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Healing the Ex-smoker

If you’re thinking about stopping smoking there are lots of ways we can assist nutritionally and also aesthetically.
Naturopathically we view ill health as the accumulation of toxins in the body and the effects those toxins have on us. Smokers can accumulate a cocktail of chemicals during their years of smoking. These are too many to list here, but include formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide.

The length of time a person smokes is more relevant to the effect on health than is the amount of cigarettes smoked. It is more risky to smoke 20 cigarettes per day for 40 years than to smoke 40 cigarettes per day for 20 years.
Smoking cigars or a pipe is more damaging to the health than smoking cigarettes because of the depth of inhalation.

We are all aware that smoking causes cancer, cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. And, smoking helps keep some professions busy. Plastic surgeons receive more business because the level of damage to the skin causes excessive slackening due to depletion of collagen. Cigarettes and nicotine destroy the collagen that holds the skin together. Wrinkles and sagging skin can result. Homeopathic immunotherapy is a natural way of feeding revitalising nutrients into the skin enabling it to regain it’s tone again, and along with a healing diet and supplement regime can help to overcome smoking’s chronic effects to health.

It has been found that levels of addiction vary with different substances. Salt is the strongest addiction that we face after tasting it for the first time. One time is enough to want it again. Chocolate is the second most addictive substance due to chemicals that act as painkiller and antidepressant.

The third most addictive substance is nicotine and when we consider that opiates come twelfth on the list we can appreciate how difficult it must be to give up smoking. It’s actually easier to give up heroin than to give up nicotine.

The decision to stop smoking is a big step but one you have to feel strongly enough about to conquer your addiction. Stopping smoking requires professional help, perhaps utilising the assistance of a qualified hypnotherapist. With the help of certain foods, herbs, and nutrients utilised in nutritional therapy we offer support through the cravings and other symptoms experienced by the ex-smoker making it an easier.

Nutritional therapy can help repair the damage and support symptoms that crop up during the body’s change and adaptation to a new smoke free life.

Ideally you should begin with a combination of hypnotherapy and nutritional therapy before you begin to stop smoking. This way we can build a foundation and plan ahead to support you through symptoms e.g. curb the cravings that usually start two hours after quitting. Some people experience dizzy spells and a shortness of breath after two days of stopping smoking but our remedies can help prevent or lessen these symptoms. On a positive note an increase in taste and enhanced sense of smell may be experienced at this stage.

A difficult point for people can occur after two weeks because symptoms such as coughing, sinus congestion, shortness of breath and fatigue may cause you to start smoking again. But it’s important to adhere to the nutritional protocols and diet to overcome these symptoms more quickly. However, we can understand why these symptoms occur. When you smoke you burn mucous membranes and the body naturally starts to produce mucous to coat the lining of the nose, sinuses, stomach and intestines, oesophagus and bronchial tubes for protection. It’s at this two week stage that the mucous starts to come off. Naturopathically the body starts to cough this protective mucous away. This process of removing the mucous takes 6-8 weeks. When the digestive system mucous comes away it may cause vomiting and diarrhoea. However, dietary measures, herbs and detoxification can assist with removing this mucous more smoothly and rapidly allowing for an easier, smoother transition.

Two months later there is usually an improvement in circulation because the body is getting more oxygen into it.
It takes 3 months for the cilia in the nose, oesophagus, bronchial tubes and the villi in the intestine to recover. By this time a big difference is noted in the ease of coughing and expectoration and in the sense of taste and smell. Naturally, diet can speed recovery of the mucous membranes and ease any discomfort.

Without any nutritional support the following is likely to occur. During the first five years fatigue and anemia may be experienced and the immune system may be compromised. After five years haematological parameters return to the same level of non smokers causing haemoglobin and leukocytes to return to normal indicating an immune system function on par with non smokers. At five years the ex-smoker can be considered a non-smoker. Only at 15 years can the risk of cancer be at the same level as a non smoker. However, nutritional measures can speed up the healing of immune function and repair the damage caused by free radicals.

Weight gain may follow smoking cessation because now foods can be tasted and/or the hands replace cigarettes with sweets. Levels of leptin (an appetite suppressing protein) are decreased in the ex-smoker and this slows down the metabolic rate. However, the average weight gain is between 5lbs and 8lbs and is lost naturally within the first two years when leptin levels normalise.
Research has shown that smokers tend to generally have a poor diet consuming an increased level of total fat, saturated fat and alcohol over non-smokers. Hypnotherapy and nutritional therapy can assist in helping you with diet and lifestyle changes.

Nutritional therapy can greatly help reduce discomfort and irritation during the difficult times and rebuild the body much quicker than just stopping smoking. It takes time to fully heal but you can achieve this much quicker with the use of diet and our recommended supplementation. 

We recommend a nutritional consultation and a series of four sessions with Anne Nicol, our visiting hypnotherapist.