Everyone has heard for some time about the dangers smokers face and the damaged to their lungs. Life span decreases and the long term smoker has three things to look forward to:
Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the bladder (another real killer)
What smokers do not always realize is the day to day effect that smoking has on their body as a whole. Oddly enough smoking makes one very tense. I can usually tell that someone has a smoking habit when they enter the front door of the clinic. They have loud voices and are usually very physically tense. This is strange because most people who smoke say they do so because it helps them to feel relaxed, and it does. For about 20 minutes. Then the body experiences a sudden heightening of tension and another cigarette is required to slow things down again. It is a vicious cycle that leads to ever increasing levels of tension in the body.
On a physiological level, smoking causes smooth muscle contraction over the whole body. These smooth muscles comprise a great deal of our muscular system. They are in the blood vessels and arteries, in the lymphatic vessels, the bladder and the reproductive organs, they are found in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and in the iris and lens of the eyes. A chronic smoker will create a constant state of smooth muscle contraction and vasoconstriction in the vascular system. This means that the chemical signals from the inhaled smoke is interrupting the normal, regulatory contraction-relaxation process of these muscle tissues. Instead, they are kept alert, contracted, and end up stifling the flow of fluids- namely blood- throughout the body.
When blood is restricted from parts of the body, those dehydrated areas become affected. This dehydration leads to major malfunction later on. Some of the effects of this smooth muscle contraction over the years to, say, the reproductive organs is a high rate of erectile dysfunction in men, and a decrease in overall fertility in women, with the onset of menopause coming sometimes up to two full years early! Constant muscle contraction in the gastrointestinal tracts? Lack of blood flow and bile to the stomach, the liver, and the intestines, making food difficult to digest. This can lead to IBS, heartburn, colon issues and more. The heart and lungs rely on these smooth muscle tissues to function properly. Compressed blood vessels are the culprit for smokers’ tendencies towards high blood pressure, chronic muscle tension, and poor circulation throughout the body.
There are many programs available in the marketplace that supposedly helps to “stop smoking”. Most of them boast a 50% success rate. There are other dangers associated with the chemical supplements that are supposed to help one break the habit. But replacing one set of toxic chemicals with another is pure folly. To increase the success rate to an average of 80%, our clinic uses Chinese herbal medicine along with acupuncture therapy. Clinically this has a much better track record. The herbs, if administered properly, will create a great deal of relaxation in the body and the smoker simply doesn’t feel the need to smoke. If you combine this with a strong desire to quit the overall effect is quite successful.
Our typical protocol is to treat the patient with acupuncture 10 times over a three week period. Herbs are takes, usually three times each day over the three weeks as well. The patient feels remarkably relaxed and generally doesn’t touch a cigarette after the first visit. If you are ready to quit, we can help you. Call the clinic t 360.394.4357 to make a free consultation appointment, where we will assess your needs, design a program for you, and discuss the cost and insurance benefits you may be eligible to receive. We are open Monday through Thursday, from 7:30am – 7:00pm, and Friday from 7:30am – 5:00pm.