Smokers, take note: Chinese meditation technique offers hope

In 2010, Kentucky had the second highest rate of adult smokers in the U.S., with 24.8 percent of the adult population — or 1.1 million adults — smoking, according to statistics from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Only West Virginia, at 26.8 percent, had a higher percentage of adult smokers.

So, what can Kentuckians do to cut the cigarette habit?  A Chinese meditation technique may contain the answer. And the kicker is, smokers don’t even need to focus on quitting smoking to be successful.

A study by Texas Tech University and the University of Oregon “looked at the effect of the mindfulness meditation known as
Integrative Body-Mind Training on the pathways in the brain
related to addiction and self-control, discovered that by practicing the
meditation exercise, smokers curtailed their habit by 60 percent. The
control group that received a relaxation regimen instead showed no
reduction in their smoking,” reports Newswise, a research-reporting service.

Yi-Yuan Tang, a co-author and director of Texas Tech’s Neuroimaging Institute, told Newswise, “We found that participants who received IBMT training also experienced a
significant decrease in their craving for cigarettes. Because mindfulness meditation promotes personal control and has been
shown to positively affect attention and an openness to internal and
external experiences, we believe that meditation may be helpful for
coping with symptoms of addiction.”

The study group consisted of 27 young-adult smokers who averaged 10
cigarettes a day. Fifteen participants received the meditation training over a two-week period. “After two and four weeks, five of the responding smokers whose smoking
had been significantly reduced after IBMT reported that they were
continuing to maintain the improvement,” Newswise reports.

Researchers wrote that “the apparent ability to enhance self-control
and reduce stress could make the practice useful in reducing smoking and
craving ‘even in those who have no intention to quit smoking'” as well
as treating individuals with other addictions,” Newswise reports. “The meditation regime,
they wrote, ‘does not force participants to resist craving or quit
smoking; instead it focuses on improving self-control capacity to handle
craving and smoking behavior.’” (Read more)

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