Hypnosis and Acupuncture to quit smoking?

How do you quit smoking? Luckily I’ve never had to deal with this myself, but I’ve seen family and friends struggle with it, and others shrug the habit off with barely a second thought. For those who struggle, there is often a sense of desperation and defeat involved in their fight against this crippling, deadly addiction.

It was with interest that I received an email today, from Natural Practitioner Magazine, which briefly mentioned the possible effectiveness of hypnosis and acupuncture in smoking cessation. You know I was interested!

As it turns out, the email was rehashing a Reuters article, Want to quit smoking?

The bottom line is that the American Journal of Medicine published a meta-analysis of 14 trials looking at non-pharmaceutical methods of smoking cessation, and that there is some evidence that hypnosis and acupuncture are effective.

What the Natural Practitioner Magazine left out is that the meta-analyses included trials of aversive smoking, that the results are mixed (some trials show positive results while others show negative or non-specific results), that aversive smoking seems more effective than either hypnosis or acupuncture and that none of these three non-pharmaceutical methods has evidence showing that it is more effective than pharmacotherapies (like nicotine patches).

Furthermore, the meta-analysis points out that people should try nicotine replacement, medication and behaviour counselling BEFORE using these alternative therapies.

Aversive smoking is where the smoker crams so many cancer-sticks down his or her throat that they form a negative association with the habit (they smoke so much it makes them sick). This is a risky method and is unpopular for obvious reasons. Don’t try this without consulting with your doctor, nicotine overdose can be fatal.

Both hypnotherapy and acupuncture are psychological methods of trying to control your behaviour. Yes, acupuncture is psychological because it has no physical effect on your body, apart from causing a localised reaction to being poked with a needle. They might be more effective than not doing anything, but they are less effective than the front-line treatments mentioned above, like any placebo.

What I hope you take from this is the fact that people who have a vested interest in natural, alternative medicines are not necessarily going to give you all the information upfront, and if you aren’t prepared to do some digging you are not going to get the full story from a biased source. Always question what you are told.

I am a biased source because I want you to quit smoking, but I have no interest in taking money out of your pocket to help you do so.


As an aside, the best anecdote I ever heard about someone who quit smoking was on the (superb) Radiolab podcast, by WNYC. Her name is Zelda and she smoked for thirty years. Smoking defined who she was. She smoked while she was pregnant.

Eventually, after 30 years of smoking and a few run-ins with her best friend (Mary), Zelda made a pronouncement – that she would give $5000 to the KKK if she ever smoked a cigarette again.

She never did. Because her disgust at the idea of giving so much money to such a filthy organisation burned hotter than her desire to smoke.



18 responses to “Hypnosis and Acupuncture to quit smoking?

  1. Hello Angelia! Very nice and informative blog you have shared. I like and enjoy it very much.To my view regarding hypnosis, I must say here that Hypnotherapy is most effective way to quit smoking if you are really interested to quit smoking. The hypnotherapist teaches the smoker self-hypnosis, and then asks him or her to repeat these affirmations anytime the desire to smoke occurs.

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  4. Yes, I truly agree with you that many people are there who are struggling to quit smoking but they are helpless as they are not having a right choice. As per my experience, hypnotherapy works the best. Although, this is a slow process but provides expected results. As it is risk free method, so one not need to worry about any kind of side effects.

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  6. Nicotine controls my life. I cant do anything without a cigarette, for example I live in a remote area in Louisiana this spring we had plenty of rain and had to leave my truck up front and travel by boat or 4 wheeler back and forth to my house. I live 3 miles behind a locked gate “Chips Peaceful Palace of Pleasurable Pursuits” I decided to try to quit smoking around that time, started developing a conic cough so I would leave the cigarettes in my truck up front. If I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom I would leave on the 4 wheeler in the middle of the night and make the 6 mi round trip in the flood water just to get the cigarette,its that bad. Dont seem to have the desire to quit. Well the cough has gotten worse, now I get out of breath just taking a shower. I read about self hypnosis and sent for the C Ds it seamed to work for a short time, still listen to them and they make me relax but have seam to smoke more “2 packs a day” coughing my A_ _ off as I’m writing this. Has anyone tried the Chantics and Acupuncture at the same time? Need to try something, my Father died of Enfozima that still didnt scare me enough to quit. Any out there have any sugestions?

  7. I can confirm it’s easy, you just have to set your mind to it and maybe get over nicotine with e-cigarette or some kind of nicotine infusion 😉 If you are lazy thinker and don’t want to prepare your mind to change something, then mind searches for easy alternatives which would change your mind for you…

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  11. I’m convinced it has nothing to do with will power (whatever that is) and a lot to do with a deep desire not to smoke. I smoked for 20 years, with a lot of false quits along the way. But when I was psychologically ready, when I loathed the habit with every fibre of my being, then it was surprisingly easy. I never looked back.

  12. I quit smoking naturally. Just stopped one day. The first three days or so were hell, but it got easier after that. It’s been about 6 years…

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