Should you try using acupuncture and hypnosis to quit smoking?

Alternative methods are being touted again as a means to quit smoking.

Want to quit smoking ? Try acupuncture or hypnosis

Acupuncture and hypnosis have been promoted as drug-free ways to help smokers kick the habit, and there is some evidence that they work, according to a research review that looked at 14 international studies.

Researchers, whose findings appeared in the American Journal of Medicine, said that there are still plenty of questions, including exactly how effective alternative therapies might be and how they measure up against conventional methods to quit smoking.

Researchers found that some studies showed that smokers subjected to acupuncture were more than three times as likely to be tobacco-free six months to a year later.

Similarly, across four trials of hypnosis, smokers had a higher success rate with the therapy compared to people who had minimal help.There are still definitely questions, he added, about how many sessions of acupuncture or hypnosis might be necessary, or which specific techniques are best.

Other research reviews, though, have concluded that the jury is still out on alternative therapies for quitting smoking.

Source: Yahoo News

What is it about acupuncture? Does it work or not? It hasn’t been shown to really work to help stop smoking any more than placebo. A Cochrane review of many studies showed the following:

The review did not find consistent evidence that active acupuncture or related techniques increased the number of people who could successfully quit smoking. However, acupuncture may be better than doing nothing, at least in the short term; and there is not enough evidence to dismiss the possibility that acupuncture might have an effect greater than placebo.

As for hypnosis, it can be a means for self regulation and help with your sense of control. It can bring your mind to a more relaxed state in which you can overcome your cravings. The Cochrane review also looked at this:

Different types of hypnotherapy are used to try and help people quit smoking. Some methods try to weaken people’s desire to smoke, strengthen their will to quit, or help them concentrate on a ‘quit programme’. Trials have used different types and amounts of hypnotherapy and compared them with different control conditions, including no treatment, brief advice, or smoking cessation counselling. Although it is possible that hypnotherapy could be as effective as counselling treatment there is not enough good evidence to be certain of this.

So, in both cases, we see that neither has REALLY been shown to be beneficial. You can select certain studies that show more positive results than others. But in the end, neither method really appears to work better than placebo for now. I don’t agree that the main question is how many session you need. The bottom line is –  a person needs to have a PERSONAL motivation to quit. There can be outside aids but desire has to come from within.

  1 comment for “Should you try using acupuncture and hypnosis to quit smoking?

  1. Fastmover01
    May 9, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Yeah both of my parents went to a hypnotherapist in the 80’s to stop smoking. After 3 sessions my dad quit completely he said with very few cravings. My mom however only lasted about a month acontinued for a few more years until that gum came out. I have always been told that hypnosis generally cannot force soemone to do something they don’t want to. Maybe she wasn’t really ready.

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