifically nicotine) are striving to re-balance or re-lateralize themselves. The studies show that Auricular Acupuncture is the quickest and most ideal mode of treatment for such disorders.
The issue of Laterality Dysfunction is often why a lot acupuncture treatments (like protocol based clinics) do not succeed. Laterality dysfunction is an obstruction to treatment, and should first be diagnosed and treated before actual acupuncture treatment is initiated.
Practitioners may utilize either a polarized object or filter combined with a certain pulse procedure called VAS or Vascular Autonomic Signal to identify the points on the outer ear that are the most “active”. This is important since the ear has hundreds of acupuncture points practitioners will be at a loss when finding the right acupoints to treat. Unfortunately, laser treatments that are protocol based are like this and hence, are usually unable to completely help the patient.
The Patient’s Role in the Treatment
The practitioner must explain to the patient the process that they will go through and how long the treatment will least. Most patients require between two to six sessions of therapies. A follow-up session is sometimes necessary to make sure the treatment is going as it should.
The cooperation of the patient is also needed. Before treatment, some acupuncturists will advise their patients to try not to smoke (for a few hours, at least), since to relieve their anxiety, many of them tend to smoke a cigarette before treatment. It is also advised that the patient should avoid any stressful situations and social settings in which they would normally smoke. This can be a bit difficult and its success will depend on the willpower of the patient.
For people who earnestly want to quit smoking, Auricular Acupuncture can be a very good option. The assumptions surrounding acupuncture about being uncomfortable and painful don’t really apply to this procedure, since after treatment most patients experience a renewed confidence in themselves, a deeper sense of relaxation, and a strong determination to quit.