Acupuncture for addictions ( smoking , alcohol ,obesity …)
Research on How can Acupuncture Aid in Weight Loss and Stop Smoking
While acupuncture itself is more than 2,000 years old, the use of acupuncture to reduce physical cravings is a fairly recent development. In the early 1970s, Dr. H. L. Wen, a neurosurgeon in Hong Kong, was studying the effects of acupuncture on post-surgical pain. Coincidentally, he found that stimulation of certain points on the ear dramatically relieved withdrawal symptoms in one of his patients who was a long-term heroin user.
After learning about Dr. Wen’s discovery, the Lincoln Center in the South Bronx and the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic in San Francisco began using acupuncture as part of their standard treatment for addiction.
Following the success of these two treatment facilities, the technique was further developed and eventually became known as the “Five Needle Protocol,” referring to the five main points used in the ear. In 1985, Michael O. Smith, M.D., founded the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) in order to promote the use of this protocol as a cost effective treatment for drug and alcohol users.
More recently, acupuncturists in clinical settings have been using the same protocol to treat a wider variety of addictive behaviors. Whether the addiction is of a physical or so-called psychological nature, there are certain common behavioral and biological mechanisms at work.
For patients who are otherwise healthy, but want to stop smoking or lose weight, the Five Needle Protocol works equally well to stop the cravings and reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.
How Acupuncture Works to Reduce Cravings
Exactly how acupuncture works to reduce cravings is still under study. But it appears that stimulation of certain points in the ear has a direct influence on the brain to calm the nervous system and break the neuro-biological connections between the substance and the behavior. The result is like pushing the restart button on a computer. The person gets a break from the constant craving and experiences greater freedom to establish a new behavior pattern.
In the Five Needle Protocol, the five basic points are used with other key points to direct the emphasis of the treatment. For example, for appetite control or food cravings, there is a special point that dramatically stops the craving for oral sensation, which helps to make the treatment more profound and longer lasting. Likewise, for smoking cessation, there is a special point that reduces the craving for sensations in the lungs and nasal cavity.
Other ways Acupuncture aids in Fighting Addiction
The effect of acupuncture on a client’s emotions also plays an important role in aiding weight loss, stop smoking and alcohol. Acupuncture affects the neuroendocrine system by blocking harmful neurochemicals to restore the natural balance of hormones and neurotransmitter levels. The resulting release of endorphins helps to reduce stress, which in turn helps to prevent the urge to overeat.
It is important to note that acupuncture treatments must be administered by a qualified acupuncturist. In order to see results, these treatments should be combined with a reduced calorie diet ,appropriate physical exercise and psychological help.
Acupuncture for addiction is not a magic bullet. Several follow-up treatments may be required during the withdrawal period. It is not a substitute for the desire and focus needed to change a well-established habit pattern. Nevertheless, over the course of several months, acupuncture can provide the extra support people often need to make important and life-saving changes in their lives.