In this episode we take on the question of “Can acupuncture help me to quit smoking or lose weight?”

 Today’s Everyday Acupuncture Podcast question is answered by Michael Max, of the Yong Kang Chinese Medicine Clinic, in St. Louis, Mo.


I’m Michael Max from Yong Kang clinic in St Louis, MO.

It can help. But, if you think that it will magically make you do something your heart is not really set on, then you are wasting your time and money.

Now it could be that I’ve just not figured out how to use acupuncture to bring about miracouse habit change. But my experience so far is that habit change is a parcipaparoty sport. And what’s more all the homeostatic balances that hold your body in balance and health are working against you because the body, and the mind for that matter, does not like change.

How do you know this? Try changing your breakfast time. Or add some new foods to your diet. Immediately you’ll notice the friction that goes with change. Our habits might not be the best for us in the long run, but in the moment, our physiology is tuned more for maintaining the status quo than it is at promoting change. Your body has lived its way into it current balance and it has to live its way into a new one. And that takes time. Perhaps a season, or two for new behaviors to gain roots and old ones to wither and blow away.

As a patient of mine once said. “I’d like to get better at the fastest pace that nature will allow.” Now…. There’s some wisdom for you.

So back to the question, can acupuncture make you stop smoking or cause you to lose weight. I’d say not directly. But it is helpful for navigating the journey of change. It helps with the anxiety that arises when you’ve let go of someothing that previously calmed your jangled nerves. It helps with sitting with the emotions that you previously soothed with food, and it can help, again….in time…. With regulating the digestive and hormonal systems so your body runs with a slightly different metabolism.

Acupuncture will not force you to do something you don’t want to do. But it is a good traveling companion for those moments when you’ve grabbed the wheel of your life and charted a new course.

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