There are many components of TCM, but the one that generates the most interest is acupuncture and essentially acupuncture for smoking.
Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, an age-old practice of the Chinese that has been in existence for over 2,500 years, based on the belief that as we live in a universe where everything is interconnected, we cannot separate the physiological and emotional. Whatever affects one part of the body will automatically affect the other.
Acupuncture is based on the theory that there are channels through which energy flows through the psychophysical system in a certain pattern (qi) which controls the essential well-being of a person. Any disruption in this flow of energy will cause malfunctions in the body. As acupuncture restores the flow of energy, healing begins. It is a system of inserting small disposable sterile needles into the skin at strategic points situated along the meridians, where energy is thought to be blocked. By twisting these needles the energy flow is released to stimulate these specific blocked points and bring relief to the symptoms of disease and addiction, which brings one to the conclusion that acupuncture for smoking can be highly effective.
During 1997, the Department of Preventative Medicine, University of Oslo in Norway undertook a study to examine the effects of acupuncture on smoking reduction, and cessation. Participants in the study were healthy volunteers, both men and women averaging 39 years of age, who wanted to quit smoking. They had smoked between 20 +/- 6 cigarettes per day and had smoked for 23 +/- 8 years. After being randomly assigned to 2 groups, the one group was given acupuncture treatment at acupoints previously used for anti-smoking (group1), while the other group was given treatment at acupoints that were considered not to have any effect on anti-smoking (group2). Before each treatment they had to answer questionnaires and after the last, about their smoking habits. Before the first and after the last treatment the concentrations of serum cotinine, serum thiocyanate, serum peroxides, and plasma fibrinogen were measured.
Both group's daily cigarette consumption fell. 31% of Group1 had completely stopped smoking by the end of the treatment, compared with none in Group2. The concentrations of cotinine and thiocyanate were reduced in Group1 but no significant reduction in Group2. Both groups experienced a reduction in the desire for nicotine. Neither of the groups experienced a change in peroxides and plasma fibrinogen concentrations. The conclusion is that Acupuncture for smoking is effective and using certain acupoints can make a difference to the results.
The best system used for acupuncture for smoking is known as Auricular acupuncture. Superfine needles are inserted into the auricle, but never the auditory canal. The ear is thought to have numerous therapeutic points, which correspond to various points in the body. When the acupuncture points, called acupoints, are stimulated the acupuncture needles send electrical impulses to the brain, which in turn stimulate other areas of the body. They will regulate internal organs, relieve pains in joints, muscles, and will stimulate the brain itself and diminish cravings.
Acupuncture needles are left static for 15-20 minutes in the outer ear before being removed. Very often acupuncturists make use of ear seeds as well. They are tiny black seeds of the Vaccaria plant, taped on specific acupoints of the auricle. By applying gentle pressure on these seeds during a craving for nicotine they will stimulate the release of endorphins. This promotes detoxification and decreases the feeling of anxiety. They are usually left in place for a couple of days.
Acupuncture for smoking is found to be very effective for candidates who are serious about quitting. It is more beneficial if the smoker begins treatment a few days prior to quitting, as it alleviates the cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and dependency on nicotine will be minimized before the candidate actually quits. Smoking is not just addictive but habitual as well, so the best results can be obtained by combining acupuncture for smoking with behavioral management therapy.