ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
CANCER
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
U.S. Reported 25,000 Cases of HPV-Related Cancers Annually
CAREGIVING
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Hispanic Children More Likely to Have Hearing Loss
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
EYE CARE, VISION
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Run for Your Life
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Spread of Swine Flu in Japan Could Raise WHO Alert to Highest Level
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Add your Article

Quit Smoking the Holistic Way

Tobacco addiction is a great paradox of our time. Over 50 million Americans smoke, despite the well known dire consequences. Lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and stroke, are just some the deadly diseases that cigarette smokers risk for their habit. Cigarettes kill more people than alcohol, illegal drugs, traffic accidents, suicide, and homicide combined.

These frightening statistics notwithstanding, anyone who's ever tried quitting knows it's easier said than done. Nicotine is the most addictive substance consumed by humans. For every method ever tried for giving up cigarettes, there are countless numbers of smokers who have failed miserably. Although some succeed, millions more invest their money, effort and belief in hypnosis, affirmations, patches, gums, drugs, diets, exercises and psychoanalysis, only to smoke again and lose faith in themselves as well as their chosen technique. Clearly, a fundamentally different approach is needed.

The holistic method takes a multi-dimensional view of the complex problem of nicotine addiction and habit modification. It doesn't rely on one or two techniques; rather, it combines as many as possible and addresses the life of the entire person body, mind, and spirit.

The following is a synopsis of a successful program I designed for a client named Mat, who had previously tried and failed to quit smoking. Aside from the comprehensive lifestyle program, I believe Mat succeeded this time for key reasons:

The time was right and he had a fundamental desire to change.
He believed in and followed the chosen program.
We established a strong, working therapeutic relationship.

First, Mat listed all the liabilities of smoking. These ranged from offensive odor to early death, and included the monetary costs, illness, weakness, low self-esteem, and exile to cold back porches.

Next, Mat wrote down all the benefits of quitting: feeling and looking better, less illness, lower disease risks, a longer life to share with his family, cleaner and fresher clothes, more energy, more money, a sense of accomplishment, independence from addiction and the tobacco industry. Mat posted his list where he could see it every day. (I also suggest keeping a copy in your pocket or bag.)

Mat had previously failed using the sudden-stop "cold turkey" method, so he chose a gradual taper-off program this time. He would consume one less cigarette per day for a month until his target "Freedom Day."

He created and reinforced "positive habits," such as exercise, sports, yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques. He did daily positive affirmations such as "I enjoying being smoke-free and healthy."

He was also encouraged to foster his creativity and artistic expression. A high school English teacher, Mat chose journal-keeping, but each candidate for quitting should practice his own art form -- visual, musical, or literary. The idea is to create an optimal wellness, holistic lifestyle. Every possible positive personal change is made at the same time one is quitting cigarettes. This improves feelings and functioning, compensates for the agonies of withdrawal, and significantly increases the chances of success.

Although Mat and I mentally rehearsed facing challenges and dealing with setbacks, he never once lapsed from his one-less-a-day cigarette reduction program. The whole experience encouraged both of us to write down what we had done. The following are key ingredients in the holistic quit-smoking program.
Get physical

From a holistic health counseling perspective, any lasting behavioral change must have physical components. Get plenty of exercise, do yoga, take a sauna, get massaged, eat a vegetarian cleansing diet, try a therapeutic fast and high colonic irrigation, and take your vitamins. Involve all the senses in your re-programming techniques. Play soothing classical music while visualizing yourself moving coolly and undaunted through a crowd of smokers. Fill your home with fresh flowers as you welcome the return of your olfactory senses.
Enlist support

Notify family, friends, and co-workers of your intention to quit. Ask for their patience and support. Get encouragement from successful ex-smokers.
Expect success

Visualize it. Plan on it. Write it down. Record your goals, process, insights, and dreams. Study yourself.
Expect setbacks

See them as temporary obstacles to be overcome. Be flexible. A momentary lapse does not equal failure. I told Mat that if he must smoke, he should at least enjoy the cigarette.

In moments of temptation, change everything possible about your immediate environment. Ideally, you could go outdoors and do deep-breathing exercises in good clean, fresh air. At the very least, stop whatever you are doing, stretch, relax and think before proceeding. It's amazing how a little strategic meditation can get us beyond our most trying moments.
Invest in your success

A financial stake in the outcome is a good motivator. Mat invested nearly $500 for his two months of smoking cessation counseling services. Sometimes money symbolizes faith and fosters determination.
Reward yourself

When you achieve your goals, use self-reward for a job well done. Promise yourself gifts that you can look forward to.
The Good News

Kicking the smoking habit brings rewards that are worth the considerable effort it takes.

People who quit, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke.
Smokers who quit before age 50 have half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with those who continue to smoke.
Quitting smoking substantially decreases the risk of lung, laryngeal, esophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder, and cervical cancers.
Benefits of cessation include risk reduction for other major diseases including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. (source: American Cancer Society)

If you are serious about quitting smoking, start by setting a target date, enlist a support team, think positively, and begin making as many healthy changes as possible. Addiction is a powerful psycho-physical force, but with the right whole-life program in place, it can be defeated.

Lonny J. Brown is the author of "Self-Actuated Healing" (Naturegraph, Publ.), "Enlightenment In Our Time" (BookLocker.com), and the online column, The Holistic Mystic (TheMetaArts.com). His writings on holistic health have appeared on AOL's Alternative Medicine Forum and in Alternative Health Practitioner, Yoga Journal, and many other progressive publications. Brown teaches holistic health, mind/body healing, and stress reduction courses at hospitals, schools and businesses throughout the U.S.