I am a homeopath, nutritional therapist and hypnotherapist so when dealing with addiction problems tend to utilise all these approaches. For the purpose of this item let us imagine that the patient would like to give up smoking.
In my role as a homeopath I take a fairly detailed case history and find it easiest to do this by first asking about the general health of the parents and grandparents. If they are dead I ask the client how old those relations were when they died and what they died from, etc. I then ask the client to tell me about their own lives and to facilitate this I suggest they break their life into 7 year segments. That is to say starting with the period from age 1–7, I ask them to tell me about major events. This might include illnesses, emotional upsets, family dramas, accidents, first experiences at school and so on. Moving on I ask them to recall the main events that happened in their lives between the ages 7- 14. This continues until they reach their present age. It is not unusual for some patients to cry when telling their stories. They often remark that ‘I’d forgotten (suppressed) that till now'.
When the client looks back and reviews those experiences it is easier for them to understand just why their body might now be showing a few signs of strain! It is not often that people have a sympathetic ear for them to be able to talk about their lives in this way. Most find it a healing exercise. It also puts them at ease to realise that the practitioner is not shocked or judgmental about any event they may have experienced. I usually look at the most recent year in their life in a bit more detail. The whole case-taking may sound long winded, but need not take very long. I feel it is worthwhile as one is able to gain a remarkable insight into the life of the client.
Of course, in the case of a smoker, the time and circumstances when that habit began would be apparent. After completing the case history I have a pretty good idea of the constitutional type of the person concerned or, at least I know a homeopathic remedy that will be helpful to them.
Moving on to the nutritional front I usually ask the client to bring a list of everything they have eaten and drunk for an average 3 days i.e. the first thing they eat or drink on rising and then a note of everything they consume throughout the day for 3 days. The very act of doing this gives the client an awareness of the amount of junk they subject their body to each day. Hypoglycaemia or the danger of developing it becomes fairly obvious when looking at this sort of list. It seems to me that most smokers suffer from a degree of hypoglycaemia. The act of smoking gives them a temporary lift but, of course, within half an hour, the blood sugar level will have dropped and they will want some kind of stimulant to get them going again. I think it important that they are advised to cut out or reduce their coffee intake, limit the junk consumed and try to present unrefined carbohydrate to their digestive systems in frequent small amounts.
Hypnotherapy can be used in various ways. It is sometimes as well to speak about relaxation or meditation rather than hypnosis as the word is inclined to put some people on their guard. They are so afraid of losing control. Of course people do not loose control in hypnosis, but there are so many misconceptions about it and some people do fear it. In the relaxed or meditative state the subconscious mind is much more accessible and it is a good moment to implant positive suggestions regarding the advantages of not smoking.
Having covered the patient’s history, food and mood here are some further suggestions about helping a client give up smoking or any other addiction.
It is important that the body is not forced to do something that at a conscious level it prefers not to do. At the subconscious level the body does know what is best for it. The key here is to encourage the smoker to silently observe his situation and not to make a judgement. He must not TRY to give up the addiction – but rather it has to be done effortlessly. Against the usual advice, my view (in the case of a smoker) is that it is best NOT to throw away whatever cigarettes the potential non-smoker has in his possession. Throwing the cigarettes away can cause a panic situation and he will find it unhelpful to have buy some more or have to scrounge a cigarette from his friends, etc.
Most smokers are aware of the cues that get them to light a cigarette. For example after a cup of coffee, when the phone rings, after switching on the television and so on. Usually they will perform the act of lighting a cigarette quite unconsciously. The way forward is to make that action conscious. The individual should become very conscious of his body and with that heightened awareness ask the body if it wants to smoke. Curious as it may seem they may then hear their body reply to that mentally posed question – perhaps the lungs will wheeze or the body will attempt to cough? The obvious interpretation is that the body does not want to smoke.
If they are unable to resist the habit or addiction of smoking then they should allow themselves to have a cigarette, but not following the usual cue. The smoking should be done absolutely consciously. The lighting process should be begin at a moment when they would not normally be smoking and they should allow themselves to do it slowly and be aware of every reaction that the body has to the poisons entering their body. In this way they will soon be able to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke and later be able to stop completely without a struggle.
Article written by Barrie Anson
Barrie is based in Somerset but also practices in Hampshire and Dorset. His book Ancient Wisdom – Present Day Healing presents some unusual thoughts about complementary practice and true holistic healing. It is available at http://bookshop.chis-uk.org.uk
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