Does acupuncture serve to stop smoking?

The Acupuncture for smoking cessation Can serve, especially by reducing the withdrawal syndrome, which makes it easier to withstand its symptoms.

The origins of acupuncture are in the Chinese medical tradition, and began to take place about four thousand years ago.

Acupuncture for smoking cessation

The best known technique is carried out using fine needles that are inserted into very specific points of the skin, being stimulated manually.

However, there are now also other variants, such as, for example, that includes stimulation of needles by a current While they are inserted in the body.

Another variant - often used in cases of smoking - is acupressure and consists of exerting pressure without inserting needles, but using granules or Seeds that stick with tape at specific points of the body, especially in the ear - arthritis therapy.

Studies on acupuncture and smoking

In 1972, Dr. En-a Hong Kong neurosurgeon found that acupuncture had therapeutic effects on drug, tobacco, and other addictions.

These findings emerged from a study he conducted with the aim of using acupuncture anesthesia in patients who were to undergo Soon after some surgery.

At the end of the intervention, some of the patients who had some addiction reported a decrease in the desire to consume the substance To which they were addicted.

Following this result, Dr. Wen focused his research on the curative power of acupuncture on addiction to opium already Heroin .

Another important work in relation to smoking was carried out by Lamontage, who separated a sample of patients into three groups:

  • A first group in which Auriculotherapy Acupuncture at specific points of the ear.

  • A second group in which acupuncture was performed throughout the body, seeking relaxation of the patient.

  • A third group that did not receive any treatment - control group.

After two weeks, we found a significant decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked in the first two groups compared to the group control.

However, this difference was not found in the follow-up performed after 2, 3 and 6 months from the end of the intervention, in none of The three groups.

In another interesting study, carried out by Kusumi in 1986, several techniques combined with acupuncture were used to check their effect on Smoking.

For this purpose, 518 chronic smokers who received a therapy with microelectric stimulation, transmitted through ear studs Applied to places where the vagus nerve passes - the impulse is transmitted directly to the brain -. Behavior modification therapy was used Together with this electroacupuncture therapy, so that when the patient tried to smoke or smell a cigarette, the stimulation was transmitted through The inserted needles.

In patients with extreme anxiety, additional medications such as Clonazepam Y Alprazolam .

The results showed that 308 patients completely stopped smoking, 84 reduced the number of cigarettes consumed and 126 did not have one Good response to therapy.

The conclusion of this study to explain cases in which combination therapy had not worked was that the reasons for give up smoking They are Complex, due to the psychological and emotional factors that surround patients.

Does acupuncture really work to stop smoking?

Analyzing the results obtained in the studies that have been carried out to determine the action of acupuncture in smoking cessation, We find that it seems that acupuncture has a beneficial effect for this purpose.

The main goal of acupuncture is to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal, so that it is easier for the person to give up. addiction. This objective is usually fulfilled, although the mechanisms of action that explain the phenomenon Be very clear.

However, it has also been found in repeated research that these are short-term effects, since acupuncture does not show the same Effectiveness by preventing ex-smokers from resuming smoking after 2 or 3 months from the end of treatment.

Therefore, although this technique may be useful in the early stages of smoking cessation, it is recommended to use other types of therapies that help Perpetuate long-term effects.

General recommendations if you want to use acupuncture to quit smoking

If you have decided to quit smoking and are considering acupuncture to make it easier for you, you should consider the following aspects:

  • See a specialist in this alternative technique . Although it is a technique that does not usually produce negative side effects, you should make sure that the person going to Have sufficient training in the field.

  • Do not leave the treatment before the recommended one . If you do not get immediate results and quit treatment, you'll have the feeling that you've wasted time, money, and effort. Without However, if you are patient and confident that you will get positive results, the effectiveness of the technique will be greater.

  • Turn to auriculotherapy if you are reluctant to acupuncture. In the specific case of smoking, we have been using the technique of ariculotherapy - pressure with granules or seeds at points of the ear- With satisfactory results. Therefore, you can consider this variant of acupuncture if you dislike the idea of ​​inserting needles into your body.

  • It combines acupuncture with other techniques to stop smoking. Ultimately, you are the only one responsible for leaving tobacco. Although acupuncture can help you in greater or lesser You must resort to other methods to completely abandon your addiction. Physiological addiction to tobacco is very large - and will be greater The more years you have been smoking - so it may be necessary to consult a specialist who will tell you other methods that can Help you achieve your goal.

What are the bases of acupuncture?

The science or art of acupuncture is based on the theory that there are so-called Xue Or Chinese spots on the skin and, acting on them, Would achieve the therapeutic or anesthetic effect.

These points were delimited after thousands of years of medical experience, passing from one generation to another to complete the entire body map.

According to Chinese medicine , If we raise the arms, the lines of energy would be completely parallel, and distributed from the fingers of the hands To the toes, being distributed all over the surface of the body.

To explain this phenomenon of the energetic lines of the body, the Chinese doctors of the time resorted to the fundamental primary energy, called Qi , Which governs all things.

Within this energy, we can find two identical but opposite forms: The Yang and the Yin.

The first refers to the positive, like the sun, life, day, etc. The Yin, for its part, refers to the negative, such as the moon, the cold or the night.

The lines formed in the body would be composed of both types of energy, alternating the Yin and the Yang and, through the knowledge of the maps that Form, you can perform acupuncture effectively.

In the last 40 years, acupuncture cases among Western physicians have multiplied, increasing the number of translations, reproducing the Techniques and checking the results.

More specifically, it was in the 80's of the last century when acupuncture began to have a growing influence in our country.

Many people who belonged to the health area became involved in the controversy that arose around this technique of alternative medicine: some Criticizing it, others being attracted this the alternative biomedical approach.

However, despite the criticism and rejection, it is undeniable that acupuncture has become a proposal that enjoys a great social The present.

Some of the reasons that explain the growing interest in acupuncture in our society are, among others, the following:

  • Western therapeutic poverty to treat functional (non-lesional) pictures.

  • Efficiency of the procedure in most functional conditions.

  • Easy and simple technique, which does not involve an excessive economic cost.

  • Safety or absence of harmful side effects.

Mechanisms of action of acupuncture

The main therapeutic use of acupuncture is, paradoxically, the relief of pain in different parts of the body.

Some authors have postulated that this technique acts thanks to the placebo effect, which causes in the person the desired effect due to their expectations Of outcome-the patient experiences a decrease in pain or anxiety because he is confident that the technique will work.

However, acupuncture has been carried out in small mammals and even in birds, obtaining an effect similar to that found in humans.

Therefore, it can be affirmed that it is a procedure with certain beneficial effects in the person who receives it.

In recent years, the possibility has been postulated that puncture with the needle causes a chemical-electric stimulus that reaches the centers Nervous marrow and the Encephalon .

There would arise a response mediated by chemical and hormonal neurotransmitters and, through the Autonomous systems Y endocrine , The Processes of relief or healing.

In addition, some theories affirm that the specific points in which the punctures are carried carry the message to specific points of the nervous system Central, which in turn triggers anti-inflammatory effects, analgesics, tranquilizers and moderators on metabolism, such as:

  • Increases Endogenous opioids From proopiomelanocortin.

  • It modifies the secretion of Oxytocin And pituitary sex hormones.

  • It causes sympathetic and parasympathetic stimulation, inhibition or modulation.

However, these explanatory hypotheses have been refuted by other research, according to which acupuncture treatments do not change the Levels of the substances in the organism nor act on the sympathetic nervous system, but their action is limited to the release of Endorphins .

These endorphins would be responsible, in the case of smoking, to help patients quit addiction and Crisis of abstinence .

The future of acupuncture

To ensure that acupuncture remains a useful and reachable alternative in our country, there is a need for Part of those who practice it.

This impulse would be to emphasize practical knowledge, not just the theoretical one.

In fact, the main reason why this alternative medicine has not been well received from the outset in Western society is that It deals with very different cultures.

For example, while Westerners think that the body is a form of energy, Orientals feel that energy.

Moreover, according to some testimonies of Western scholars who visited Taoist teachers, they were not very willing to Knowledge, which has contributed to the lack of sufficient information on acupuncture.

Perhaps, all of these drawbacks have contributed to the fact that the practice of acupuncture in the West has not developed more rapidly and, if we want That in the future has a greater acceptance, we should be more open to the knowledge of a culture that perceives the world in such a way Different from ours.

And has acupuncture helped you to quit smoking?


  1. ESUMEM, F. Considerations for some of the strategies used in tobacco control (1990). Results obtained from the use of combined psychotherapy.
  2. Iglesias, E.B. (2000). Stages of change in smoking behavior: its relevance in the treatment of smokers. Smoking .
  3. Lora G., and Cristina, M. (2010). Effect of acupuncture on the integral management of tobacco addiction. (Doctoral dissertation).
  4. Ortega, M. C. M. H.Effect of PC6 point on cardiovascular variables in non-smoking subjects versus smokers.
  5. Rigoberto, B. R., & Milaila, S. P. (2012, November). 1550-Multicomponent therapy in the treatment of smoking. In Cuba Health 2012 .

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