Acupuncture: in aid of Smokers

Acupuncture: in aid of Smokers
MORE and more patients who fail to respond to modern medicine are turning towards alternative forms of therapy. Do these alternative systems work? Is it merely a placebo effect? Few doctors have done clinical studies to gather objective evidence to answer these questions.
In England, Dr. Tanvir Jamil, has systematically gathered information that suggests acupuncture could help patients quit smoking. He has used acupuncture on 21 patients who wanted to quit smoking and found that five of these gave up the habit, seven reduced the number of cigarettes smoked, and all found the therapy beneficial.

Basic principles

Chinese physicians have practiced acupuncture for over 5000 years. It is based on the concept Qi or bio- energy. The Chinese believe that Qi flows in the body through certain channels or ‘meridians’. Impaired flow leads to disease. ‘Acupoints’ are specific areas on the surface of the body which when stimulated modulate flow of Qi and influence the function of internal organs. Stimulation is achieved by puncturing the ‘acupoint’ with a needle or pressing it with the fingertip (acupressure). Doctors use special ‘maps’ that indicate the location of acupoints all over the body that can be stimulated to treat various conditions.

Many doctors in the West are using acupuncture to treat aches, pains, respiratory infections and allergies. Some claim that they have helped patients quit smoking, but there are no published data. So Dr. Jamil decided to bridge the gap by compiling information on patients who received acupuncture therapy in his clinic to help them quit smoking.
TherapyOver a six-month period, 15 women and 6 men received one acupuncture treatment every week for an average of four (range 2-5) weeks. At each session five ear points (see diagram) and two distal points in the hand were punctured and the needle was left in place for 20 minutes. Patients were also taught to use simple acupressure methods like applying firm pressure on the ‘lung point’ if they felt the urge to smoke.
ResultsFour patients withdrew from the therapy. Five quit smoking and seven decreased the number of cigarettes. Many found that acupuncture reduced stress and controlled craving. In one case, the patient had already stopped smoking and found the acupuncture helped in dealing with “withdrawal’ symptoms. Some noticed that the cigarettes started to taste terrible. Acupressure gave many patients something to do and distract themselves during periods of craving. Overall, patients found the therapy of ‘definite’ benefit.

One 66-year-old woman who had been smoking 20 cigarettes a day for more than 20 years could give up smoking because of this therapy. She had tried unsuccessfully to quit smoking five years earlier when her father died of bronchitis. Her husband had managed to quit with the help of nicotine patches. Neither nicotine patches nor smaller packs of cigarettes nor herbal cigarettes nor hypnotherapy helped her in any way. But after two sessions of acupuncture, she was down to five cigarettes a week. At the end of five sessions, she had stopped smoking. There was some craving initially but this settled rapidly after her second session. She found that acupressure helped her relieve stress. Three years after therapy, she continued to be a non-smoker. In this time, she had taken three sessions of acupuncture during periods of stress.

Scientific basisThe results seen by Dr. Jamil’s clinic could be due to release of endorphins and encephalins that were able to latch on to nicotine receptors in the brain. They could also have been due to hormonal stimulation that brought about the stress relief. Placebo effect cannot be ignored, especially as most of the patients were highly motivated and had wanted to give up smoking for a number of years.

Dr. Jamil has acknowledged that his sample size was too small with no control group to generalize the findings of his study. But data from an open study are better than no data at all. Besides, the results are encouraging enough to undertake further research.

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About Manbir & Gurpreet

Gurpreet Kaur’s journey in this world .... Gurpreet Kaur was a Musician. She was a singer and a composer of music. Her interest was composing and singing Gurbani Shabads in Indian Classical style. She sang Shabads in All the Raags mentioned in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. She also taught Gurmat Sangeet at Gurmat Gian Missionary College, Jawadi, Ludhiana. Elder child to Pushpinder Kaur and Dr. Brig. Harminder Singh, was born in Amritsar on 13th Jan 1962. She attended various convent schools as a child because her father would get frequent Army postings as a dental surgeon. She graduated with Music Honors from Govt. College for Women, Chandigarh. Music was her hobby and she composed and sang Raag based Gurbani Shabads. Doing Kirtan was part of growing up nurtured by her parents. She learned music from her father Dr. Brigadier Harminder Singh who was a dental surgeon in Indian Army and a very good singer himself. Gurpreet’s Bhua (father’s sister), Ajit Kaur retied as a Head of Department of Music from Govt. College for Women Ludhiana, and was a renounced Punjabi singer of her time. Gurpreet Kaur also learned nuances of Indian Classical Music from Pandita Sharma. She was a mother of three children, and a grandmother. Her daughter Keerat Kaur is a Computer Engineer. Her two sons Gurkeerat Singh and Jaskeerat Singh are doctors in USA. Her daughter Keerat Kaur too was part of her group ~ Gurmat Gian Group. Gurpreet Kaur left this world at the age of 54yrs on 12th Sept 2016 in Baltimore USA. She had recorded around 25 cds of Gurbani Keertan. 'Raag Ratan' Album (6 CDs) is a Compilation of Shabads in All the 31 Sudh Raags of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 'Gauri Sagar' Album (3 CDs) is a Compilation of All forms of Raag Gauri in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 'Nanak Ki Malhaar' ~ ((3 CDs) is an album of Raag Malhar Shabads in various forms of Malhar. 'Gur Parsaad Basant Bana' ~ (3 CDs) is an album of Shabads in Raag Basant sung in various forms of Raag Basant. Har Ki Vadeyai Sarni Aayea Sewa Priya Kee Preet Piyaree Mohan Ghar Aavho Karo Jodariya Mo Kao Taar Le Raama Taar Le Tere Kavan Kavan Gun Keh Keh Gawan Mera Baid Guru Govinda Saajanrraa Mera Saajanrraa

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