By: Lorrie Jackson | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: January 2007
Lawrence Gilbert holding photos of a non-smoker and smoker lung.
The verdict is in (and has been for quite some time): smoking is hazardous to your health. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that “tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 440,000 deaths each year and resulting in an annual cost of more than $75 billion in direct medical costs.” Tobacco contains over 4000 known chemicals, over 700 of which are poisonous and another 60 are known carcinogens, or chemicals which are known to cause cancer. Tobacco smoke contains tar, a chemical which leads to several physical problems including bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. But even though all this information is public record and has been widely reported, a 2002 report showed that 30 percent of those 12 years and older in the United States, or 71.5 million people, still use tobacco. Why? “Because cigarettes are highly addictive, making smoking one of the most difficult habits to ‘kick’. In fact, studies show that nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the United States,” states Lawrence Gilbert, Addiction Counselor at Shalom-Rapha.
Tobacco users and non-tobacco users need to be aware that second hand smoke (sidestream smoke) is more dangerous than exhaled smoke (mainstream smoke). A few facts about smoking and second hand smoke that most people are probably unaware of are as follows:
Through auriculotherapy and lifestyle changes those who are addicted to smoking can improve their health and the health of others around them by eliminating cravings for nicotine.
Auriculotherapy is described as “a non-invasive form of electrical stimulation to the external ear for the relief of pain and addictive behaviors.” Although the words “electrical stimulation” might cause some to cringe, the treatment actually causes very little, if any, discomfort. In fact, it was developed by the late Dr. Paul Nogier in order to use the principles of the ancient methods of Chinese Acupuncture without the needles. By stimulating specific points on the ear related to addictive behaviors, like smoking and drug and alcohol consumption, auriculotherapy is able to “intercept” messages sent by the body to the brain demanding more of these substances. Other points in the ear can be treated to improve breathing, taste and relaxation. “These changes are important in the recovery process from nicotine as well,” Gilbert says. “Results are usually felt immediately, reinforcing the psychological aspect that treatment is effective.”
In tandem with the auriculotherapy, Gilbert develops a treatment plan for each patient. “This consists of identifying triggers (people, places, things, situations) that support tobacco use,” explains Gilbert. “Alternative behaviors are identified and incorporated into daily routines that help to decrease or eliminate the triggers, which greatly reduce the cravings to use again.” As with all addictions to mood altering drugs, cravings are one of the primary causes of relapse and so should be aggressively targeted in treatment. To help minimize and even eliminate cravings, Shalom-Rapha uses a nicotine detoxification protocol, by changing brands of cigarettes, spread over a two to three week period, making withdrawal symptoms far less severe.
Gilbert uses auriculotherapy to help with a whole host of problems including pain relief, nervousness and weight loss, but he is especially impressed with its success in smoking cessation. “Of course, as with all addictions, the most important factor in smoking cessation is the patient’s desire to quit completely and not just stop for awhile,” says Gilbert.
“Auriculotherapy is not a ‘magic bullet’ to make you stop smoking, lifestyle changes reinforce the effectiveness of auriculotherapy to help work through the cravings.”
Lawrence Gilbert of Shalom-Rapha Behavioral Health is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. For more information on auriculotherapy or any other services provided by Shalom-Rapha: alcohol and drug assessments, individual psychotherapy, counseling for marriage, parenting, anger management, depression and anxiety issues, grief counseling or weight management, call Shalom-Rapha for your appointment today.