Create a specific action plan to improve your chances of quitting smoking forever. Write down your plan because that will make you think more carefully about what you need to do and how you can do it.
Quit Smoking Plan
- Decide how you are going to quit smoking. Gradual decline or cold turkey. Set a plan. Cold turkey is recommended.
- Determine and write down your reasons for wanting to stop smoking, e.g. health, money, social interactions, etc. The reasons should be for you, not anyone else, i.e. not because your husband/wife, girl/boyfriend, parent, boss, etc. want you to quit, but because you want to quit smoking. This/these reason(s) will be your best motivator(s) if and when you feel your determination to quit lag. Keep this reminder with you. You can also carry pictures or medical test results or other such cues to remind you of your reasons.
- Figure out your smoking patterns. Do you like a cigarette after eating, first thing in the a.m., while talking on the phone, while driving, when you have an alcoholic drink or a coffee, etc? Plan ahead for how you are going to deal with those situations. These are also ideal times to press your ear seeds.
- Ask for support from people that you know. Both professional and non-professional people can be great teammates to getting you to stop smoking.
- Recognize that even if you do have cigarette one day, don’t beat yourself up. Just move forward and stop smoking again from that moment on.
- Write down ways that you have succeeded at something difficult in the past and recognize that you do have the ability to be successful at this as well.
- Reward yourself for your successes, big and small. Think of the things that you would like to do or buy for yourself as a reward for quitting. Start a stop smoking jar and every day or week deposit the money you would normally spend on cigarettes in the jar (or in a separate bank account if that amount is too much for what purchase you would like to make). Reward yourself when you reach the amounts that you need to do/get the things you want.
- Practice some of the following techniques when you feel a craving:
- Pull out your reminder of your reasons for quitting smoking
- Deep breathe: Inhale the deepest lung-full of air you can, and then, very slowly, exhale. Purse your lips so that the air must come out slowly. As you exhale, close your eyes, and let your chin gradually sink over onto your chest. Visualize all the tension leaving your body, slowly draining out of your fingers and toes, just flowing on out.
- Have a drink of water
- Go for a walk
- Call a friend/support person
- Keep healthy snacks available so that you don’t reach for the junk food quick fix
- Check out this free government resource: http://www.quitnow.ca/
- Get help. Acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine can support your healthy body, relax your mind, and help manage cravings. For more on this, check out my blog about how acupuncture can help you quit smoking.
Quit Smoking with Acupuncture
Every day, people around the world vow to finally quit smoking for good only to watch their resolution go up in smoke. If you have tried to quit smoking, you know how difficult it can be. Nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. For some people, it can be as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
The reasons to quit smoking are endless. Cigarettes have 4000 known poisons. One drop of pure nicotinic acid can kill a man. According to the CDC, tobacco kills more than 440,000 people each year in the US alone. Smoking is also associated with an enormous list of the chronic illnesses and diseases including emphysema, lung cancer, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, chronic cough, an increased frequency of colds and flu.
Many people decide to quit because of the enormous expense of a cigarette habit or are just plain tired of being dependant on a substance. There is also considerable social pressure not to smoke and more and more places do not allow smoking.
Acupuncture is an alternative approach to smoking cessation. In fact, acupuncture is often a court-mandated treatment for drug addicts because of its ability to curb withdrawal symptoms and manage cravings.
It’s estimated that most smokers will attempt to quit several times before finally kicking the habit. Acupuncture is not a magic cure in the treatment of any addiction, including smoking, however, is effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke-free. If you are highly motivated and ready to quit, acupuncture can empower you to take control and begin a healthy and smoke-free life!
How Does Acupuncture Help Break the Cigarette Habit?
Acupuncture intercepts messages sent by the brain to the body that demand more nicotine, thereby disrupting the addictive process. It can eliminate most cravings, but not the habit. A successful quit smoking with acupuncture program will include patient preparation, patient commitment, and education about how to replace the unhealthy habit of smoking with healthy habits.
Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to treat the specific symptoms and patterns of imbalance that are unique to each individual. Treatments will focus on the jitters, the cravings, the irritability, and the restlessness that people commonly complain about when they quit. It will also aid in relaxation and detoxification.
What Points Are Used?
Each patient is custom-treated according to his or her specific and unique diagnosis. Usually a combination of body acupuncture points and points on the ear are used that are believed to influence the organs and energetic pathways associated with smoking.
Common points to help you quit smoking with acupuncture include:
Ear points:-alleviates tension; increases will power; returns the body to homeostatic balance; relieves withdrawal symptoms; Diminishes appetite and cravings.
Body points: (on the wrist) a specific point to quit smoking; a combination of two points (one on the hand & one on the foot) used to circulate energy throughout the body and calm the nervous system.
After removing the needles, ‘ear seeds’ (affixed to a small beige tape) are often applied to the ear to stimulate the points between treatments and reduce cravings.
How Many Treatments Will I Need and How Long Do they Take?
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last approximately sixty minutes, with the patient being treated two to three times on the first week and two more treatments the second week (5 initial treatments). I recommend a booster treatment once a month for the next four to six months. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
A quit smoking with acupuncture program will often consist of 4-6 initial treatments scheduled in the first few weeks followed by monthly treatments for four to six months.
Note that herbs and/or supplements may also be recommended to help the lungs recover and support the whole body.
Also, check out my tips for creating a quit smoking plan.
As of today in BC, there are 68 active fires of note and/or fires larger than 10 hectares (there are many more fires in total than that!). But there are actually 197 fires total active around BC! That’s huge! And unusual for us this time of year. What’s even more unusual was waking up this past Sunday morning to an eerily coloured sky caused by the haze of smoke from those fires. By Sunday afternoon in Vancouver and many surrounding areas, the smell of smoke was in the air. My husband and I had taken our bikes downtown to check out the fan activity for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and by 3 p.m. we decided that the smoke was too much, so we headed home to watch the game there.
I did SUP yoga that morning, and this was the view of Kits beach as I headed out. (photo not modified)
Within a few hours the air quality advisory for Vancouver was at 7/10–in the high risk category–and we could feel it. For some it caused shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma attacks, coughing, scratchy throat, and irritated sinues. My husband experienced burning eyes. I got a headache (headaches are my barometer for pretty much anything that is not right for my body). Those with lung health issues, the elderly, and the very young are those most at risk with poor air quality advisories.
Thankfully air quality has improved in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, though the values are still wavering between a low to moderate level (2-5). In Squamish and Whistler right now, the numbers are much worse, with Whistler at 8 right now.
You’ve likely heard the recommendations to close your windows and get inside an air conditioned building. That may be doable during the daytime, but it’s hard to do that at night if you don’t have air conditioning in your home. I know that on Sunday we debated between keeping the windows open so we could cool our place down and closing the windows so no more smoke would enter. We chose the latter. Better to be warm than risk damaging our health.
Protect Your Lungs
- Check out the air quality ratings in your area. In BC, this is the link: bcairquality.ca
- If you hear advisories about air quality in the news, listen to them.
- Minimize your exposure. Close windows and minimize outdoor activities. If you have heart or lung disease or are frail, consider leaving the area to stay somewhere with better air quality.
- Avoid burning things like wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves, and even candles when smoke levels are high. Unlikely you’ll want to be lighting up your wood fireplace in this heat, but gas stoves might be more of a challenge for some.
- Don’t vacuum, as that stirs up particles already in your home. I like the excuse not to vacuum! However, some people noticed an accumulation of ash in their place. When you clean, consider using a proper particulate mask. Dust masks are not enough. An effective mask must be able to filter very small particles. Smoke particulate averages about 0.3 microns. It must also provide an airtight seal around your face. Masks marked with “R95,” “N95,” or “P95” can help (I found these online at Home Depot), but R,N, or P99 or 100 masks filter even more (Amazon has some 99 ones). Note that they won’t work if you don’t get a proper seal, and that those of you with beards will have a near impossible time to get a good seal. You might also find it’s hard to breathe through the masks, as they increase resistance to airflow.
- Use an air purifier to help filter some of the particulate out of your indoor environment.
- And, clearly, it’s better if you don’t smoke. That pollutes you and the lungs of people around you even more. Maybe it’s good timing to quit (see my blog on quitting smoking).
Support Your Lungs
- Find a clear air place to practice some deep cleansing breath work. Breathe in through your nose, fully and deeply. Hold your breath for a count of five. Then open your mouth and fully and slowly exhale all the air out of your lungs. When you think you’ve breathed it all out, use your abdominal muscles to help your diaphragm lift up further by exhaling “ha…ha…ha” to push out more air. Breathe in again, and repeat this sequence a few times. If you have chronic lung health issues, consult with a health professional before trying this. Also be careful if this makes you dizzy. Practicing this or other deep breathing exercises can help strengthen the lungs.
- Hydrate well. Your whole body needs water to function properly. Water also helps with mucus production and movement, key to collecting and getting rid of viruses, bacteria, other pathogens, toxins, and cellular waste products.
- Include garlic and onions in your diet. They help fight infections and decrease inflammation.
- Eat kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. They are part of the cruciferous veggie category, and they are rich in antioxidants that help to manage cellular damage. They have also been shown to help prevent and fight lung cancer.
- Chomp on apples. Several studies have shown that eating two to five apples a week can reduce the risk and severity of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is believed that the flavonoids in apples, especially khellin, can help open up airways.
- Get treated. If you have lung health issues–asthma, allergies, COPD, emphysema, etc.–Traditional Chinese Medicine has a variety of powerful ways to support your lung health, from acupuncture and herbs to foods and lifestyle changes.
Remember, even if you don’t have any lung health issues, your lungs are vital to your good health, so take good care of them!
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the season when the liver and gallbladder are most active. With over 500 vital tasks, your liver works very hard. All the blood that leaves your stomach and intestines passes through your liver where it is processed and filtered. The liver also produces bile, which helps to break down fats for further digestion; stores iron; produces cholesterol to carry fats; converts excess glucose into glycogen for storage; supports the immune system; and clears the blood of toxic substances.
Spring is a great time to consider a detoxification cleanse. During this time of year, nature comes to the surface—flowers bloom, grass grows, leaves reappear. Doing a cleanse during the spring season works with the natural flow of the body as we are still a part of nature.
If you are ready to do a cleanse, but have health issues, have never done a cleanse before, find cleansing programs too challenging, or want to go beyond the scope of a basic detox kit, this package may be the right fit for you.
A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consult gets to the root of what will best support your body’s cleansing process by customizing food choices, supplement products, herbals, treatments, and lifestyle activities.
Nutrition consultations will guide you with easy to follow specific meal plans which will focus on the foods recommended by the TCM doctor as well as other liver supportive and detoxifying foods.
Included in the package:
– TCM consultation (30 minutes)
– Nutrition consultation (50 minutes)
– Acupuncture treatment (60 minutes) to support cleanse
– Nutrition consultation follow up (30 minutes)
– 10% Discount coupon for supplements
Cost: $225.00 Incl. tax (Over a $55 Savings)
*If you would like help with the food preparation/cooking part of the process, please contact us for details.
I recently had a debate with some friends. Should the business group that I belong to enact a “scent-free” rule? I asked that question because I had been sitting next to a really lovely young woman who was wearing perfume. For 90 minutes I sat next to her with a headache and stuffy nose that was caused by the chemicals she was wearing.
There was resistance to the potential creation of this new rule. I received concern that some people might smell bad, like BO, and that would be worse. I answered that people should bathe. Especially if attending a business meeting! And wear clean clothes. And deodorant. Perhaps a light dabbing of essential oils if something is really necessary.
Another concern was that no other business meetings make this requirement. I guess I live in a different world. The world of health. The health team business meetings I attend have a “scent-free” rule. I understand that many people don’t know why avoiding perfumes and colognes would be a good idea. So, I informed. I sent a link about how perfumes and colognes don’t have to disclose their chemical list and many of their chemicals can be toxic (http://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy). Many are hormone disrupters, messing with your thyroid and with estrogen levels. Others are allergens–triggering asthma, wheezing, and headaches.
I liken it to second hand smoke. Perhaps you like to smoke and smoking is legal, so if you want to smoke you can. But because of the health-risks associated with secondhand smoke, you can only smoke in designated areas. I do not have to be exposed to your toxins.
Now, it’s not a big deal to me if I have occasional exposure to perfumes and other chemical scents. After I left the meeting, my headache and stuffy nose resolved right away. But my point is to educate so that wrongs can be righted. Also, others might be more affected than I am.
And why do we even need chemical perfumes and colognes? Perfumes (they used to be made of natural ingredients) were made initially to cover up the fact that we stunk because we didn’t bathe regularly. Every person at my business meeting has access to a shower or bathtub, so that’s no longer a problem.
Just because other meetings have not created a “scent-free” zone isn’t a good reason for us to follow suit. My mother always told me that just because my friends were doing something didn’t mean I had to do the same if it was wrong/didn’t make sense/would be harmful/etc!
I wonder how many people suffer allergies and hormonal disruption as a result of their own use of chemical perfumes and colognes (and other chemical topical products) or as a result of regular secondhand exposure.
Think about your health the next time you spray on a scent, use Febreeze or other coverup room spray, take a deep breath of new car smell, or smell the “off-gassing” of new carpets, furniture, mattress, etc.
Some things we cannot avoid, but we don’t need to use toxic perfumes. Would you prefer a scent-free zone knowing now about the potential health impact these chemicals might have on your health? Or is the new JLo perfume just that important to you?
Check out this article from Australia about 2 chemicals that are sprayed on many fruits and veggies and nuts. The chemicals are endosulfan, an insecticide, and carbendazim, a fungicide. As far as I can find, they are still allowed for use in Canada and the US, though they have been banned in many other countries because of their risks for cancers, birth defects, neurological damage, hormone disruption, and more.