Some people will try anything to put an end to their tobacco habit: patches, gum, self-help books, hypnosis. Can something as relaxing and wonderful as massage therapy help, as well?  

A new tool to quit smoking

Recently, some Tucson massage therapists completed training in a research project to combat tobacco use, the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute and conducted by the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, is called Project Reach. According to the Arizona Health Sciences Center, participating licensed massage therapists are better equipped with the skills and knowledge to help their clients quit tobacco, and to help clients help a loved one quit tobacco. As part of Project Reach, participating massage therapists took part in training sessions and received client information handouts so that the massage therapist can help their clients quit tobacco. Massage therapists also learned about communication skills to encourage and support behavior change – rather than threaten or lecture the smoker. They learned how to provide essential information about quitting techniques and local resources for extra support. “We want to express our appreciation to these massage therapists, and recognize their efforts and commitment to being a quit-tobacco resource for the Tucson community,” says Myra Muramoto, MD, professor of family and community medicine and director of Project Reach.