Acupuncture and hypnosis are advertised as a drug-free ways to help smokers quit, and there is some evidence that they work, according to new studies. There are still many questions – including how effective alternative treatments can be, and how they respond to a standard tactic of quitting.
But researchers say that alternatives should serve as an option for smokers who want them. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Medicine, come from a review of 14 previous clinical trials. Six of these studies tested acupuncture against “sham” version of the procedure (in which, for example, the needles were placed in non-acupuncture points on the skin). In general, smokers who received real acupuncture is more than three times more likely to be tobacco-free for six months to a year later.
In addition, four trials hypnosis, smokers had higher levels of output compared with therapy with people who have been minimal help – as an educational booklet on the legs habit. In general, smokers who want to quit smoking should first try the standard approaches – which include nicotine-replacement therapy, medication and behavioral counseling, according to Dr. Mehdi Tahiri from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who led the review.
“But some people are not interested in treatment,” he said in an interview. And in many other cases, standard therapy does not stop working. “Then I think we should definitely recommend it (acupuncture and hypnosis), and choice,” said Tahiri.
But there are reservations.
For their analysis, Tahiri said, researchers have tried to select the clinical trials that were conducted in a similar way to obtain the most reliable results. But the results of individual studies did differ. The benefits associated with acupuncture, for example, were largely based on a 2008 study that tested a few sessions of laser acupuncture in 258 smokers. After six months, 55 percent of smokers who would get the real acupuncture was free from tobacco, compared to only four percent of those who would have received sham acupuncture.
In contrast, in the 2007 study conducted in Taiwan looked at acupuncture needles around the ear (the area is usually the target of quitting). Six months later, nine percent in the real acupuncture group output as six per cent of lime acupuncture group. The situation was similar to hypnosis test. Two studies showed a large effect: from 40 to 45 percent of the patients smoking hypnosis six months to a year. Two other studies showed a smaller effect.
However, Tahiri said, was “a trend” for the benefit of all studies of acupuncture and hypnosis. There is “definitely matters,” he added, how many sessions of acupuncture and hypnosis may be necessary, or what specific methods (needle or laser acupuncture, for example) is better. Other reviews of studies have concluded that the jury has to alternative therapies for smoking cessation. The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, recently released a report on hypnosis and acupuncture for smoking cessation (). In both cases, the group said it was not enough evidence of “extra” work therapy.
The Cochrane reviewers did not dismiss the alternative approaches – say, rather, they may be better than nothing. In the real world outside of the study, other issues come up. Depending on where people live, they may not be able to find a hypnotherapy or acupuncture intended for smoking. Tahiri suggested that smokers ask their doctors for any direction of the local physicians. And with acupuncture, he said, you want to go with a reputable center that uses sterile. In addition, there are costs – which can range from $ 400 to $ 1,000, the team at Tahiri indicates in his report.
On the other hand, Tahiri said, “the benefits of quitting are enormous”, and smokers should continue to try to find a way that works for them. American Lung Association (ALA), says that although some smokers can successfully quit “cold turkey”, the best choice for most is to try a combination of medicines and some types of behavioral consultation. Medication can mean either over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy products or prescription drugs varenicline (Chantix) or burping (Zyban and generics).
Some recent studies have shown that about 25 percent of smokers can be free of cigarettes for one year mark, if they receive counseling in conjunction with medication. Even with combination therapy, kicking smoking is often an uphill battle. ALA believes that it takes the average smoker five or six serious attempts to finally quit smoking.