ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
HELP TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A LOW CAL BUDGET
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Barefoot Best for Running?
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
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
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma 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.