Breaking addictions is never easy but with the right mind set and the right tools it can be done. We all know how bad smoking is for our health, Â â€˜Smoking Killsâ€™ is the phrase blazened across packets of cigarettes and there is a lot of information out there about the damage it does to our lungs and the cancer risks, to say nothing of the changes to our skin and facial expressions from smoking. In this monthâ€™s column, three practitioners from Napiers the Herbalists look at how to get to grips with quitting the deadly weed.
Dee Atkinson MNIMH – Medical Herbalist
Pulling together information on the evils of smoking has never been easier. What is still difficult is believing that this information is relevant to you and that you need to act NOW rather than putting it off. I often hear patients say to me Â they are going to stop â€˜next week, or after Christmas. It is always at some point in the future – never Right Now!
As with everything, planning is half the battle. To stop smoking you need to have your weapons in place and to have your mind in the right place. To help with â€˜right thoughtâ€™ try to bring to the front of your mind as much information as possible about the bad effects that smoking has on your body. Down load some information from the internet, contact your GP for some booklets and spend some time reading up about why you shouldnâ€™t smoke. Keep this in a prominent place in your home.
Many people find that now is the time to try either acupuncture or hypnotherapy. Both these practices can be hugely beneficial. They can help with nicotine cravings and help with the side effects of nicotine withdrawal. It can also help to draw up a daily time chart of stopping smoking actions. This should include any appointments with therapists. Try to have a varied routine. If you usually have a cigarette with your coffee at a break at work, decide to have your coffee somewhere where you canâ€™t smoke. Try using exercise and other feel good routines to help feel better about yourself.
A big part of the difficultly in stopping smoking comes from the stress that breaking a long established habit triggers. Try using herbs to support the nervous system such as Napiers Skullcap, Oat and Passionflower. To reduce the nicotine craving use Napiers Chest and Cough Syrup which contains the herb Lobelia . Lobelia will actually cut down nicotine cravings and the chest herbs in the mix will help your lungs to recover.
Lisa Beveridge Bsc – Reflexologist
Reflexology induces a relaxed state, so is beneficial before starting the withdrawal process of stopping smoking. Talking your goals over with your reflexologist may motivate you and prepare you mentally for the task ahead. The hands like the feet represent an entire map of the body – Â when pressure is applied to the reflex points the corresponding body parts can be affected. Your reflexologist can show you the specific areas on your own hands to work on when things get tough. Areas like the respiratory system. The lung reflexes are situated below your fingers and can be palpated towards the webs of the fingers in order to help you to decongest. After a few days of being a non-smoker you will produce lots of phlegm, this helps to get rid of it. Reflexologists will also work the intestinal reflexes to eliminate excess mucous and the liver reflex to help detoxify the body.
The ears are beneficial for helping people quit. The apex of the ear has a soothing analgesic effect whilst the ear shenmen point helps deal with withdrawal symptoms and anxiety.
As an ex smoker myself, my advice would be to seek the advice of a qualified reflexologist for exact location of points for self help and to enjoy a full holistic treatment before you begin your task. Additionally, every time you feel the gasping sensation, take deep breaths, the craving will pass and become less in time. Remember to congratulate yourself every time you do not have that cigarette with that coffee or wine or after you eat. Know that you do not smell like an ashtray and will have more money in your pocket. Keep what money you would have spent on cigarettes in a jar, watch it grow and treat yourself it whilst enjoying a far healthier lifestyle.
Rachael Forrest BA, Dip.Ac., MBAcC – Acupuncture and smoking
First things first, nothing can stop you smoking if you donâ€™t want to. Â Some patients ask â€˜can you make me stop smokingâ€™ and the answer is no. Â What we can do is use acupuncture to assist and support you in giving up. Chinese Medicine has a long tradition (4,000 years) of using tiny â€˜pinsâ€™ at very specific points on the body to manage peopleâ€™s problems and conditions.
From a Chinese Medical point of view, these pins (or needles) access the energy channels which traverse the body like the blood vessels. In modern terms, scientists are equating energy channels with the nervous system and believe that the reactions that people feel from the pins are due to different levels of nerve response. What scientists donâ€™t yet understand is how, for example, very specific points in the feet can help alleviate headaches, or how putting a pin in someoneâ€™s ear can stop cravings for cigarettes.
According to Chinese medicine there are over 500 specific acupuncture points on the body, including the ears, hands and face, and each does a slightly different thing. The 3 year acupuncture training allows us to diagnose your problem and to know exactly which points to use to help you. Â With smoking we use â€˜Lungâ€™ points on the ear and around the wrists to help strengthen your lungs, â€˜Liverâ€™ points on the ear and feet to help relieve stress and â€˜kidneyâ€™ points around the ankles to boost energy levels. All in all we use no more than 10 -12 points each session and for those with needle-phobia we keep the needles as few as possible (as few as 3).
Each patient is different. Â Some stop smoking after one treatment and others may need 5 or more but each treatment should result in a step towards your goal of becoming a non-smoker.
To make an appointment with Dee, Lisa or Rachael call Napiers in Edinburgh or Glasgow on 0131 315 2130. You can also log on to www.napiers.net