Harnessing the Power of Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation

Harnessing the Power of Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation - Quit With Nerd

In our ongoing quest to live healthier, happier lives, many of us are faced with the challenging task of kicking the nicotine habit. We’ve all heard of the common methods: nicotine patches, gum, and even hypnosis.

But have you ever considered acupuncture as a viable method to help quit smoking? Yes, you read that right. The ancient Chinese medical practice of acupuncture is stepping into the limelight as a compelling strategy in the battle against tobacco addiction.

This post will delve into the power of acupuncture and how it can be harnessed to help you finally extinguish that last cigarette for good.

So, whether you’re a long-time smoker looking for new ways to quit or a health enthusiast curious about innovative wellness strategies, this exploration into the world of acupuncture for smoking cessation is just for you.

Quick facts about Acupuncture to quit smoking

Quick FactsDetails
OriginAcupuncture originated in China over 2,000 years ago.
MethodAcupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin at strategic points on the body.
Theory Behind Use for Smoking CessationThe theory is that acupuncture can help reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms, making it easier to quit smoking.
Areas Targeted for Smoking CessationCommon acupuncture points for smoking cessation include points on the ears, wrists, and hands.
Duration of TreatmentA typical acupuncture treatment for smoking cessation might last from 5 to 30 minutes with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some acupuncturists provide shorter but more frequent treatments, especially in the first couple of weeks.
EffectivenessStudies on the effectiveness of acupuncture for smoking cessation have been mixed. Some studies suggest it can be effective as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Side EffectsAcupuncture is generally safe when done by an experienced, well-trained practitioner using sterile needles. However, minor side effects such as slight bleeding or bruising at needle sites, dizziness, or fainting can occur.
CostThe cost of acupuncture varies depending on location, practitioner, and whether it’s part of a larger treatment program. It may not be covered by insurance.
ConsiderationsSmokers should consider their motivation level, willingness to participate in multiple sessions, and comfort with the procedure. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.

What is Acupuncture? And how it can help you stop smoking

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting very thin needles at strategic points on the body. The practice is based on the belief that this can help balance the flow of energy, or “qi,” through pathways in the body called meridians, leading to improved health and wellness.

When it comes to smoking cessation, acupuncture is thought to help in several ways. First, it’s believed to have a calming effect, reducing the anxiety and stress that often accompany quitting smoking. It can also help manage withdrawal symptoms like irritability, mood swings, and restlessness.

Specific acupuncture points are targeted to help suppress cravings for nicotine. These points are often in the ear, a technique known as auricular acupuncture, but can also include points on the hands and wrists.

While scientific research on acupuncture’s effectiveness for smoking cessation has produced mixed results, some studies suggest it can be beneficial, especially when combined with other quit-smoking strategies such as counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

What is the success rate of Acupuncture to quit smoking?

The success rate of acupuncture for smoking cessation varies across different studies and sources. Here’s a summary of the information gathered:

  • A systematic review found that acupuncture, when combined with auricular acupressure, did not significantly outperform nicotine replacement therapy as a method to quit smoking.
  • According to a study published in the Annals of Translational Medicine, the execution of acupuncture to quit smoking for six weeks produced a success rate of 50.1%.
  • A report on Reuters.com mentioned that only 9% of those who were given acupuncture had quit smoking after six months.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of acupuncture for smoking cessation may depend on various factors, including the individual’s commitment to quitting, the skill of the acupuncturist, and the use of other supporting methods such as counseling or medication.

Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.

How many Acupuncture treatments to quit smoking?

A typical acupuncture stop-smoking program might consist of 1 – 6 treatments scheduled in the first few weeks. This may be followed by occasional monthly treatments if needed.

The pros and cons of Acupuncture for quitting smoking


  1. Natural Method: Acupuncture is a non-pharmaceutical treatment that can help with smoking cessation without the side effects often associated with medications.
  2. Reduces Cravings: Many people report that acupuncture treatments reduce cravings for nicotine, making the process of quitting less difficult (source).
  3. Reduces Withdrawal Symptoms: Acupuncture can help manage withdrawal symptoms like irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating, which are often experienced when quitting smoking (source).
  4. Promotes Relaxation: The treatment is known to promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can be beneficial since stress is a common trigger for smoking.
  5. Improves Overall Health: Acupuncture is known to stimulate the body’s self-healing processes, which can lead to overall improved health and well-being.


  1. Limited Scientific Evidence: While some studies suggest acupuncture can be effective in helping people quit smoking, others have found no significant effect. The scientific evidence is mixed and more high-quality research is needed (source).
  2. Time Commitment: Regular sessions are typically required over several weeks or months, which can be time-consuming.
  3. Cost: Acupuncture treatments can be expensive, especially if they are not covered by health insurance.
  4. Discomfort: Some people may find the insertion of needles uncomfortable, although this sensation is usually mild and temporary.
  5. Not Suitable for Everyone: People with certain health conditions, such as blood clotting disorders, or those who are pregnant, may not be suitable candidates for acupuncture (source).

The History of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. The exact timeline is a topic of debate among historians, but it’s generally believed that the practice began in China around 3000 years ago, with some sources suggesting it may have originated even earlier, during the Neolithic Age (c. 8000-3500 BC).

The first documented description of acupuncture appeared in documents dating back a few hundred years before the Common Era. Around 100 BC, during the publication of “The Inner Classic of Huang Di” (Huangdi Neijing), acupuncture was further detailed and explained (source).

Acupuncture research institutes were established throughout China in the 1950s, leading to the availability of treatment in separate acupuncture departments within Chinese hospitals.

The theory and practice of modern acupuncture were solidified during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) with the publication of “The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion”.

In the West, Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, was first mentioned in literature as early as the 13th century AD. In recent decades, it has been increasingly embraced by Western medicine as a potential treatment for various conditions, including inflammation.

While the practice has evolved over the centuries, the philosophy of acupuncture remains rooted in Taoist tradition, which emphasizes the balance and flow of natural energies within the body.

The 7 health benefits of Acupuncture: Should you give it a try?

  1. Stimulation of the Central Nervous System: Acupuncture is believed to stimulate our central nervous system, leading to the release of chemicals into our muscles, spinal cord, and brain, which may lead to pain relief and a sense of relaxation.
  2. Balancing Life Forces: Known as Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, balancing these life forces could potentially help with various health issues.
  3. Relief from Chronic Pain: Many people have found relief from long-term chronic pain through acupuncture.
  4. Management of Allergic Asthma and Nausea: There is some evidence suggesting that acupuncture can help manage allergic asthma and control nausea and vomiting.
  5. Pain Conditions: Research has shown that acupuncture may be helpful for several pain conditions, including back or neck pain, and knee pain associated with osteoarthritis.
  6. Stimulating the Immune System and Controlling Inflammation: Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate the immune system and control inflammation, which can bring benefits throughout the body.
  7. Faster Healing and Improved Athletic Performance: Some sources suggest that acupuncture can promote faster healing of muscle, bone and joint conditions, reduce inflammation, and improve athletic performance.

Note: Despite these potential benefits, it’s important to note that responses to acupuncture can vary greatly from person to person.

Also read: 6 Best Ways to Flush Out Nicotine Quickly & Naturally

Final Thoughts

The truth is, acupuncture can offer a unique approach to smoking cessation. By tapping into the body’s own self-healing processes and promoting balance and relaxation, it can potentially reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

While it may not be the magic bullet for everyone and more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness, it’s certainly worth considering as part of a comprehensive quit-smoking plan.

Always remember to seek advice from a healthcare professional before embarking on any new treatment. Harness the power of acupuncture and take a step towards a smoke-free life.

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