Ways to help: Alternative methods

Here at chooseday we are all about personal choice and creating sustainable goals, tailoring your life decisions to your life. No quit journey is the same as we all do live differing lives and experience addiction differently. Where one individual can quit ‘cold turkey’ another can battle with cigarettes for a lifetime. Alternative methods of quitting have been around for decades, so we have decided to review some of our personal favourites.

Meditation

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Pragito Dove believes in a technique called ‘smoking meditation’ where the forced awareness on smoking effects makes a smoker more in tune of their true wants and needs, subsequently leading them to a path away from nicotine addiction.

Whenever you think about smoking a cigarette, become aware of taking the pack out of your pocket slowly, with full awareness. Then take the cigarette out of the pack with full awareness, slowly – not in the old hurried way, unconscious and mechanical. Start tapping the cigarette on the pack very alertly. Listen to the sound, then smell the cigarette and enjoy the beauty of it…just as in the Zen tradition when the tea kettle starts boiling and the aroma of the tea reaches your senses.

Then put the cigarette in your mouth with full awareness, light it, inhale with full awareness, slowly. Savor the taste, the smell, the sensation of the smoke entering your lungs. Enjoy every small action, every part of it and you will become more and more aware. As you release the smoke from your lungs, relax, enjoy the sensation and feelings in your body, be aware, go slowly, then take another puff.

The secret, I found, of breaking a habit such as smoking is to bring awareness to it. To deautomotize yourself from a mechanical habit brings great liberation. Once you bring it out into the light of conscious awareness, and SEE what it is, sooner or later, it simply drops away.

Hypnosis

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Hypnosis for smoking cessation has been a popular method for the last two decades, with dozens of hypnotherapy centres and specialists in Sydney city alone. If this is something that appeals to you WebMd runs as through exactly what happens when you are under the hyno-spell…

During hypnosis for smoking cessation, a patient is often asked to imagine unpleasant outcomes from smoking. For example, the hypnotherapist might suggest that cigarette smoke smells like truck exhaust, or that smoking will leave the patient’s mouth feeling extremely parched.

Spiegel’s method is one popular smoking cessation hypnosis technique that focuses on three main ideas:

  • Smoking poisons the body
  • You need your body to live
  • You should respect your body and protect it (to the extent you’d like to live)

The hypnotherapist teaches the smoker self-hypnosis, and then asks him or her to repeat these affirmations anytime the desire to smoke occurs.

Guided imagery

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A similar form of alternative therapy is visualization, which involves the controlled use of mental images for therapeutic purposes. National Standard Research Collaboration explains this evolving form of therapy:

Visualization involves the controlled use of mental images for therapeutic purposes. It has been proposed that the use of imagery in visualization may correct unhealthy attitudes or views. People who practice this mind-body technique call on memory and imagination. In some regards, visualization is similar to hypnosis or hypnotherapy. The technique is usually practiced alone. Visualization audiotapes are available.

The theoretical basis of visualization is that the mind is able to cure the body when visualized images evoke sensory memory, strong emotions or fantasy.

Acupuncture

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Acupuncture as an alternative approach to smoking cessation has a growing number of converts. This ancient form of therapy has proved to reduce cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine addiction. Diane Joswick explains how acupuncture helps beak the cigarette habit.

Acupuncture is successful with smoking cessation and has turned a growing number of cigarette smokers into permanent ex-smokers. Treatments take all of your symptoms into account and aim at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health.
The acupuncture treatments focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness; all symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.
In one study conducted at the University of Oslo, Norway, acupuncture was found to significantly reduce the desire to smoke up to five years after the initial treatment. Subjects of the study also reported that cigarettes tasted worse than before treatment and that the treatments had effectively reduced their taste for tobacco.

The acupuncture needles used are hair-thin. They are superficially inserted into various points in the ears and body to assist with smoking cessation. In between treatments, small pellets are often taped to the acupuncture points on the ear. When a cigarette craving hits, gently pressing on the pellets stimulates the acupuncture points to calm the mind and eliminate the craving.

Acupuncture is not a panacea or a magic cure in the treatment of any addiction, including smoking. But, acupuncture is effective in making it easier to quit and remain smoke-free for good.

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Ways to help: Support

Online and offline support can really help when trying to quit smoking. Since primary school we have been warned against the dangers of smoking and provided with reasons to quit from the cost of a single packet to the endless amount of health reasons. Despite knowing the various reasons to quit, when smoking addiction is at its peak it can be hard to comprehend these reasons. It is in this time that the smoker needs support. Support can come in all forms whether it be reading a quit story to attending a cessation workshop, no matter how big or small these all help and work as a stepping stone towards a smoke free life. Here at Chooseday we have listed some support networks for those considering cessation.

Online

Online support directory – WhyQuit is a great directory for all forms of addiction support. Their nicotine addiction section directs you to all types of sites list the type of forum, midyear cessation rate and membership requirements. Check out if you are unsure where to start or if you are quitting with a certain method e.g. cold turkey, lozenge.

ICanQuit – Our Aussie readers this ones for you. ICanQuit is an online service of the Cancer Institute of NSW, the website hosts application My Journey which allows you to set goals, track your progress and share your experiences. The site also provides helpful support on ‘Staying quit’ stating that “every attempt to quit smoking takes you one step closer to being smoke free“.

Offline

Speak with a loved one Although this may seem hard to admit that you are addicted, trust me you will feel better. Talking with a trusted friend or family member helps as there is a guarantee that this person knows you better than you know yourself. Through discussing your addiction you with them you are better able to work through methods to quitting. Speaking with a loved one also has a level of accountability as they can hold you up to your promises and keep you on the right path when strayed.

Attend a quit workshop – A more old-school approach to addiction support, a group workshop could be exactly what you need. The purpose of a cessation workshop is to create a forum of both education and support, with individuals and experts together sharing their experiences with nicotine addiction. For our NSW readers The Cancer Council hosts a free one-day Smoking Care Intervention Workshop, click here for more information.

Engage in alternative therapies – There are a number of emerging support therapies which in conjunction with other forms of support can assist in achieving a smokefree goal. Hypnotherapy and visualization are becoming increasingly popular within quitting circles. These therapies occur on a one-on-one basis meaning that it is a tailored program, designed specifically towards your cessation journey. These therapies also appeal individuals as it is a confidential practice, revolving around you and the therapist. If this is something that appeals to you keep an eye out for our upcoming ‘ways to help’ post on alternative methods to battle nicotine addiction.