So you’ve decided to quit smoking. Fantastic! That is the first step of your journey to becoming smoke-free. No matter how long you’ve smoked, whether it’s a year or 30 years, the process of quitting can be a challenge. Making preparations beforehand and having plenty of support, including acupuncture, will go a long way to ensuring success!
Why do you want to quit?
Understanding why you want to quit is an important early step in this process. Take some time and write yourself a list of reasons why you want to quit, say 5 to 10 reasons, and keep that with you throughout your journey. When times get challenging you will have it readily available as a reminder as to why you are doing what you’re doing, and you won’t have to struggle to find the reason in the middle of a craving.
Speaking of cravings…
Another helpful tool to do before you quit is to come up with a list of activities you will do when a craving strikes. The average craving lasts 8 to 10 minutes, but it can feel like an eternity! What will you do if you are struggling to move through a craving? Some suggestions for your list:
- Chewing gum – keeping your mouth busy during a craving will help curb the urge to smoke. If you don’t like gum try hard candy or drinking more water.
- Breathing – practice slowing down your breathing, taking deep breaths, and centering yourself during a craving can help you feel more in control.
- Exercise – take a quick 10 minutes to stretch, jog in place, or do some jumping jacks.
- Change of scenery – changing what you are doing or where you are at can help curb that craving, especially if it is a scenario where you would normally light up. Just changing the environment you are in can help reprogram the desire for a cigarette.
And what about acupuncture?
Glad you asked! Acupuncture can help to lessen cravings, reduce stress, and keep you calm as you move through the process of quitting. It can also address common complaints that can accompany quitting, such as fatigue, altered sleep habits, weight gain, and changes in appetite and digestion. Mood changes such as anxiety, depression, and irritability are common as your body detoxes from the nicotine, and acupuncture is a great remedy!
Why did you prescribe Chinese herbs?
Chinese herbal medicine is an important support during this time to help address the side effects you may experience during this transition – mood changes, digestive issues, sleep changes, and cravings. The herbal prescription enhances the acupuncture treatment, and offers mini treatments between your acupuncture sessions.
How often do I need to get acupuncture?
Generally speaking, most people are smoke-free within three weeks. During that time it is usually recommended to get acupuncture twice a week. Each person has different needs, and for some it may take less time, and others it may take more. Your treatment sessions, including the duration, will be tailored to your particular needs. There is no one-size-fits-all, nor are there any magic bullets.
Don’t give up!
You have chosen to embark on a journey to better health. It may get difficult, especially early on, but don’t give up! Remember the reasons you are doing this. The end result will be a healthier you!