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Stop Smoking with Acupuncture

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Cigarette smoking can cause many chronic diseases, such as lung cancer and many other forms of cancer; heart disease; and respiratory diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data, smoking causes over 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, which is nearly one in five deaths.1

Each year, over 3 million Americans try to quit smoking, but only half of them succeed. Acupuncture can help smokers break their addiction to nicotine. Acupuncture is especially effective for those who had been unsuccessful with other methods to stop smoking.


Effects of Acupuncture on Smoking Cessation

Acupuncture can detoxify nicotine from the body

Acupuncture can increase the body’s ability to process toxins and heavy metals accumulated from tobacco use by improving circulation of Qi (the vital energy of the body) and Blood and enhancing the function of the Lungs, the Liver, and the Spleen. In TCM, the Lung governs inhalation; the Spleen governs transformation and transportation of the substances; and the Liver governs smooth flow of Qi throughout the entire body. By improving the functions of these organ systems, acupuncture can help detoxify and eliminate the nicotine and other chemicals introduced by cigarettes.

Acupuncture can reduce the nicotine withdrawal symptoms

The most common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite. Acupuncture is highly effective in diminishing these withdrawal symptoms by stimulating endorphin release. Endorphins are the natural chemicals produced by the body which relieve pain and increase a sense of relaxation and contentment. When inserted into the body, acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to regulate the amount of natural endorphins in the body and helps calm and relax the mind, enhance the ability to concentrate, and minimize anxiety.2

Acupuncture changes the taste of cigarettes

Another contribution to smoking cessation is a change in the taste of smoke after acupuncture treatments. Many people come to realize that cigarettes taste like burning ash or bitter. This unpleasant taste of cigarettes makes patients unable to finish the entire length of a cigarette and lose the urge to smoke. In clinical trials, acupuncture treatments induced a bitter taste in the mouth when smoking cigarettes which helps reduce craving for smoking. Subjects of the study reported that cigarettes tasted worse than before the treatment and that the treatments had effectively reduced their taste for tobacco.3


NOTE: The names of organs are capitalized when referring to the entire, functional organ systems in TCM perspective: Liver, Blood, etc. The names of organs are lower-cased when referring to the distinct, biomedical organs: liver, blood, etc.


Acupuncture / Ear Acupuncture Procedure

Each acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of sterile, disposable needles into specific acupuncture points on the body. Usually a combination of body acupuncture points and ear points (NADA protocol) are used to influence the organs and energetic pathways associated with smoking.

The acupuncture needles will be remained for 20-30 minutes. After removing the needles, small ear pellets or ear seeds made of Chinese herb, Wang Bu Liu Xing (Semen Vaccariae), will be taped to the ear and remained in place for couple days to maintain the stimulation. The patients will be advised to apply gentle pressure on the pellets to stimulate the acupuncture points on the ear when a cigarette craving hits.



NADA protocol involves the insertion of acupuncture needles into 5 specific locations in the ear that stimulate the lung, liver, kidney and nervous system.

These points are extremely effective in the treatment of drug, alcohol and cigarette addictions.


Treatment Plan

The number and frequency of treatments vary depending on the individual smoking history. The degree of addiction to nicotine, the length of period cigarettes has been smoked, how many cigarettes are smoked per day, and the patient’s will-power will largely determine the number of treatments needed. Other important considerations include the individual unique constitution and the function of the Zang Fu organs responsible for detoxification, including the Lungs, the Liver, the Kidneys and the Spleen.

Generally, 4 to 6 acupuncture treatments during the first two weeks are recommended to help reduce the craving for cigarettes and initiate detoxification process. Although some patients quit smoking after 2 to 3 sessions of acupuncture treatment, an average of 8 to 12 sessions can help most of the smokers quit smoking or greatly reduce the amount of cigarettes.

Once the physiological and psychological dependence on the nicotine has been reduced and the patient has become able to reduce the number of cigarettes, monthly follow-up treatments for 3 to 6 months are recommended to consolidate the effects. If life stressors or complicating circumstances are in play, then additional treatments may be necessary to preserve the positive results.



Acupuncture Wellness Center offers a special package deal to maximize the effect of acupuncture treatment in smoking cessation and decrease the financial burden for patients.

This special deal provides a 30 minute treatment using NADA protocol for $20 per session. The patients will be treated ideally 2-3 times a week.

Advanced payment for weekly or monthly treatments is required to encourage the patients to receive regular and consistent treatments.

For more information, please contact us.


Tips to Resist Tobacco Cravings

  • Avoid triggers: Identify your trigger situations, such as drinking alcohol, sipping coffee, or reading a newspaper, and have a plan to alter the situations with new habits without tobacco. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for example, keep a pen and paper nearby to occupy yourself with doodling rather than smoking.
  • Delay: When you fee the urge to smoke, remind yourself that you must wait 10 more minutes, and do something to distract yourself or try going to a smoke-free zone. These simple tricks may be enough to derail your tobacco craving.
  • Chew on something: Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy, or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds to fight a tobacco craving.
  • Get physical: Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. Get out for a walk or jog, or try stretching or walking up and down the stairs.
  • Get reinforcements: Let your family, friends or co-workers know that you are trying to quit smoking, and ask their help by stopping you when they see you grab a cigarette or complimenting your effort to resist a tobacco craving.


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