Everyone who has ever tried to quit smoking knows that it isn’t easy. There’s no quick and easy way of leaving the habit behind and not every method works for every smoker. But aside from the usual nicotine containing replacement options there are alternative therapies out there that just might work for you.
Medicines aimed at reducing drug withdrawal symptoms are very effective in helping smokers to quit. Nicotine is as highly addictive as cocaine or heroin and just as difficult to kick. With the right medication a smoker is three times more likely to quit for good especially when it’s used in conjunction with counselling, group support or other complementary alternative therapies.
NRT – Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Most of us trying to quit are familiar with the NRT products which are available; gum, patches, inhalers, nasal sprays, lozenges and more recently e-cigarettes. You don’t need a prescription to obtain them and can be purchased over the counter at your local chemist’s shop. NRTs will not cure you of your addiction to nicotine but will at least go some way to relieving the cravings and thus help you to stop smoking tobacco with its poisonous cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals.
Quitting smoking is the most popular reason given for consulting a hypnotherapist and the success rate is high. Hypnosis is basically a form of relaxation therapy for both mind and body. Your subconscious and conscious and trained to work together along the same lines so that your mind becomes open to influence and suggestion which will help you to remain calm in stressful, smoking inducing situations.
The sessions usually include training in self-hypnosis and patients receive a stop smoking CD to take away with them which enables them to reinforce what they have learnt in between sessions.
CBT – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
CBT is a psychotherapy method which teaches patients new ways of thinking about and dealing with negativity. Your therapist will focus on increasing your confidence in your own ability to kick the habit; teaching you how to cope with stress and cravings and exploring your lack of conviction to quitting. You will then work together on developing automatic positive responses to these thoughts.
The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture is proven as a successful way to quit smoking but it should be stressed that it’s an aid to quitting, not a cure. The therapy entails the practitioner inserting thin needles into very specific parts of your body which correspond with energy channels to the relevant area. In the case of smokers, the focus is on the mouth, lungs, brain and respiratory system. No drug therapy is used although herbal remedies are often prescribed in conjunction with acupuncture sessions.
If you don’t like the idea of needles, laser therapy is a modern take on acupuncture. Instead of needles, low level cold lasers are used. Areas on the body’s surface are stimulated; ears, face, hands and arms. It’s pain free, drug free and only requires a small number of sessions to be effective.
Laser therapy works by stimulating endorphins and concentrating them in specific body areas. This mimics the effect of smoking tobacco and greatly reduces any addiction and physical dependency on nicotine. Stress and cravings are also relieved and you are left feeling much more relaxed and calmer.
Ridiculously simple, free and remarkably effective; water therapy is another alternative therapy used by those trying to quit. Instead of lighting up, drink a glass of water. Increased consumption of water flushes toxins from your body and helps relieve cravings for nicotine. Water therapy is most effective when used in conjunction with other therapies and is particularly useful for those who have successfully quit but still get the odd craving for a cigarette.
No-one said quitting was easy, but there are plenty of ways to help you get through it. All therapies are most effective when you have the support of your friends, family and others in the same situation as you.
Check out the Breathing Happy site for support and great advice by the bucket-load and good luck!