[Little Miss Acupunctured Ears]

At the tail end of a bad bout of flu / bronchitis recently I finally decided to give up my seven year smoking habit. This is not the first time I’ve done so however. My first attempt was actually on New Year’s Day in 2007. I lasted all of 6 hours. And only because I’d been so hungover that morning that I couldn’t bear to think of puffing a fag for the first few hours I was awake.

The second attempt came just last year. This time it was prescription drug Zyban that was chosen to help me along. The boyfriend, a chain-smoking aunt and I all opted to do it together. Strength in numbers and all of that. But I lasted just under 2 weeks, and there were more than a few stolen puffs in between. Eventually, on a Friday night spent with friends and a steady supply of alcohol, I realised I wasn’t quite ready to abandon my crutch just yet.

This time, however, something feels different. Granted, I have had up to two smokes each night after dinner, but this is a remarkable improvement for somebody who normally puffs her way through a pack a day. And when I do have that smoke, it tastes a bit icky, and makes me feel so woozy i don’t really want to finish it.

And it seems I have a quiet Chinese doctor and acupuncturist called Dr Chen to thank for this sudden about-turn. I met him a few days ago and am pleased to say that whatever he has done has helped big time!

Not knowing much at all about acupuncture, I was more than a little nervous, especially because I’d been expecting to have dozens of needles rammed into my skin at once. But Dr Chen was very reassuring as he proceeded to insert three small needles into each of my ear lobes. When the cravings hit, he told me, I would need to tap the plaster covering each of the needles 50 times. This releases the Qi (chi) or energy flow through these points and controls the cravings while inducing a state of calmness.

I usually get intense headaches and a stiff neck if I go without a smoke for more than two hours. But this time, nothing. Which is awesome. It has made it so much easier to convince my body that it does not need the 20 smokes I’ve been abusing it with for the last few years or months.

My partner will remove the needles this weekend and I then have five days of no treatment while I figure out whether I need a second session.

I hear acupuncture has other amazing benefits for the body, so at R170 (what I’d spend in about a week on cigs anyway), I’d say it’s entirely worth it.

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