Weight loss & Quit Smoking

Smoking Cessation and TCM

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs

Acupuncture is successful with smoking cessation and has turned a growing number of cigarette smokers into permanent ex-smokers. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and aim at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health. The acupuncture treatments focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness; all symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification. Chinese medicine is also used to help us adapt to stressful situations so that we do not feel the urge to resort to smoking while trying to quit. Adaptogenic herbs actually lessen our reaction to stressors.

It typically takes several treatments per week for a month or more to successfully quit smoking through auricular ear acupuncture.

Acupuncture needles used are hair-thin. They are superficially inserted into various points in the ears and body to assist with smoking cessation. When a cigarette craving hits, patients gently pressing on the pellets stimulates the acupuncture points to calm the mind and eliminate the craving.

Acupuncture is not a magic cure in the treatment of any addiction, including smoking. But, acupuncture is effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke-free for good.

If you have attempted to quit smoking, you know how difficult it can be. Nicotine is a powerful addiction. In fact, research suggests that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. It is estimated that most smokers will attempt to quit two or three times, or more, before finally kicking the habit. When conventional methods to quit smoking have failed, smokers often look outside mainstream approaches and turn to alternative medicine.

Acupuncture as an alternative approach to smoking cessation has a growing number of converts. In fact, acupuncture is often a court-mandated treatment for drug addicts because of its ability to reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.  Worldwide statistics show that one out of three people over the age of 18 are smokers.

Why Quit Smoking?

The reasons to quit smoking are endless. Cigarettes have 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known carcinogenic compounds and 400 other toxins. These include nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide, as well as formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic and DDT. According to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco is the cause of 443,000 premature deaths each year, and is associated with emphysema, lung cancer, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, chronic cough, impaired blood circulation, and an increase in frequency of colds and flu.

Many people want to quit because of the enormous expense of a cigarette habit or are just plain tired of being dependent on a substance. There is also considerable social pressure not to smoke. Most smokers can recall a dirty look or rude comment from someone that was nearby when they lit up, and the social pressure is increasing in the states with bans of smoking in areas, not only indoors, but in public parks and outdoor spaces also.

Weight Loss and TCM

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), obesity is considered an excess accumulation of Dampness in the body. Qi Deficiency and Yang Deficiency have an impact on the Spleen and Kidney functions to metabolize water according to TCM; these leads to Internal Damp accumulation. Liver Qi Stagnation with emotional disturbances or stress can also cause Qi Stagnation and accumulation of Dampness.

Spleen Qi Deficiency and Weight Loss

Qi deficiency and Damp accumulation are due to Spleen’s inability to transport water. Spleen controls the muscles and deficiency will lead to flaccid muscle tones. Feeling of heaviness is the combination of weakness of the muscles together with accumulation of Dampness.

Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling of heaviness in the body – This is indicative of Internal Dampness.
  • Fatigue – Spleen’s inability to transform food into Qi energy results in low energy.
  • Perspiration – Perspiring without physical excursion is due to the body’s inability to control the opening and closing of the pores because of Qi Deficiency.

People that tend to gain weight even with little food intake would fall under this pattern. This is attributed to over accumulation of Dampness and fluids in the body interfering with metabolism.

Kidney Yang Deficiency and Weight Loss

In the Yin Yang theory of Chinese medicine, Yang energies are the warming qualities of the body. Possible indications of Kidney Yang Deficiency:

  • Oedema
  • Clear urine
  • Lower back pain
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Coldness of the arms and legs

Kidney Yang Deficiency is the primary cause of Dampness accumulation in the body as it cannot warm up the Spleen Yang so that it can properly transform and transport fluids.

Liver Qi Stagnation

Liver Qi Stagnation and Blood Stagnation blocks the activities of the Spleen to metabolize and
transport water freely in the body. As a result, Internal Dampness accumulates. Symptoms of Liver constraints include:

  • Headache
  • Tightness of the shoulder and neck
  • Rib tenderness and distension
  • Irritability, short temper

Stomach Heat and Weight Loss

Prolonged Liver Qi constraints that are left untreated for an extended period of time can lead to Liver Yang rising associated with excess heat in the body. This heat can consume Yin and lead to Stomach Yin Deficiency with symptoms of hunger sensations, food cravings, or sweet cravings frequently throughout the day, even shortly after eating. Other indications of Stomach Heat would include:

  • Strong hunger
  • Foul breath
  • Thirst
  • Constipation with dry stools

Hormonal Imbalances Leading to Weight Gain

Many women experience weight gain as part of their PMS symptoms, or during menopause. In Chinese medical theory, there is no endocrine system technically. However, TCM is excellent at addressing all types of hormonal imbalances including peri-menopausal symptoms, PMS, infertility, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and PCOS. When hormonal imbalances are treated with Chinese medicine, Liver imbalances and Kidney Deficiency are central and addressed as described above.

The following are important factors causing obesity according to Chinese medicine:

  1. Ancestral Qi or a familial disposition to weight gain issues: This is often a genetic disposition to Spleen Deficiency or Kidney Deficiency.
  2. Improper Dietary Habits: Those who eat a lot of greasy or fatty foods, sweets, or refined foods are likely to accumulate Dampness in the body.
  3. Spleen or Kidney Deficiency: These two organs are directly responsible for metabolizing water in the body. When either or both the organs are impaired or deficient, Internal Dampness can accumulate in the body.
  4. Emotional Factors: Prolonged emotional constraints, unresolved anger, and stress create Liver Qi Stagnation obstructing Qi flow in the body and create stagnation, which impairs the Spleen and Kidney’s functions to transport and dispel water. Dampness accumulates as a result.

Lack of Exercise: Insufficient movement of the body leads to Qi Stagnation and Blood Stagnation, which results in Damp accumulation.