Quit Smoking Aids: Massage, Essential Oils, and Self Care
When you're ready to stop smoking, use as many quit smoking aids as you need to increase your chances for success. Let's look at how massage, essential oils, and self care can help.
Massage to Quit Smoking
While a professional massage is a great way to relax and let go of
anxiety, a little self-massage may be useful as a quit smoking aid. A
small 1999 study found
that participants who did hand or ear self-massage three times a day
reported less anxiety, better mood, and fewer withdrawal symptoms. So,
it might help to massage your hands or ears when you feel a carving to
Here's a simple hand massage to quit smoking:
- Use the thumb or fingers of one hand to make circular motions on the palm and sides of the other hand. Use a comfortable amount of pressure.
- Use the fingers of one hand to massage each finger on the other hand. Start at the bottom of the finger and massage to the top, gently bending the finger back as you finish massaging it.
- Use one hand's thumb and index finger to squeeze the webbing between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Hold for 30 seconds.
To massage your ear, hold the lobe between your thumb and index finger. Start at one end of the ear lobe, and massage with gentle circles to the other end. You can also apply direct pressure to specific points.
Relaxation to Reduce Anxiety
Relaxation techniques are also useful to relieve anxiety. Here's one simple exercise:
- With your eyes closed, tense all the muscles in your body and then relax them as much as you can.
- Inhale deeply, dropping you arms by your sides and dropping your chin to your chest. Hold your breath briefly.
- Slowly exhale and keep breathing out until you can’t breathe out any more, while imagining all the stress and tension flowing out of your body through your fingers and toes.
- Repeat steps 1 - 3 three times.
Repeat this relaxation exercise as often as needed.
Essential Oils to Stop Smoking
One small study suggested black pepper essential oil might relieve the withdrawal symptoms of stopping smoking. Another small study
compared the effects of inhaling black pepper and
angelica essential oils on nicotine cravings. Both oils reduced
nicotine craving and created a longer delay before the next tobacco use. Black pepper reduced craving more than angelica did, while angelica created a longer delay than black
Possibly the biggest benefit can come from using aromatherapy for its calming effects. Calming essential oils that you can diffuse include:
- Clary sage
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
In The Fragrant Mind, Valerie Ann Worwood lists the following essential oils as useful when ending an addition:
- Rose Otto
Other essential oils that might help:
- Black pepper
To make a personal aromatherapy inhaler to quit smoking, add a few drops of essential oil to the wick of the inhaler and sniff as needed.
You can also use an aromatherapy diffuser to diffuse the essential oil into the air.
Self Care As Quit Smoking Aids
Here are more self-care tips to help you stop smoking:
- Schedule healthy, pleasurable activities on a regular basis, including seeing a professional massage therapist.
- Hypnosis has helped people quit smoking. See a professional hypnotherapist or try a self-hypnosis technique to stop smoking. Some research also suggests meditation is helpful.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps your body function better by helping move out metabolic waste products through the circulatory systems and kidneys. You want all that nicotine out of your body!
- If you enjoy saunas, steam baths, or hot tubs, and don't have a condition that precludes their use, sweating can also help your body release the stored nicotine.
- Regular exercise also helps you sweat. Plus, it can help improve how you feel by making your circulation better and releasing endorphins (hormones that cause you to feel good).
- Be patient. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances around. Letting go of that addiction may take time. Focus on developing good habits that will last your lifetime.
No smoking graphic credit: Tomasz Steifer, Gdansk (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons