A short course of acupuncture led to reduction or even cessation of smoking in a trial carried out by researchers in Norway.
Acupuncture is a popular treatment for smoking cessation, although there have been few studies of its effectiveness. Doctors at the University of Oslo have carried out a trial on 46 smokers, assigning one group to acupuncture using the points linked to quitting smoking. The other group acted as a control, receiving acupuncture on points not linked to quitting smoking.

Everyone got two treatments a week for three weeks and were also encouraged to give themselves ear acupressure four times a day during this time. This technique involves applying pressure, with the fingers, to points on the earlobes. During the study period, consumption of cigarettes fell by an average of 14 cigarettes in the acupuncture group and by seven in the control group.

Just after the treatment ended, 32 per cent in the acupuncture group had actually quit smoking altogether. At eight months, this figure had fallen to 23 per cent and at five years to 18 per cent. This is not unexpected – as relapse rates are high when people quit smoking for the first time. And none of the control group succeeded in quitting at any time. It’s a very encouraging study, suggesting that acupuncture may just do the trick for the person who’s determined to give up smoking.

Originally posted on TeleManagement CA