Ayurvedic Approach To Breaking The Nicotine Habit

HEALTH, Jan 27 (VNN)

Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking knows how difficult it can be. However, whether you've already tried or are thinking about it, this Ayurvedic approach can help make the difficult job of quitting easier.

Don't get discouraged. It took time to learn how to smoke, and it will take time to learn how to stop.

Once you give up smoking, you'll find your body responds with some immediate changes. Your heart rate and blood pressure begin to return to normal. Breathing becomes easier. And you lower your risk of getting heart attacks and other serious smoking related illnesses.

People have very powerful reasons for quitting, besides their health. But smoking is deadly. In fact, smoking kills over 400,000 Americans every year. That's more than alcohol, suicides, homicides, fires, illegal drugs, and AIDS combined.

You've probably heard about nicotine and tar, but did you know that cigarette smoke also contains 4,000 dangerous chemicals, including the following? Ammonia (found in floor cleaners); Formaldehyde (for preservation of cadavers); Arsenic (rat poison); Methane (rocket fuel); Butane (lighter fluid); Cadmium (toxic metal in batteries); Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison); and Carbon Monoxide (car exhaust) are just some of the toxic substances found in cigarettes.

Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco. Studies have shown nicotine to be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate each time you smoke. Because of its addictive nature, when the level of nicotine in your blood lowers, you may reach for a cigarette without even thinking about it. What you are actually doing is treating withdrawal symptoms of nicotine.

Smoking Related Diseases
One out of two smokers will die from smoking related diseases. The following are some of the most common:
Cancer (lip, mouth, throat, larynx, bladder, pancreas, stomach, cervix, and kidney)
Cardiovascular Disease
Low birthweight
Lung cancer
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Premature birth

The first step to quitting is to set a date. Mark a specific day on your calendar so you can prepare for it. Choose an auspicious day. But don't delay too long waiting for the 'perfect' occasion. Remember, there's no time like the present.

Choose A Method
There are many ways to quit, and different methods suit different people. They all fall under one of two general categories:

Sudden - For most people this is the most successful way. It means stopping suddenly and complete. One day you smoke, the next you don't.

Gradual - If you're very dependent on nicotine, try cutting down by 5-10 cigarettes a day. Then set a date to give them all up. Be warned, this method takes time and it is easy to lose your determination.

Whatever method you use, concentrate on getting through each day without smoking, one day at a time.

If you slip, don't panic. And whatever you do, don't give up on your plan to quit. Many successful quitters have made several serious attempts. In fact, it takes the average smoker seven times to quit for good. Try to identify what went wrong and give it another shot. Go back and use this article as your personal instruction manual and resource.

Withdrawal symptoms you experience are actually good news. They mean your body is flushing out the harmful tobacco chemicals. They won't last long; usually between a few days and two to three weeks.

Ayurvedic Strategies Removing nicotine, tar and other toxic compounds from the organism requires addressing the three intake channels (udak-water, prana-air, and anna-food), as well as the dhatus (tissues). Toxins in the former are more easily eliminated than in the latter.

To deal with nicotine, tar and other toxic compounds in the channels, please consider these recommendations:
drink plenty of cool (not cold) water, better yet if it is kept in a container made of copper, which scrapes away ama (toxic deposits); perform neti kriya morning and night (with the help of a neti pot, allow room-temperature normal saline solution to enter one nostril and flow out the other; then, reverse.); and, practice bhastrika pranayama, morning and night, to expel contaminants in the upper airways (any good hatha yoga manual will have simple instructions).

For nicotine, tar and other toxic compounds already deposited in the dhatus: take three tablets or one rounded tablespoon of triphala every night, before bedtime; take a constitutionally appropriate rasayana every morning, such as Chyavanaprash, which will help detoxification; and submit to Pancakarma (purification therapies) on a seasonal basis (this must be done under the supervision of a Vaidya).

Please note that some may experience between 3 to 5 pounds of weight gain. It's normal, although not everyone gains weight. Remember, putting on weight for a while is not nearly as harmful as smoking. You can loose the weight later.

If you feel that you need more help or support during any part of this process, consider the following options:
Try joining Quit Smoking classes.
Seek counseling
Ask your health care provider for help.

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