Did you know that acupuncture can help to alleviate stress and pain? However according to the British Acupuncture Council only one in ten people have given the treatment a try.1

So what is acupuncture and what ailments can it help with?

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine where fine needles are inserted into specific sites of the body for preventative or therapeutic purposes.2 Approximately 12 needles are used during a session, depending on the diagnosis, and are left in position for up to 30 minutes. The number of sessions required is dependent on the individual and the condition they’re receiving treatment for.3

Throughout the world, acupuncture has taken many forms developed from the traditional Chinese method, which is the most widespread in terms of approach.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy flows through the body, known as Qi (pronounced ‘chee’).2 Practitioners believe that if Qi doesn’t flow freely through the body, it can cause illness, and that acupuncture can help to restore the natural flow of Qi, therefore restoring health too.

Medical acupuncture involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles, resulting in the body producing pain-relieving endorphins. A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief than one single treatment.2

There are many other types of acupuncture with some that don’t use needles, for example acupressure. This uses pressure and massage techniques to stimulate specific sites of the body, rather than inserting needles.4

What can acupuncture help with?

According to the British Acupuncture Council benefits can include more energy, improved sleep, fewer aches and pains, clearer skin, increased productivity and better mindset overall.5

Along with these benefits, some of the most common reasons people opt for acupuncture treatment include: 

Lower back pain

According to the British Acupuncture Council, back pain affects more than 1.1 million people in the UK, with 95% of patients suffering from problems affecting their lower back. Research shows that acupuncture is as good as, if not better than, standard medical care for back pain.6 Acupuncture could help in many ways, including providing pain relief, reducing inflammation, improving muscle stiffness and reducing the use of medication for pain relief.6


There are approximately 190,000 migraine attacks in the UK every day7, and many of those suffering from the recurring headache disorder turn to acupuncture for relief. The treatment can stimulate nerves within muscles and body tissues to help alleviate pain and inflammation.8


According to the Mental Health Foundation, almost 75 per cent of those living in the UK have felt stressed in the past year. Research has found that acupuncture treatment can benefit those with stress and anxiety disorders by promoting relaxation, regulating hormone levels, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and reducing inflammation.9

How much does acupuncture cost?

Acupuncture is occasionally available through the NHS, but access is limited so most patients pay for private treatment. The cost can vary between practitioners, but usually you can expect to pay between £40 to £70 for an initial session, lasting between 20 to 40 minutes, and £25 to £60 for follow up sessions.2

If you’d like to try acupuncture but the cost is putting you off, did you know that our Good All Round cash plan pays money back towards treatment costs? You can also claim back towards dental, optical and physiotherapy charges, along with many more everyday health costs to help you keep on top of your health and wellbeing. To find out more, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round

For more inspiration on how you can look after your health and wellbeing, visit the Sovereign HealthHub.

1Telegraph, 2NHS, 3British Acupuncture Council, 4Health Centre, 5Natural Health Magazine, 6British Acupuncture Council, 7Migraine Trust, 8British Acupuncture Council, 9British Acupuncture Council 

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