Kick Butts: Beat Nicotine Cravings with Massage
A relaxing, 2-minute hand or ear self-massage cut cigarette cravings significantly in a month-long study of 20 men and women at the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute in Florida (Preventive Medicine, Jan 1999). Those who performed this simple technique reduced daily cigarette use from 16 to 1, and reported better moods, less anxiety, and fewer and less intense nicotine cravings.
Self-massage alone won’t help smokers quit, but it would be an excellent addition to other treatments such as the nicotine patch, says Maria Hernandez-Reif, PhD, director of research at the institute and lead study author. It may also help ex-smokers curb cravings. The best part? It’s free; you can do it anywhere; and all it takes is your hands.
Anticraving Ear Massage
- Pinch your ear, working from the top down to your earlobe.
- Using your index finger, stroke the inside of your ear, around the outside of the canal, and along the grooves. (Do not put your finger in your ear canal.)
- Gently tug your earlobe.
- Stroke the back of your ear with your index finger.
- Massage the upper and outer areas of the front and back of your ear with your thumb and index finger.
Anticraving Hand Massage
- With your thumb, massage the palm of your other hand with circular motions.
- Using your thumb and index finger, massage each finger of the opposite hand from base to fingertip.
- Stretch your fingers by gently pushing them up and back with the palm of your other hand.
- For 30 seconds, firmly press the webbing between your thumb and index finger, using the thumb of your other hand on top and your index finger underneath.