Quitting smoking: the best thing you can do to improve your health
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several decades, you surely know that smoking is, at best, unhealthy and all too often deadly. If you’re a smoker, quitting is likely to be the single, best thing you possibly can do to improve your health.
If you’re a smoker, you know how difficult it is to break the habit.
Nicotine replacement patches, gums and lozenges, hypnosis, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, controlling blood sugar levels, etc., may make the change easier for some people, but ultimately, studies continue to show that a smoker’s true desire to quit determines success.
For this reason I haven’t (and still can’t) recommend a single procedure that will work 100% of the time for everyone. However, there are some natural and inexpensive methods to try if you’re trying to quit.
Vitamin C Spray
Ascorbic acid spray is simply powdered vitamin C mixed with water in a spray bottle. Research shows this technique can reduce the cravings of cigarettes and help reduce or eliminate the smoking habit.
All you need is a small spray/mister bottle filled with a water and powdered vitamin C solution. Regularly throughout the day, especially when cigarette cravings occur, discharge a couple of squirts into your mouth and throat.
Being an acid, the powdered C definitely needs to be diluted. (Continuous use of a strong acid in this manner could possibly lead to some tooth enamel erosion. Using a totally buffered vitamin C product probably wouldn’t achieve the desired effect, however, since the slight irritation from the acid is what helps curb the habit.)
To determine how much water should be used to dilute the vitamin C, most people simply started experimenting. But start by filling the mister with water. Then count the number of squirts it takes to empty it. Knowing that a level teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder is about 4,500 mg, you can determine how strong you’re making each squirt.
Some companies have been experimenting with vitamin C sprays for this purpose, and it seems the general consensus on strength is around 1 milligram per spray, up to 300 mg a day. This same delivery rate per day (300 mg) would probably be a good starting point.
Two acupressure techniques may also help.
The first acupressure area involves points on the ear that correspond to the lungs and other organs (“auriculo” refers to the ear). In a smoker, where there is obvious irritation in the lungs, these points should be fairly easy to find by pressing a small blunt object (such as the writing tip of a pen that no longer works) in the area until you find the most tender spot.
Keep in mind that all of the points are located on the outside of the ear except the “Subcortex” point, which is located on the inside surface of the ear fold. Once you’ve pinpointed the spots, it helps to have someone else mark them with a ball-point or small felt-tip pen. Here's the map for these points:
Using a pen tip or other small blunt object, press against and massage each of these points for 30 seconds to a minute twice a day. It doesn’t matter which ear you use. The points should also be worked anytime there is a craving to smoke. Gradually, as the urge to smoke decreases, you can taper off the frequency of treatment.
“Seed Embedding” May be More Convenient
However, it’s not always convenient for everyone to massage their ears, and a more convenient method involves seeds. The most common ones used are the seeds of Vaccari segetalis (Wang Bu Liu Zing or in English, cow soapwort), but unless you have a Chinese pharmacy nearby they may be hard to find. While I was in Southeast Asia, I found that either white or black mustard seeds work just as well. These can be found in almost any grocery store.
Take two small pieces of tape (athletic tape works best) and place a seed in the middle of each. Then tape one seed to the Shen Men point on the ear and the other to the Lung point on the wrist (refer to the diagram of points below, under "Wrist Acupressure"). Leave them in place for one week and then replace them. Any time you get a tobacco craving, gently press the “seeded” area.
You only need to use the seeds in one ear (I would suggest the one on the side on which you don’t sleep or use the phone). You can switch ears after the first week if there’s any soreness or irritation. When treating something like smoking, the best results are seen when the points on the ear are under constant treatment. Many acupuncturists use small “clip-on” needles that stay on the ear for days at a time.
When done correctly, seeding is reported to have about an 80% success rate in helping to stop smoking.
The second way you can help curb your smoking habit involves acupuncture points on your wrists. The following three points are stimulated for 30 seconds to a minute twice a day, as well as any time the urge for tobacco arises. It is best to work the points on both wrists. (You also can use your fingertip or a blunt object).
To increase the effectiveness of this method, many people use it in conjunction with seed embedding. A seed is placed over the Shen Men point of one ear, and the point is massaged whenever there is a craving for tobacco.
When you stimulate the points on the wrists, you may notice a slight, temporary tingling, heaviness or numbness in both hands. This is normal and nothing to be alarmed about. Some people have even reported an unusual taste in the mouth.
These techniques are very simple and don’t require any special training or tools. I think you’ll be quite pleased with the results.