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From herbs to hypnosis: five methods to help you kick your cigarette habit naturally.

IT CAN BE TOUGH to stop smokingAs well as a positive and focused intent, many people need a little help from outside sources. Nicotine replacement therapy is popular, as are books such as Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. But there are also lots of other natural methods you can use to ease your addiction. Here are a few of them.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture can help alleviate many symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as the jitters, restlessness and irritability. Needles are used to stimulate energy meridians in the body that lead to the heart and respiratory system, as well as to parts of the brain responsible for cravings.

You undergo an initial evaluation with a therapist to determine your unique smoking habits – when you smoke, how often you smoke, and what triggers your desire to smoke. The therapist will then put together a treatment plan for you, which may involve behavioral management training as well as the acupuncture itself.

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Therapists normally recommend four to five treatments to get the full effect, and at $40 to $100 per session, acupuncture is one of the more costly natural methods. But they will also show you how to self-treat with acupressure for when cravings arise.

Herbal Medicines, Homeopathy and Flower Essences

Some herbal medicines have properties which can help alleviate physical and emotional distress. Many can be ingested as pills, in teas or in tinctures, and you can buy pre-packaged homeopathic kits which often use a combination of herbs and plants. These are some you could try:

Chamomile, lavender, skullcap, or kava – All combat stress and anxiety.

St John’s Wort – Helps battle chemical addiction by boosting dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your brain, both of which are produced when you smoke.

Lobelia – Potent muscle relaxant that binds to nicotine receptors in your brain, tricking your body into thinking you’ve smoked. Caution: highly toxic if taken at the wrong dose, so make sure you know what you are doing.

Bach Flower Essences – It’s controversial as to whether they really work, but some practitioners claim they help treat psychological and emotional issues. Honeysuckle and Star of Bethlehem are said to be good for smokers trying to kick the habit.

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Aromatherapy – combine essential oils such as chamomile, lavender and sandalwood in a carrier oil like jojoba to make an anti-stress massage oil.

Or carry a bottle of lavender oil around with you and take a sniff to reduce the anxiety brought on by nicotine withdrawal. (Note that most essential oils should not be sniffed directly.)

Remember to research each plant you are thinking of using, and follow all directions on the labels. If taken improperly, herbal medicines can be dangerous.

Hypnotherapy

The mental health community claims hypnotherapy can be a powerful way to release negative thought patterns, get to the bottom of emotional triggers, and explore repressed areas of our consciousness.

Hypnotherapy works through a combination of guided meditation, visualization, relaxing music and deep breathing, which lull you into a trance state. Once there, the therapist will make suggestions and affirmations that deeply resonate in your subconscious.

In the case of smoking, the therapist will remind you of all the benefits of quitting (rather than what you’ll be missing out on), such as asking you to envision how much more freely you will breathe without cigarettes. This helps you associate that positive feeling with quitting smoking.

Creative Visualization

Practice a version of self-hypnosis by inducing a relaxed state on your own. Use a combination of whichever relaxation techniques work best for you. Then try to visualize yourself as a non-smoker in any situation you choose.

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Use your intuition, and don’t think of it as a hypothetical situation. Hypnosis works by taking you to that state now, not at some future date. Try to imagine the colors, smells, emotions and other sensations you will experience as a non-smoker. Use positive affirmations and keep them in a journal.

Detoxifying

Flushing the nicotine out of your system can help ease your physical addiction. Buy detoxifying roots, plants and herbs – like dandelion root, mullein, and rosemary – at your local natural foods store. Also stock up on Vitamins C and B-Complex, and drink plenty of water.

You can complement this with activities such as yoga and pranayama (breathwork). Visualize a white ball of light filling your body as you breathe in, then breathe out and visualize everything negative and toxic – in whatever form it arises – leaving your body.

The Quit Smoking Combo

Rather than relying on just one of the above techniques, try combining two or more of them to give you more chance of success. Homeopathy, acupuncture or creative visualization alone may not do the trick, but a combination of all three together could work provided you are in the right frame of mind.

Good luck!

Community Connection

Have you tried to quit smoking (or any addiction) by natural methods? Were you successful? Share your stories in the comments below!