Smokers using a form of mindfulness meditation cut their smoking by 60pc.
Addiction to smoking or anything else involves a particular set of brain areas related to self control .
The smokers were trained with Integrative-Body-Mind Training (IBMT) and a control group were trained in relaxation techniques.
They were told the study was aimed a reducing stress and improving performance, but not that it was aimed at curtailing their smoking.
They smoked on average 10 cigarettes a day.
The IMBT group were trained for a total of five hours over two weeks and this included whole body relaxation, mental imagery and mindfulness.
“We found that participants who received IBMT training also experienced a significant decrease in their craving for cigarettes,” said Yi-Yuan Tang of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
“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.”
Many of the participants only recognized that they had reduced smoking after an objective test using measured exhaled carbon monoxide showed the reduction, Tang said.
The researchers caution that they cannot say how long the effect of the cut back in cigarettes would last and suggest that in order for it to continue the smokers would probably need to continue the IBMT techniques.