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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

NIHA Offers Innovative Smoking Cessation Program

Jan 04, 2014 03:59AM

Nicotine addiction is responsible for nearly one half of a million deaths per year in the United States and over five million deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The link between nicotine addiction and cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic psychiatric and medial disorders is irrefutable, yet our healthcare system offers smokers few safe, drug-free and effective options to help them quit. Outcome studies on the use of medication are dismal, and drug treatments are fraught with risky side effects. 

The benefit of any treatment, for any healthcare problem, is based on four variables; safety, efficacy, expense and difficulty of application. An integrative medicine approach, which combines energetic laser, conventional medicine (non-drug assistance), bionutritional and counseling methods, meets all of these standards. Dr. Charles Gant and the National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA), a leader in holistic and integrative medicine and biological dentistry, which has been serving the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area since 1995. To help give a tobacco dependent individual their best chance of quitting, Gant and NIHA are offering safe, effective, drug-free and natural assessments and therapeutic approaches for treatment of nicotine addiction. They have found that a combination of these strategies work the best, and this is where an integrative medicine approach can provide great results. 

NIHA’s Integrative Nicotine Cessation Program includes several components. The integrative approach begins with a one-hour intake counseling session using a combination of MI (motivational interviewing) and a mindfulness-based approach, to demonstrate to the smoker that they can find relief from their cravings. Generally, three brief follow-up counseling sessions are needed to ensure that the ex-smoker is clear on their intentions to remain abstinent and that they are capable of using mindfulness techniques to abolish cravings and other emotional distress, which can often emerge when nicotine is pulled away. Besides supportive counseling at each session, the ex-smoker will receive low-intensity laser therapy to certain acupuncture points, which can boost endorphin levels and decrease cravings. 

As part of the overall fee for service, the ex-smoker will receive a copy of Gant’s book, End Nicotine Addiction Now, which describes the science behind neurotransmitter replenishment and detoxification from the accumulated toxins that long term smokers accrue. These topics are briefly discussed during the counseling session, and the ex-smoker is repeatedly told that their biochemical imbalances, which compels them to reach out for tobacco, are not their fault. Vitamin, amino acid and other natural precursors are prescribed to help the ex-smoker naturally regenerate the depleted neurotransmitters acetylcholine, serotonin and dopamine in their brain, which usually and immediately reduces the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. 

To avoid the hassle of searching health food stores for the right amino acids and other precursors and prescribed vitamins and minerals, the ex-smoker receives a 10-day supply, as a part of their overall fee. These nutritional supplements are batched in cellophane packets to make their use simple and convenient and are needed to replenish the brain’s stress hormones and neurotransmitters that nicotine has robbed them of.

To rule out medical complications, the ex-smoker will also receive a brief history and physical exam and printed medical report. Their insurance company may reimburse them for a bona fide medical encounter. Sometimes there is nothing more reassuring than to find out that one’s physical exam is normal, and if it is not, the ex-smoker can be scheduled for more tests to determine the root cause of other concerns.

Before coming to NIHA, nicotine users are told to expect little or no cravings for tobacco after their first treatment and to assume that they will never need tobacco again. If relapse occurs, that is okay because relapse is part of the recovery process for a significant percentage of smokers, and they are told to not get down about it.  Sometimes it takes the supplements, the laser treatments and the mindfulness and motivation a week or so to sink in, before smokers can achieve success. 

Integrative medicine approaches like those described here for nicotine cessation are safe, natural, drug-free, effective and painless. They offer hope for those who have found it so hard to quit the use of tobacco and nicotine in the past, and for those who have been unsuccessful with other approaches.

For more information about NIHAs new smoking cessation program, call 202-237-7000 or visit


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