Hugh MacPherson - Clinic Director

BSc(Hons), PhD

Hugh MacPherson is an experienced acupuncturist having been in practice for 30 years. He specialises in the treatment of physical problems, including back and neck pain, headache and migraine and osteoarthritis, conditions for which acupuncture has very good evidence.

Hugh trained in acupuncture in London and China. He has worked at the York Clinic (formerly the Ch’ien Clinic) as an acupuncturist since its inception in 1982 and as Clinic Director since 1986. He is a member of the British Acupuncture Council. His patients come from all walks of life. He works at the York Clinic on Tuesdays and Saturdays and works at the University of York for the remainder of the week, conducting research into the effectiveness of acupuncture. His research into the mechanism of acupuncture was recently featured on Trust Me I’m a Doctor (click here).


There is growing evidence for acupuncture in the treatment of headache and migraine, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) now recommends acupuncture for its beneficial effect.

See video below for a discussion on acupuncture for headache and migraine with Hugh MacPherson


Hugh has also conducted a clinical trial of acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome. See video below for his discussion of the results.

Hugh founded, and is currently a Trustee of, the York-based Northern College of Acupuncture. This college runs a range of educational programmes including a Master of Science degree course in acupuncture. For four years he was a member of the Executive Committee of the national body for professional acupuncturists, the British Acupuncture Council. 

Hugh also founded the Foundation for Research into Traditional Chinese Medicine, a registered charity, where he worked as the Research Director from 1997 to 2011. In 2003 he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow to lead the Complementary Medicine Research Group at the University of York, where he is funded by the Department of Health with a Career Scientist Award. Overall, Hugh has received grants totalling £3 million in the last seven years for a range of projects evaluating acupuncture’s effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. His project involving the neuroimaging of acupuncture was featured in the end section of a BBC Science programme (watch here).

Hugh is also the author of over 100 scientific and medical articles, and lead editor of two books: “Acupuncture in practice: case history insights from the West” and “Acupuncture Research: Strategies for building an evidence base”. A new book jointly edited with Volker Scheid, “The integration of East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare”, has recently been published by Elsevier.

Personal website:

To make an appointment with Hugh MacPherson, contact the York Clinic on 01904-709688, or send an email via our contact page or direct to