Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation
Experience Smoking Cessation with the Power of Acupuncture
Achieve a Smoke-Free Life, Naturally and Effectively
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The Science Behind Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation
Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique that has been used for centuries to alleviate pain and promote overall well-being. By targeting specific acupoints on the body, practitioners are able to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and reduce pain. Both manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA) have been shown to be effective in managing pain through various mechanisms, including the modulation of neurotransmitters and inflammatory factors.
Auricular Acupuncture, Education, and Smoking Cessation: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled Trial
This study published in the American Journal of Public Health investigated the effects of acupuncture, both alone and combined with education, on smoking cessation and cigarette consumption. The research involved 141 adults and used acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and education in a quasi-factorial design. A random-number table was used for patient randomization, carried out by a research associate who was blind to the treatment assignment.
All groups experienced significant reductions in smoking and posttreatment cigarette consumption, with the greatest effect seen in the combined acupuncture-education group. However, significant differences were not maintained in follow-ups. A higher pack-year history negatively correlated with treatment effect, with a trend suggesting 20 pack-years as the cutoff point.
Patients in the true acupuncture group received treatment at five ear points (Shen Men, Sympathetic, Lung, Kidney, and Liver) and one wrist point (LI-4 or Hegu). Those in the sham acupuncture group received treatment at ear and wrist points located within 5 mm of the true points but not on active acupuncture points. This approach minimized differences in appearance between the true and sham point groups, ensuring that participants remained unaware of their treatment group assignment.
The number of participants who quit smoking immediately after treatment differed among the groups. The combination of acupuncture and education had a 40% cessation rate, almost twice the rate of education and sham acupuncture (22%) and four times the rate of acupuncture alone (10%).
The treatment effect trend persisted in the combined group over the 18-month follow-up period; however, the differences between groups became nonsignificant due to the small sample size caused by dropout. No adverse effects of acupuncture treatment were noted except for infrequent minor bleeding upon needle removal.
A word on sham acupuncture
In the majority of these research, sham acupuncture uses points that are either not actual acupuncture points or are not supposed to work for the illness being treated. This means that even if your acupuncturist uses wrong points or completely misses them, you will most likely benefit from the session.
A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Auricular Acupuncture in Smoking Cessation
This randomized, controlled trial published in the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association investigated the efficacy of auricular acupuncture for smoking cessation in 131 adults who wanted to stop smoking. Participants were divided into a treatment group receiving acupuncture at smoking-cessation-related points and a control group receiving sham acupuncture at non-smoking-cessation-related points for 8 weeks.
At the end of the treatment, both groups showed a significant decrease in cigarette consumption, but only the treatment group experienced a significant decrease in nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Smoking cessation rates showed no significant difference between the treatment (27.1%) and control (20.3%) groups at the end of the treatment or at the end of the 6-month follow-up.
The study concluded that auricular acupuncture did not have better efficacy than sham acupuncture for smoking cessation and suggested combining acupuncture with behavior counseling or nicotine replacement therapy to enhance success rates.
Note about sham acupuncture
In most of these studies sham acupuncture uses points that are either not true acupuncture points or they use points that are not supposed to work for the given condition that they are treating. This means that even with the worst acupuncturist, that uses either incorrect points or misses them altogether, that you will most likely derive benefit from the session.
Acupuncture attenuates autonomic responses to smoking-related visual cues
This study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine aimed to determine if acupuncture could help reduce cigarette withdrawal symptoms and lessen the body’s response to smoking-related cues in smokers. The researchers divided the participants into two groups: one group received real acupuncture (RA) at a specific point, and the other group received sham acupuncture (SA) at a different point.
On the third day after quitting smoking, the participants’ cigarette withdrawal symptoms were measured using a scale called the Cigarette Withdrawal Scale (CWS). The researchers also compared the participants’ heart rate variability (HRV) while they were shown neutral and smoking-related images.
The results showed that the real acupuncture group had significantly lower withdrawal symptoms than the sham acupuncture group. The real acupuncture group also had a smaller increase in their heart rate variability when exposed to smoking-related images compared to the sham acupuncture group. This means that acupuncture not only reduced cigarette withdrawal symptoms but also weakened the body’s response to smoking cues during withdrawal.
In conclusion, these findings suggest that acupuncture might help people quit smoking by reducing withdrawal symptoms and weakening the body’s response to smoking-related cues.
Painless Laser Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation
This study published in Medical Acupuncture aimed to explore the effects of painless laser acupuncture (PLA) on a group of highly motivated individuals who wanted to quit smoking. Painless laser acupuncture is a technique where low-level laser energy is applied to specific ear and body acupuncture points to support the body’s balance and overall well-being.
The study included 175 participants, mostly in their early 30s to 50s, who were highly motivated and stressed. Most of them smoked 1 pack of cigarettes (20 cigarettes) per day, with a few smoking more than 1 pack per day. They received PLA treatment in a total of 7 sessions.
The results showed that the patients were generally satisfied with the treatment. Among the 24 female participants, 21 (87.5%) stopped smoking after completing the 7 sessions. Two women reported that they smoked 1-2 cigarettes per day, even though they didn’t have strong cravings, and one woman (4.12%) smoked 2-3 cigarettes per day.
In conclusion, the PLA technique for quitting smoking, combined with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, not only helps smokers stop smoking but also restores their balance and good health. By choosing the best ear and body acupuncture points and applying the right amount of laser energy, the healing process can be enhanced.
Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy for Smoking Cessation
The following information comes from the book Acupuncture Therapy for Neurological Diseases
Change in Taste and Mouth Environment
Acupuncture may help people quit smoking by changing their sense of taste. Long-term smokers often have an increased tolerance for bitter tastes. After acupuncture treatment, some smokers report that cigarettes taste different, such as bitter, tasteless, or even sweet, leading to a reduced desire to smoke. Acupuncture may also help by changing the pH levels in the mouth, throat, and stomach. Some research even shows that after acupuncture for smoking cessation it caused patients to feel dizzy and cough more when they started to smoke again.
Impact on Neuroendocrinology
Acupuncture could help with smoking cessation by regulating hormone levels and the nervous system. Smokers often have increased levels of certain hormones and neurotransmitters, adrenaline, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, noradrenalin, dioxyphenylalanine, and dopamine. Acupuncture treatment has been shown to decrease these levels, potentially reducing cravings for nicotine.
Improved Cardiorespiratory Function
Acupuncture may also benefit smokers by improving their heart and lung function. One study found that blood flow to the lungs increased after acupuncture treatment, allowing more oxygen to reach lung tissues. Acupuncture has also been suggested to counteract some of the negative effects of nicotine on red blood cells, potentially helping with smoking cessation.
Acupuncture vs. Other Treatments for Tobacco Cessation in Chinese Population
A multi-center randomized trial published in the journal Chest was conducted in China to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture, auricular point pressing, and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for tobacco cessation. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups for eight weeks, with a follow-up visit at 16 weeks. The primary outcome was carbon monoxide (CO)-confirmed 24-hour point abstinence rate at 24 weeks after quitting.
Out of 300 participants, 195 completed the study with a dropout rate of 35%. At 24 weeks, the CO-confirmed 24-hour point abstinence rate was 43% in the acupuncture group, similar to the 44% in the NRT group, but significantly higher than the 30% in the auricular point group. Additionally, the acupuncture group had significantly lower nicotine dependence and withdrawal scores compared to the other two groups. Time to relapse for acupuncture (44.12 days) was longer than NRT (41.18 days) and significantly longer than auricular point pressing (29.53 days).
The Benefits of Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation
Acupuncture may help reduce nicotine cravings by regulating hormone levels and the nervous system, making it easier for smokers to quit.
Altered taste perception
Acupuncture can change a smoker’s sense of taste, making cigarettes taste less appealing, which may lead to a reduced desire to smoke.
Reduced withdrawal symptoms
Acupuncture can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and anxiety, making the quitting process more manageable.
Enhanced cardiorespiratory function
Acupuncture has been shown to improve heart and lung function in smokers, which can contribute to better overall health and well-being during the quitting process.
How we Achieve 0ur Results with Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation
The Subtle Point recognizes that each person’s smoking history is unique. We provide customized care that meets your needs and goals. To give long-term relief and wellness, our acupuncture treatments address both your smoking cravings and withdrawals, as well as addressing any other health issues you may be experiencing.
Having a solid support network is crucial during your journey to stop smoking. Throughout your treatments here, our dedicated team is available to assist, answer questions, and address your concerns. We provide a friendly and supportive environment in which to alleviate your cravings and address your other health concerns.
When it comes to managing cigarette cravings, we realize that certain patients may be suffering from food-related triggers. To address this we will strive to help you to eliminate any food triggers and recommend alternatives and steps so that you will not have a food related relapse.
We know that lifestyle factors can influence smoking. We help our patients identify and change lifestyle choices that may trigger the urge to smoke. Mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, a consistent sleep schedule, temporarily avoiding other smokers, and moderate physical activity may be suggested.
At The Subtle Point, we understand that trying something new, especially when it comes to your health, can be a big decision. That’s why we’re pleased to offer free consultations at our Denver clinic for new clients interested in exploring the benefits of acupuncture and our other services.
During your free consultation, you can expect:
- A welcoming and judgment-free environment: We believe in providing a safe and supportive space for you to explore your options and make informed decisions about your health and well-being.
- One-on-one discussion: Our experienced practitioners will sit down with you to discuss your health concerns, answer any questions you may have, and help you determine if acupuncture is the right fit for your needs.
- Personalized treatment plan: If you decide to move forward with treatment, we’ll work together to create a customized plan tailored to your specific goals and concerns.
Taking the first step towards better health has never been easier or more accessible. Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at (720)285-6251 or booking online. Discover how The Subtle Point can help you unlock your body’s natural healing potential and guide you on your path to wellness.
What to Expect from Your First Acupuncture Treatment for Smoking Cessation
Comprehensive Health Assessment
Our skilled practitioners will discuss your medical and smoking history, smoking triggers, lifestyle, and other health concerns during your initial consultation to determine your goals. Based on the findings of this evaluation, they will make a diagnosis and suggest a specific treatment plan.
Acupuncture and Electrostimulation
During your acupuncture session, you’ll lie back comfortably on a treatment table as the practitioner inserts thin, sterilized needles into specific points on your body for smoking cessation and withdrawal symptoms. The needles may create a tiny pinch as they are inserted, but the operation is normally painless. We will leave you to relax for 20-30 minutes after the needles have been inserted.
Aftercare and Followup Treatments
Following your treatment, your practitioner will assign you lifestyle, dietary, and at-home care homework. They will also discuss the frequency of follow-up appointments based on your needs. The frequency of your follow-up meetings will be determined by your needs, smoking history, and reaction to the treatment.
Seek Additional Care and Nicotine Replacement
We suggest that our patients reach out to the Colorado Quit Line for additional help with free nicotine replacement products and coaching. Many of the studies show that acupuncture works best along side health coaching or therapy, and nicotine replacement products.
Some of our Patient Testimonials
"Michael is a true healthcare practitioner! His research went above and beyond, and his dedication to treating the whole person as well as the etiology of the presentation was paramount! He even did research to help my son, who at the time, was a peripheral patient but I digress... I went to Michael with the hope of simple pain mitigation. After months of consistent acupuncture, herbal and light therapy, as well as supplements to address deficiencies, I have gone from relatively hopeless to incredibly hopeful, as the pain is almost gone. Michael addresses the root cause of the issue, and for me, helped to create an environment that was tolerable until true health was achieved. You are not going to get this kind of dedication and in depth research for your individual health issue from many practitioners... especially those who are hamstrung to disease management. Like I said before, Michael's work is true healthcare!"
– Erin VanGilder
“I went to Mike for my intro session today and I’m so glad I did! His treatment options are integrated and I can honestly say I feel better right now than I have in a while. I highly recommend that if you are thinking of trying something like acupuncture you should definitely go here! Plus he literally spent so much time helping me and listening. He even sent me my requested recommendations for a few things right away like he said afterwards! I look forward to my journey to health through this proven modality(s)!"
– Christin Daniels
“Mike is amazing! He reduced my chronic migraines to almost none. He is very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. I highly recommend!"
– Kelsey Briding
I highly recommend The Subtle Point as Mike, the acupuncturist, is very professional and is an extremely knowledgeable treatment provider. I could not be happier with my treatments from acupuncture to dry needling and even fire cupping; it all left me feeling amazing. Every issue I had was addressed with care. I really like his office as it is a very relaxing environment. I recommend The Subtle Point to everyone I know.
I highly recommend Subtle Point, I was in a lot of pain from my flight over to Denver. They took good care of me and were incredibly welcoming. I'd give them 10 stars!
I highly recommend The Subtle Point and acupuncturist Mike! The pricing is very fair, the environment is elegant yet welcoming-a very relaxing atmosphere and a great escape from the bustle of the city-and Mike is a warm and extremely knowledgeable treatment provider happy to tailor your experience to your desires. I would definitely suggest trying out the fire cupping: it felt amazing! I will return to The Subtle Point!
Mike is an incredibly intelligent and skilled healer. The acupuncture treatments have helped decrease my pain so much. He listens and takes the time to really address your issue. Thankful for this place!
I got my neck cranked pretty hard in jiu jitsu a couple months ago and had some pretty bad nerve issues/pain around the neck and shoulder. I decided to visit Mike at The Subtle Point to give acupuncture a try to see if it might help. After a few sessions I started to feel way better and actually started to heal. I also got some cupping done which helped with some muscle soreness as well. It was amazingly relaxing and after a few sessions the pain was gone. Not sure why I waited this long in life to try it, definitely helped the healing process for me and Mike was great to work with.
Mike is experienced and knowledgeable of accupuncture practice. His prices are affordable and he is professional but very welcoming and friendly. This has to be one of the best accupuncturist that I have seen. Anyone in the colorado area should definitely stop by at subtle points. It is definitely a great experience and life changing. He specializes in all area but mostly with chronic pain, anxiety and stress. Look no further this will be one of your favorite places to go to.
I had cupping and acupuncture, AMAZING! Can’t wait for my next treatment. Mike is nice and very knowledgeable. Highly recommended.
Left feeling amazing and pain free, great facility!
Thank you Dr. Sugiura! Great treatment + Clean Clinic (Cool lemon tree btw). Went back to work right after without the muscle pain so that was a huge difference. Right place right time for that discount. Thanks again for the advice and will definitely follow-up during my weight training. I won't be lifting that way again hahaha no more Boulder lifting for a while!
Great place. Highly recommend it! He is very professional, knows what he is doing, and charges a very fair price. My back and leg feel great!
Mike was great! Cupping helped loosen all the tension in my back. Great first experience for my bf as well. Thank you!
Awesome experience .....knowledgeable clean and thorough process.
He took the time to hear what I needed. Explained everything he did before he did it. Felt comfortable! Excited for my next appointment!
Great treatment, very professional and kind! Definitely would go back
Mike was great! You can really tell he cares about what he does and wants to help people feel better. He has great bed side manor and explains everything he does in detail along with recommending supplements. Definitely will be coming back!
Excellent highly recommend I’m going back as Often as possible!
I cannot recommend this place enough! I was always hesitant to try acupuncture because I didn't if it would help my back pain or not. I am so glad I had my first experience at Subtle Point with Micheal. It was easy to get scheduled. Mike took his time and made me feel very comfortable. He is very knowledgeable and alleviated my pain. I can't wait to go back!
Mike did a great job! I suffer from chronic pain and I didn’t know I could feel such relief. I left completely relaxed and shocked at how low my pain level was. He explained everything he was doing and made the session very comfortable. Basically he’s just good at what he does and I would recommend him to anyone.
Mike is a great professional. He explained every step of the process. The clinic is very clean and well equipped. I'll definitely be back.
Mike is very professional and knowledgeable. He did acupuncture for my hernia and it is much smaller now. He also suggested some herbs to improve digestion. I also had some main in my arm and it's gone after gua sha treatment. Me and my wife (she did some treatments as well) both feel much better.
I’ve always been super tight in my lower back, after just my first cupping session I could feel the major difference from before the session. I will definitely be making this a regular appointment.
Dr. Michael was fantastic, he was extremely professional and detailed. He was interested in my pain issues and did a great job of getting me on the mend! I will definitely be back!
Over 290 5 Star Reviews
40 Five Star Reviews
Great experience. I do the 90 minute acupuncture and cupping combo. I usually go in with moderate to severe back pain and leave pain free. Mike does a great job explaining things…
– Emily L.
247 Five Star Reviews
Wonderful experience! Mike was amazing and truly cares about your health and healing. He offered lots of time to ask questions and discuss my issues. He also offered great sugges…
8 Five Star Reviews
Michael is very knowledgeable..I’m a very hardworking Hair Stylist and since he has been treating my aching back I feel 20years Younger and so much out of pain.
– Nikki Sanchez
Initial Acupuncture Treatment
The initial exam and treatment lasts approximately 60 minutes. During this visit we will go through your health history, conduct a physical exam consisting of tongue and pulse diagnosis, and examination of any and all areas of pain or discomfort. After the exam we will move into the treatment phase. The initial treatment is meant to address your presenting symptoms, promote relaxation, and lower your stress. Follow-up treatments are aimed to address the underlying root of your problem.
30 Minute Acupuncture
Our half hour acupuncture will be tailored to your specific area of complaint to work at the root of the problem. Because of the short duration of these treatments, cupping and tuina can not be incorporated.
60 Minute Acupuncture
During your hour long follow-up we will tailor your acupuncture treatment to your specific area of complaint. We will work on treating the root of the complaint as well as any accompanying symptoms. These sessions can also include the following modalities: cupping, tuina, herbal or supplement recommendations, diet tips, photobiomodulation, electrical stimulation, or lifestyle advice.
The Subtle Point Blog for Smoking Cessation and Acupuncture
Frequently Asked Questions
Does acupuncture Hurt?
Acupuncture uses needles that are significantly smaller than any syringe that a doctor would normally use. The sensation has been said to be comparable to a bug bite or a pinch, but often most people do not feel anything at all. Certain points are very tender to needle, and we try to avoid these points unless they are absolutely necessary. If you are sensitive to the needles we will adjust your treatment accordingly so that we can help you achieve your health goals in alignment with your comfort.
How Many treatments does it take?
The number of treatments that it takes to treat any given condition is based on a great number of factors. Some of these factors can include: how long you have had said condition, age, dietary and lifestyle factors, willingness to perform self care at home, etc. It would also be safe to say that this medicine isn’t magic and no condition will be fully resolved after one treatment. However with that being said, many patients often leave the office with less pain than they started with and feeling more relaxed.
How long is each treatment?
At The Subtle Point, we offer a variety of services that can run from 5 minutes to as long as an hour. Initial appointments, however, are one hour long. During that appointment we will go over your health intake form, go over the estimated amount of treatments that will get you to your optimal health, go over the treatment methods that will be utilized, herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle advice, and more.
Do i need to disrobe for my treatment?
For the most part, no you don’t. I typically try and utilize points below the elbows and knees, sometimes around the belly, and sometimes on the back. Because of this I highly recommend that you come in wearing loose, comfortable clothing to allow easy access to these areas.
How can I schedule an appointment?
To schedule an appointment you can call, send us an email, or book online by clicking on the “Book Now” button in the upper right portion of the screen.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, check, and credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).
Do you accept insurance?
At this time I am not accepting insurance, but I can give you an invoice/superbill to give to your insurance company for reimbursement.
3600 South Beeler Street Suite 150 Denver, CO 80237
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment please click the link below or call (720) 285-6251
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am - 8pm Saturday: 10am - 7pm