Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation

Acupuncture to quit smoking

Acupuncture for smoking cessation is another effective way of treatment for people who wish to quit smoking.

It is best when combined with other treatment modalities like Hypnotherapy, Meditation, and medications.

Smoking is the leading factor causing lung cancer globally. More and more teenagers are engaging in this habit, which can cause them addiction beyond imagination.

Quitting this habit can be better for the individual and the environment around him. As the harm of second-hand smoking is known, third-hand smoking can be just as detrimental.

So, a smoker has infinite reasons to quit and no reason to continue smoking. But cessation is not easy; as said, it requires complete commitment and therapy to control withdrawal symptoms.

With so many options available, a recent study conducted a survey and concluded that patients were showing more interest in acupuncture therapy for smoking cessation. [ref]


What is Acupuncture Therapy?

In this treatment, some needles are inserted into certain points of your body. These specific points are known to be connected to pathways called meridians through which vital energy flows.

In Chinese traditional methods, this energy is termed ‘qi.’ This intervention tries to balance the flow of qi to restore health.

During this treatment, a professional will insert said needles, and you will feel a tingling sensation or dull ache.

The needles are kept there for 15 to 30 minutes. Some people find this process relaxing and even doze off, while for others, it becomes uncomfortable.

As mentioned, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. This methodology is adopted globally now.

It can relieve pain, and stress, and treat a number of health conditions like headaches or back pain.


How Can Acupuncture Therapy Help with Smoking Cessation?

Even though acupuncture is not an immediate solution, it can work to relax and reduce withdrawal symptoms in a lot of smokers.

You will experience better results if you couple this therapy with counseling, medication, yoga, and meditation. Most professionals will suggest two sessions per week before you see any difference.

The number of sessions depends on how long you have been a smoker and how many cigarettes you smoke per day.

A study evaluated 24 RCTs on acupuncture for smoking cessation from 1983 to 2013. The results showed high short-term quitting rates and reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day. However, it did not significantly improve long-term quitting rates. [ref]


Acupuncture Points for Smoking Cessation

Acupuncture for smoking cessation quitting smoking points

The most common acupuncture points are given below: [ref]

  • Yinxiang (LI-20):

Located bilaterally in the nasolabial groove near the nostrils.

  • Hegu (LI-4):

Located on the dorsum of the hand, between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones, in the middle of the 2nd metacarpal bone, at the highest spot of the muscle when the thumb and index finger are brought close together.

  • Zhusanli (ST-36):

Located on the anterior aspect of the lower leg, three cun below the lower border of the patella, one finger-breadth lateral to the anterior crest of the tibia.

  • Lieque (LU-7):

Located on the radial aspect of the forearm, about 1.5 cun above the transverse crease of the wrist, between the tendons of the brachioradialis and abductor pollicis longus muscles.

  • Feishu (BL-13):

Located on the back, 1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 3rd thoracic vertebra (T3).

  • Weishu (BL-21):

Located on the back, 1.5 cun lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of the 12th thoracic vertebra (T12).


Does Acupuncture Therapy Work After 30 Years?

Quitting early is always better, but if you are quitting later, it’s still not too late.

When you quit smoking at any age, your lungs will be saved from further damage. The question here is, can we repair the 30 years’ worth of damage?

If you were a smoker for 30 years, it would take you more time than others to heal your lungs. In this case, your alveoli won’t be able to regenerate or repair, resulting in permanent damage.

But the silver lining here is that any ongoing harm is immediately halted. So, conditions like COPD will not be a risk anymore, and lung cancer is easily avoided, too.

What matters is how long you refrain from smoking. Once your lungs start healing, it is better to stay away from cigarettes and let the body restore.

These are some immediate benefits that you will experience after quitting:

  • Your blood circulation will improve
  • Carbon monoxide levels will return to normal.
  • The cilia will recover to remove mucus from the lungs and prevent infections.

What is better for smoking cessation: Hypnosis or Acupuncture?

Both hypnosis and acupuncture are effective in helping you quit the habit, but which one is better? Research has also asked physicians to recommend such therapies to smokers as they cause cessation in both long and short terms. [ref]

Here is a side-by-side comparison of both techniques.




TechniqueInduces a state of hypnosis like you are daydreaming.Special needles are inserted into certain points on the body.
MechanismYour subconsciousness is reprogrammed into believing that smoking is toxic.It aims to balance the flow of qi and stimulate the release of endorphins.
PractitionerTrained hypnotherapistLicensed acupuncturist
DurationAround 60 minutes30-45 minutes
SessionsOne can be enough2 sessions per week
Side effectsMinimalMinor discomfort
Cost75$ to 125$80$ to 112$
EffectivenessIt is more effective in one session, evenTakes more sessions to show good results

So In Conclusion;

It depends on your preferences and what you are more comfortable with. However, we suggest hypnotherapy for dealing with withdrawal symptoms as it has shown more effects than acupuncture therapy.

Also, patients only go through 1-3 sessions of hypnotherapy and experience a long-term cessation.

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

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