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Texas Researchers Look At Meditation To Help Smokers Quit

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Most people know that smokers wanting to kick the habit can try an array of pills and patches, but researchers at Texas Tech University say they have found success using ancient Chinese secrets.

Specifically, the research involved a type of meditation called Integrative Body-Mind Training or BMT.

Study co-author Professor Michael Posner says the mediation, which promotes personal control, focuses the brain on something other than a smoke break. Posner said it’s difficult for a smoker to get their brain in line with the idea of quitting smoking. “It could be somewhat counter productive, because the more you struggle with the idea of quitting smoking, the more activate the craving pathways.”

The study found that participants who underwent weeks of meditation training cut back on smoking by 60-percent. The meditation training was for BMT but Posner said, “It’s possible of course that other forms of meditation will also produce these effects. This is just the form that we’ve studied.”

According to researchers, tobacco is considered a gateway addiction to other drug use. With that in mind, researchers feel its possible BMT could work on other addictions. “We think that a lot of the same brain pathways are involved in other forms of addition,” Posner explained. “So, it does hold out that promise.”

So the good news is BMT appears to have promise in the battle to quit smoking. The bad news is the special meditation is run by an instructor, and is not widely offered in the United States.

Currently, some 5 million deaths a year are attributed to tobacco smoking.

Results of the study were published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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