When counseling individuals about methods to help them quit smoking or chewing, I’m often asked about whether or not I recommend hypnosis or acupuncture. Hypnosis has existed for hundreds of years, and its clinical value has been debated over time. It is described as a state of mindfulness in which individuals make decisions that they would not ordinarily consciously make. Some describe hypnosis as a relaxing trance in which they are at risk of suggestibility.
There are conflicting results supporting the effectiveness of hypnosis in quitting tobacco. A 2013 study demonstrated a slight increase in the success of quitting smoking as compared to quitting cold turkey, while participants experienced fewer withdrawal symptoms. However, the success rate remained lower than that of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or cessation medications like Chantix or Zyban. A 2014 study found that hypnosis was more effective than nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. Keep in mind that while many individuals find hypnosis helpful in their quitting process, it doesn’t work for everyone.
Acupuncture is a form of Chinese medicine which has existed for over 2,000 years. It works by using thin needles that are inserted along pathways or pressure points, which when stimulated, are believed to release pain-mediating chemicals and hormones into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. Like hypnosis, evidence of acupuncture’s effectiveness in quitting smoking is inconsistent.
Hypnosis or acupuncture may be the best quitting options for individuals who are sensitive to NRT or smoking cessation medications. If you think that hypnosis or acupuncture will help you in your quitting journey, try it. Simply search for a licensed acupuncturist or certified clinical hypnotherapist. What do you have to lose?
American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. (2016). NCCAM acupuncture information. Retrieved from http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/For-Patients/Articles-By-Physicians-About-Acupuncture/NCCAM-Acupuncture-Information
Dickson-Spillman, M., Haug, S., & Schaub, M. P. (2013). Group hypnosis vs. relaxation for smoking cessation in adults: A cluster-randomized control trial. Retrieved from http://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-13-1227
Hasana, F. M., Zagarinsc, S. E., Pischkea, K. M., Saiyeda, S., Bettencourta, A., Beala, L., Macysa, D., Auroraa, S., & McCleary, N. (2014). Hypnotherapy is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 22(1), 1-8.
North Carolina Society of Clinical Hypnosis. (2015). What is hypnosis? Retrieved from http://nchypnosis.org/what-is-hypnosis/