FIRST THINGS FIRST, pick a start date.
NO cutting down.
NO nicotine gum.
We have to eliminate the nicotine from the body. This is hard to do when we are exposed to nicotine. Cold turkey anxiousness is a side effect of withdrawal from nicotine. Acupuncture helps with this phase by releasing endorphins that reduce stress. In this case the stress of going cold turkey when we quit smoking. Every time we expose ourselves to nicotine we restart the clock. It’s like one step forward two steps back. The more we smoke the more nicotine receptors we have the harder it is to quit. So…the longer we go without nicotine the closer we are to quitting.
Acknowledge your triggers
Think about what causes you to smoke. Is it a cup of coffee in the morning? Is it sitting in the car stuck in traffic. Have you been forced to smoke outside? Maybe the patio is a trigger. Remember to avoid alcohol as it decreases our inhibitions. I often recommend to my patients to rearrange rooms and furniture. Sitting in the same chair and what you are looking at may trigger smoking.
Also avoid other smokers. Second hand smoke has nicotine that can trigger you to smoke. Third hand smoke is the smell on people’s clothes that have particles on them. that can trigger you to smoke and are harmful. Third hand smoke has been linked to asthma in children.
Habits are unconscious actions that we perform on autopilot. They are ingrained in our psyche. Most people don’t think about the action of taking a cigarette out, lighting it and inhaling the smoke. They just do it. So we have to be clear about what we are going to do instead of smoking. Tai chi, exercise and fitness are great but not for everyone. Hobbies like arts and crafts are great. It’s hard to light up and smoke when you are gluing a model airplane together or painting a picture. The world is wide open for you. This part of quitting smoking is the best part because it is your choice. We want to replace a bad habit with a good habit, not a bad habit with a bad habit, like eating junk food. One of my patients started singing. When she was stuck in traffic, which was her trigger, she turned on the radio and sung her heart out. This led to her buying a karaoke set and singing at home instead of smoking.
Have a good support system.
We at Acuhealthnj can perform acupuncture and can help you while you are in the room. We can’t keep you from buying cigarettes. We can send you off with ear seeds, which is a form of micro acupressure. These ear seeds are a way to stimulate the points in order to help with the side effects of withdrawal, when you are not with us. There are many herbal formulas that help. Herbal formulas don’t have harsh side effects or create dependency. Finally, please inform your friends and family that you are quitting smoking. The ones that do smoke should be considerate to your needs. The ones that don’t smoke; I’m sure, will be glad to help and support you on your journey to being SMOKE FREE!
About the author
Michael D. Beys L. Ac., D.A.C.m. is a graduate of Pacific college of Oriental Medicine. His training consisted of over 3000 hours in the study of acupuncture and herbal medicine. He was supervising acupuncturist at RUMC’s substance abuse Detox Center and South Beach Psychiatric Rehab facility.
He is also fluent in Greek, and Spanish, and proficient in mandarin, Arabic, and Italian. Currently his practice focuses on fertility and women’s health, pain management, and substance abuse mental health.