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About Addiction

Addiction is now the biggest preventable killer in Britain, causing at least around 150,000 deaths a year (1,700 related to drug addiction, 33,000 related to alcohol addiction and 120,000 related to tobacco addiction).

Smoking has a detrimental impact on all major systems of the human body, in particular, the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. In Chinese medicine, smoking weakens the lung’s function of commanding the overall movement of Qi (body’s essential energy) and blood in the meridians (the channels through which Qi circulates). This is caused by the accumulation of heat in the lungs and stomach, which in turn causes fire in the heart and/or stagnation of liver Qi (liver’s own essential energy). Hence withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, palpitations, mood swings and restlessness occur.

Alcohol addiction, like tobacco addiction and drug addiction, can cause irreversible damage to all the major organs in the human body (although a moderate amount of alcohol under certain circumstances can be beneficial for health).

Chinese Medical View

Studies have shown that Chinese Medicine can reduce the craving for cigarettes and other addictive substances and the World Health Organisation has agreed that Acupuncture has a therapeutic effect on dependence of tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, heroin and opium*.

According to CM theory, Chinese Medicine treats the withdrawal symptoms caused by addictions and reduces the cravings. Our patients after treatment often report a dislike for the smell of tobacco and any craving stops when they press ear points with herbal seeds on (this is called ear acupuncture where either herbal seeds or metal studs are plastered on to certain points on the ears).

Acupuncture and Herbs are used according to Chinese Medicine theory to stimulate detoxification, promote a heightened sense of relaxation, encourage endorphin production in order to overcome addiction, help the body cope with stress, improve circulation and promote mental wellbeing.

The length of treatment depends on the patient’s response and on the severity and duration of the addiction. Drug addiction has also been shown to benefit from Chinese medical treatment.

Treatment for addiction can be effective only if the patient is determined to change.

Please note that although we are confident in our treatments, we cannot guarantee a cessation of addiction as the needs and difficulties of each patient can differ greatly.

+ *Clinical trials

Margolin A et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of cocaine dependence in methadone-maintained patients. American Journal of Addiction, 1993, 2(3):194-201.

Washburn AM et al. Acupuncture heroin detoxification: a single-blind clinical trial. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 1993, 10:345-351.

Clavel F et al. [A study of various smoking cessation programs based on close to 1000 volunteers recruited from the general population: 1-month results.] Revue Epidemiologique de Santé Publique, 1990, 38(2):133-138 [in French].

Fang YA. [Clinical study on giving up smoking with acupuncture.] Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1983, 2(2):30-31 [in Chinese].

He D et al. Effects of acupuncture on smoking cessation or reduction for motivated smokers. Preventive Medicine, 1997, 26(2):208-214.

Waite NR et al. A single-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a simple acupuncture treatment in the cessation of smoking. British Journal off General Practice, 1998, 48(433):1487-1490.

White AR et al. Randomized trial of acupuncture for nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1998, 158(20):2251-2255.

White AR et al. [Smoking cessation with acupuncture? A ‘best evidence synthesis’]. Forschende Komplimentarmedizin, 1997, 4(2):102-105 [in German].

Bullock ML et al. Controlled trial of acupuncture for severe recidivist alcoholism. Lancet, 1990, 335:20-21.

Bullock ML et al. Acupuncture treatment of alcoholic recidivism: a pilot study. American Journal of Acupuncture, 1987, 15(4):313-320.

Bullock ML et al. Controlled trial of acupuncture for severe recidivist alcoholism. Lancet, 1989, 1:1435-1439.

Thorer H et al. Acupuncture after alcohol consumption: a sham controlled assessment. Acupuncture-Medicine, 1996, 14(2):63-67.

Clavel F et al. Helping people to stop smoking: randomized comparison of groups being treated with acupuncture and nicotine gum with control group. British Medical Journal, 1985, 291:1538-1539.

Bullock ML et al. Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of cocaine abuse: a study of efficacy and dosing. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 1999, 16(1):31-38.