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Kicking The Habit

BEN FAWKES – The Dominion Post | Thursday, 25 September 2008

Experts say nicotine is as addictive as heroin or crack cocaine, with most smokers taking close to 20 attempts to stub out the habit.

So when I was offered the chance to try the bioresonance stop smoking treatment – with a reported success rate of between 85 and 90 per cent after one month – I fell upon the opportunity with a mix of hope and disbelief.

Two weeks later, I was standing outside a health shop in Cuba St, smoking my “last” cigarette in preparation for a dose of bioresonance.

It would be my eighth attempt to quit.

The last big effort was in January last year, the result of a rather rash New Year resolution. Three days later, a flatmate found me and a friend going through the rubbish bin to retrieve a rather soggy pack of Marlboro Lights, enthusiastically discarded some time on the morning of January 1.

Undeterred, I made a further attempt six or seven weeks later. My undoing was the rural sports day I had to cover for the country paper I was working on at the time. Having dramatically tossed half a packet of fags out the car window on the way to the sports day, three hours of sheep shearing and dog trials got the better of me, and I spent half an hour on the return trip scrambling around a ditch looking for my discarded Special Filters.

So it was with some trepidation, 18 months later, that I lay plugged in to a machine at The Stop Smoking Clinic, one of two bioresonance providers in Wellington.

The clinic is run by Shona Ellis, a Southlander who worked as a radiographer before becoming interested in bioresonance after meeting a doctor who had it used on patients with allergy problems.

According to Ms Ellis, the advantage of bioresonance is that it not only rids the body of nicotine but also cancels out the craving to smoke.

“Bioresonance is designed to eliminate the cravings to a point where people don’t need to smoke,” she says.

The oldest person Ms Ellis has treated is an 81-year-old and she says it’s not uncommon to have clients who have previously smoked 40 cigarettes a day.

The most important criteria for successful treatment is a motivation to quit, she says.

“If the person is not committed and not serious about it, they’ll just keep smoking and not stop.”


I was determined to give it a crack, but my track record wasn’t so hot.

The treatment was quite straight forward. A probe was stuck into the soles of my feet to take a nicotine reading and I was plugged into the bioresonance machine.

Electrodes were placed on my forehead and chest.

The session lasted about an hour. To finish, I received acupuncture to pressure points in my ears and was dispatched with a potion designed to ease any cravings and an unusual metal disc which apparently carried a memory of my treatment and was to be worn for the next month.

Despite the helpsheet noting that some people had no urge to smoke after the first treatments session, I was not one of them.

The strong cravings I experienced in the first two or three days, progressed to extreme grumpiness and shortness of temper within a week.

But the foul mood eventually passed, and, to my extreme surprise, I didn’t have a single cigarette during the first month.

Another month on, I have smoked – on occasion – but I wouldn’t say I have started smoking again.

It’s more a case of having slipped up a few times, usually under the influence of a few drinks.

Bioresonance has its detractors, among them ASH – the country’s largest antismoking lobby group.

Director Ben Youdan says ASH doesn’t recommend bioresonance due to a lack of clinical evidence and the comparatively high cost when compared with other methods, such as government-subsidised nicotine replacement therapy.

At $395, it is not a cheap, though people who start smoking again inside the first month can opt to have a second treatment at no extra cost.

But nicotine patches – without the government subsidy – are not significantly cheaper.

A 12-week course of patches costs about $315 (based on the cost of a packet of seven patches from the local supermarket).

If subsidised, the same course of treatment costs less than $50.

And though Mr Youdan says nicotine replacement therapy is three to four times more effective than stopping cold turkey, the success rate is still not that high. Given that going cold turkey succeeds with only about three or four per cent of smokers, that puts the success of patches and gum at about 15 per cent.

“Because of the high level of [cigarettes’] addictiveness, it can be really tough to resist,” Mr Youdan says.

“It’s really important that you want to quit.”

How does bioresonance work?

* Bioresonance is said to work through the use of electromagnetic waves.

* It’s believed nicotine emits an electromagnetic charge over your body causing the craving to smoke.

* The machine then reads the energy pattern of the nicotine in the cigarette smoked prior to treatment.

* The opposing wave forms cancel each other out, reducing the electromagnetic charge of nicotine in the body, enabling it to be easily eliminated and dramatically reduce the cravings.

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