How AcuQuit® works

AcuQuit® uses laser technology combined with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine theory. The treatment has been designed to reduce the physical symptoms of nicotine addiction and withdrawal.

Our treatment objectives are to reduce cravings, irritability, stress and anxiety, release endorphins and promote general health and well being.

Other symptoms include short-temper, inability to focus, depressed mood and sleeplessness.

What happens during a treatment?

During our quit smoking treatment a low level laser (no more powerful than a lightbulb) is applied to points on your hands, legs and ears. The overall treatment time is 30 minutes. Some clients may feel the sensation from the low-level laser which is described as a warm, pulsating and sometimes tingling. The Laser treatment itself is non-invasive, non-thermal and drug free.

How exactly does this treatment work?

There are several possible mechanisms in which Laser Acupuncture may be working in the quit smoking process.

1/ Stimulating the Central Nervous System

One of the most important mechanisms underlying acupuncture is its action on the central nervous system. Acupuncture interventions stimulate peripheral nerves to generate relevant effects in the central nervous system. Research suggests that stimulation of different points on the body causes distinct responses in hemodynamic, fMRI and central neural electrophysiological responses. [1]

2/ Endorphins and Neurotransmitters

Acupuncture stimulation causes the release of endorphins, serotonin, enkephalins, adenosine, γ-amino-butyric acid (GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain), norepinephrine, and dopamine. [2] Endorphins are endogenous opioids released from the pituitary gland in your body that signal your system to increase energy levels and decrease stress. Endorphins are believed to mediate analgesia, induce euphoria, and play a role in the reward system in the brain. It has been suggested that endorphins are responsible for creating the relaxed psychological state known as “runner’s high”. [3]

3/ Opioid Activity and Withdrawal
Research suggests that opioidergic activity plays a role in addictions by mediating the development of reinforcing qualities of certain activities and substances. [2]

Animal experiments have suggested that Acupuncture might have effects on the acute withdrawal syndrome (Cheng 1980 [4]; Choy 1978 [5]; Han 1993 [6]; Ng 1975 [7]).

In a classic paper, opioid peptides were released during the acute administration of acupuncture in association with relief of withdrawal symptoms in humans (Clement-Jones 1979 [8]).

Acupuncture can modify the nicotine-induced locomotor activity and neural activity in the nucleus accumbens (Chae 2004 [9]), which is known to be a site that is crucial for chemical dependence.

Acupuncture may attenuate anxiety-like behavior following nicotine withdrawal by modulating corticotrophin-releasing factor in the amygdala. [10]

Is there evidence that Laser treatment works?

There are many research articles available examining Acupuncture’s role in addiction and the potential for treatment to reduce and eliminate dependency.

Laser Acupuncture had an 84% success rate in recent research (Lim 2018) with many participants reporting they no longer had the urge to smoke. [11]

Laser acupoint stimulation does indeed modify the physical symptoms of withdrawal and makes it possible for motivated persons to succeed in overcoming habitual smoking of tobacco, concluded a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized study. [12]

The most recent Cochrane Systematic Review (White 2014) states that the 2008 Kerr study on laser stimulation is strongly positive at both short and long-term outcomes. [13]

Earlier research had shown that Laser Acupuncture had a 71% success rate in heavy smoking patients. [14]

This external research suggests that Laser Acupuncture treatments and protocols may provide beneficial outcomes however other papers did not have the same findings so the evidence is regarded as mixed. The AcuQuit treatment is unique and so treatment methods and results will vary from available research. We encourage patients to make an informed decision knowing that success cannot be guaranteed with our treatment.

Therapies used

There are several therapies and techniques used during our treatment.

Laser Acupuncture

We use laser to stimulate Acupuncture points on the body. Upon request and under certain circumstances Traditional Acupuncture needles may be used.


Magnetic Auricular (Ear) Therapy

Magnetic Auricular therapy involves the use of magnetic beads placed on Acupuncture points located on the inner surface of the ear. The ear contains an Acupuncture microsystem which can be stimulated much like real Acupuncture through the use of magnets. Ear points are chosen with the focus on reducing cravings and reducing anxiety.


Lifestyle Education

We will educate clients with advice and techniques that can be used after the treatment. These guidelines are designed to help identify possible triggers and to prevent any potential relapse.



The desired outcome of the treatment is for the client to leave the clinic and to not experience any cravings or withdrawal symptoms. If this reduction in physical symptoms can be achieved and sustained then the client should be able to quit smoking cigarettes for good.

More Questions?

For more information about our treatment including pricing click here.


[1] Point specificity in acupuncture. Choi EM1, Jiang F, Longhurst JC. Chin Med. 2012 Feb 28;7:4. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-7-4. Link

[2] An Historical Review and Perspective on the Impact of Acupuncture on U.S. Medicine and Society. Lu DP, Lu GP. Med Acupunct. 2013 Oct;25(5):311-316. Link

[3] Endorphins, Exercise, and Addictions: A Review of Exercise Dependence. Andrea Leuenberger. Journal: Impulse (The Premier Journal for Undergraduate Publications in the Neurosciences) Issue: 2006 Link

[4] Cheng RS, Pomeranz B, Yu G. Electroacupuncture treatment of morphine-dependent mice reduces signs of withdrawal, without showing cross-tolerance. European Journal of Pharmacology 1980;68:477-81. Link

[5] Choy YM, Tso WW, Fung KP, Leung KC, Tsang YF, Lee CY, et al. Suppression of narcotic withdrawals and plasma ACTH by auricular electroacupuncture. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 1978;82:305-9. Link

[6] Han JS, Zhang RL. Suppression of morphine abstinence syndrome by body electroacupuncture of different frequencies in rats. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 1993;31:169-75. Link

[7] Ng LKY, Douthitt TC, Thoa NB, Albert CA. Modification of morphine-withdrawal syndrome in rats following transauricular stimulation: an experimental paradigm for auricular acupuncture. Biological Psychiatry 1975;10:575-80. Link

[8] Clement-Jones V, McLoughlin L, Lowry PJ, Besser GM, Rees LH, Wen HL. Acupuncture in heroin addicts: changes in met-enkephalin and beta-endorphin in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Lancet 1979;2:380-3. Link

[9] Chae Y, Yang CH, Kwon YK, Kim MR, Pyun KH, Hahm DH. Acupuncture attenuates repeated nicotine-induced behavioral sensitization and c-Fos expression in the nucleus accumbens and striatum of the rat. Neuroscience Letters 2004;358(2):87-90. Link

[10] Effect of acupuncture on anxiety-like behavior during nicotine withdrawal and relevant mechanisms. Chae Y1, Yeom M, Han JH, Park HJ, Hahm DH, Shim I, Lee HS, Lee H. Neurosci Lett. 2008 Jan 10;430(2):98-102. Epub 2007 Oct 30. Link

[11] Painless Laser Acupuncture for Smoking Cessation. Rodney Choon Huat Lim. Med Acupunct. 2018 Jun 1; 30(3): 159–162. Link

[12] Low level laser for the stimulation of acupoints for smoking cessation: a double blind, placebo controlled randomised trial and semi structured interviews. Catherine M. Kerr, Paul B. Lowe & Neil I. Spielholz. Link

[13] White AR, Rampes H, Liu JP, Stead LF, Campbell J. Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014(1):Cd000009. Link

[14] Laser-acupuncture reduces cigarette smoking: a preliminary report. Zalesskiy VN, Belousova IA, Frolov GV. Acupunct Electrother Res. 1983;8(3-4):297-302. Link