People motivated to quit need all the help they can get. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as patches and sprays are marketed widely, and with a GP’s guidance they may give quitters a good chance of quitting successfully.
But, you might be wondering: are there any other alternatives to the typical smoking addiction treatment available?
Indeed, there are.
In this article, we’ll look at the various therapies and treatments that might help smokers finally stop smoking.
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Hypnotherapy has been mentioned as a prominent alternative to the usual smoking cessation therapy procedures. It involves using hypnosis to guide smokers into a deeply relaxed and suggestible state.
Hypnotherapists claim that in this state, they can make suggestions to the subconscious to overcome smoking withdrawals and cravings. This practice has also been used to help people with depression, insomnia, and other psychological issues.
While this all sounds promising, there is little evidence that shows hypnotherapy as an effective smoking cessation method.
Furthermore, even if hypnotherapy is effective, the patient may still be prone to smoking once again due to a lack of a supportive environment, which plays a big role in quitting.
You’ve probably walked by a shop that offers alternative medicine and acupuncture treatments claiming to guide the “energy flow” inside the body using needles. Some successful quitters swear by acupuncture’s help with their withdrawals and cravings.
Acupuncture is based on the idea that the body’s energy flow can become disrupted or blocked, leading to pain, illness, or other health problems, such as addiction to cigarette smoking.
By inserting needles into specific points in the body, an acupuncturist can remove these blocks, promoting healing and restoring balance to the body.
In terms of helping smokers quit, there is very little to no evidence it helps your body get better or stop depending on nicotine. Researchers suggest that acupuncture only creates a placebo effect, our body’s natural way to fight pain or withdrawals.
Also, inserting needles into various parts of your body can be dangerous. There are far safer and more effective ways to quit smoking in the long term.
One of the most controversial alternative smoking cessation treatments is aversive conditioning. It involves making cigarette smoking such a repulsive activity that you want to get rid of it. For example, a special bracelet could deliver a small shock to your wrist whenever you reach for a cigarette.
Some people may have seen success with this treatment, but having to hurt yourself to quit smoking is dangerous. Moreover, studies have shown it doesn’t help many smokers looking to quit.
Mindfulness and Meditation
These two are promising alternative treatments for nicotine addiction. In fact, many GPs and smoking cessation communities have seen mindfulness and meditation help quitters achieve success.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present when doing something. During extreme withdrawals and cravings, you’re encouraged to write about how you feel in a journal to be aware of your feelings and keep your actions in check.
Meditation focuses on clearing the mind by focusing on your breathing, a sound, or anything that can centre your mind to block everything out.
Mindfulness and meditation therapy is seen to have a role in smoking cessation, but it doesn’t mean they’re the best solution on their own. Used alongside a GP’s guidance, mindfulness and meditation make it much easier to stop smoking for good.
Nicotine Vaping Products (NVPs)
Why are NVPs considered an alternative therapy? Well, they’re currently regulated as ‘second-line treatments’, only to be considered after approved therapies (such as NRT) have failed.
You can only legally access NVPs under prescription at a local pharmacy if your GP sees that you’ve used an NRT before and it hasn’t helped you quit.
Many people have attributed their success to NVPs because they imitate the hand-to-mouth gesture and ‘puff’ of a real cigarette without the dangerous chemicals and harms that come from cigarette smoke.
The latest Cochrane Review has found high-certainty evidence that nicotine e-cigarettes (NVPs) are more effective than NRT in helping people quit smoking.
The Best Method to Quit Smoking: A Strong Motivation to Quit
For middle-aged Australian smokers looking to quit, finding a strong motivation to quit is the first and crucial step. Reflect on why you want to quit – whether it’s for your health, family, or overall well-being. Aside from motivation, the following steps to quit smoking require no special processes or tools – just remembering an objective every time cravings strike.
Have a Good Diet
A healthy diet is worthwhile in any effort to quit smoking. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your meals to provide essential nutrients that support your body through the quitting process. Consider snacks like crunchy veggies or nuts to keep your hands and mouth busy when cravings strike while avoiding possible weight gain. Proper hydration can also assist in flushing out toxins from your body.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Engaging in regular physical activity is an excellent method to quit smoking. Exercise not only helps distract you from cravings but also releases endorphins, reducing stress and improving your mood. Find an activity you enjoy, whether walking, cycling, or joining a fitness class, and make it a regular routine that contributes to your overall well-being and reinforces your commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Keeping yourself occupied with recreational projects is an easy way to quit smoking. Find activities that capture your interest and divert your attention from cravings. Whether learning a new hobby, gardening, or pursuing a creative outlet, these projects provide a positive and constructive focus that aligns with your goal of quitting smoking.
A Strong Support Group
Building a strong support group is one of the key strategies for quitting smoking. Share your journey with friends and family, or join a support network where others are on the same path. Discussing how you quit smoking and exchanging quitting smoking strategies with peers can provide valuable insights and encouragement during challenging moments.
Regular Consultations with GPs
GPs can offer personalized advice, prescribe medications if necessary, and monitor your progress. They can provide insights into how to stop smoking immediately and offer strategies for staying smokefree. These consultations serve as a crucial part of your overall plan, ensuring you have professional guidance throughout your journey to quit smoking.
An alternative smoking addiction treatment may have helped some people finally kick the habit, but it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Some of these treatments are potentially dangerous, too. Don’t jump right into it – we strongly advise that you consult with a GP about the safety and efficacy of your chosen treatment first, and see what their recommendation is for you.
At the end of the day, a supportive environment, changing your activities, and managing your withdrawals are still the most effective ways to stop smoking.
You’re probably reading this because you want to see if alternative therapies are really helpful for quitting smoking and if it’s backed by medical science. Unfortunately, not all of them work for everyone.
But we do know a way that gives you the best chance of pulling through.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.