Hugh MacPherson is the UK's first Professor of Acupuncture Research, based at the Department of Health Sciences, University of York. He is also Clinic Director at the York Clinic for Integrated Healthcare, York, UK, and Chair of Trustees at the Northern College of Acupuncture based in York.
Hugh MacPherson Retiring from The Northern College of Acupuncture (July 20)
Hugh MacPherson is stepping down as Chair of the Board of the Northern College of Acupuncture due to a recurrence of pancreatic cancer. Hugh co-founded the NCA in 1988 and it became the first education provider in the UK to offer a University validated degree in acupuncture. His commitment to mutual support and endeavour is a legacy that lives on in the NCA. His research at York University has had a defining impact on the use of acupuncture in the west. Hugh has touched the life and careers of acupuncturists around the world, as a tribute the NCA has brought together memories, thoughts and reminiscences about Hugh from over 200 people. You can read the full tribute here.
Presentation at House of Commons (Mar 20)
Hugh MacPherson speaking at the House of Commons at the launch of the British Acupuncture Council’s report on the case for acupuncture as a treatment that can be used alongside conventional medicine to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs in the UK. The report entitled The Scope of Acupuncture: Exploring acupuncture as a modern healthcare solution can be found here.
"Acupuncture is not a placebo for treatment of chronic pain" NIHR Signal (June 2017)
This National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded systematic review shows that acupuncture is better than usual care and sham acupuncture for pain from musculoskeletal conditions, knee osteoarthritis and chronic headache. Hugh MacPherson contributed to the research programme which is summarised at the NIHR Dissemination Centre Discover Portal. NIHR states that "Acupuncture is not a placebo for treatment of chronic pain". [NIHR video] [Read more].
Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression: A Programme Report (Jan 2017)
A National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) grant has led to a series of projects for which Hugh MacPherson had a co-coordinating role over the last seven years. The final report on these projects has now been published by NIHR's Journals Library. [Read more] Press release.
First UK Professor of Acupuncture Research (October 2016)
The University of York has become the first university in the UK to appoint a ‘Professor of Acupuncture Research’ on its staff, after awarding the title to Dr Hugh MacPherson. Press release
Unanticipated insights (January 2016)
Research into acupuncture has had ripple effects beyond the field of acupuncture. This paper identifies five exemplars to illustrate that there is tangible evidence of the way insights gleaned from acupuncture research have informed biomedical research, practice, or policy. Read more in a paper by Hugh MacPherson and colleagues.
Chronic neck pain (November 2015)
In a trial of acupuncture or Alexander Technique led by Hugh MacPherson, both interventions were found to be associated with significantly reduced pain when compared to conventional medical care. This project was funded by a grant of £719,000 from Arthritis Research UK.[Read more] [Abstract] [Arthritis Today]
Acupuncture on BBC2 (October 2014)
In the series Trust Me I'm a Doctor, a short section covered a brain scan during acupuncture provided by Hugh MacPherson. The purpose was to explore potential mechanism(s) by which acupuncture might work. [Read more] [Watch this]
Acupuncture or counselling for depression (September 2013)
Acupuncture or counselling, provided alongside usual care, could benefit patients with depression, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine which was conducted by Hugh MacPherson and colleagues from the University of York. [Read more] [Full text of article]
Acupuncture and knee pain (August 2013)
A review of physical therapies for osteoarthritis of the knee finds acupuncture to be one of the more effective. This review, involving co-investigator Hugh MacPherson, is a ground-breaking network meta-analysis published in Osteoarthritis & Cartilage, the journal of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International representing scientists and health care professionals who have a focus on osteoarthritis.
[Read more][Full free text]
Acupuncture and our brain waves (November 2012)
A new study on acupuncture has just been published showing how it impacts on brain waves, and in particular how it is associated with a decrease in beta power in the primary somatosensory cortex and superior frontal gyrus. This opens up a fresh line of investigation in terms of understanding how acupuncture might work. The study was conducted at the University of York, at the York Neuroimaging Centre, and led by Aziz Asghar and Hugh MacPherson.[Read more] [Full article]
Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome (November 2012)
A new study published by BMC Gastroenterology describes a clinical trial in which benefits were found in patients receiving acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome at three months, and that this benefit was largely sustained at 12 months. Hugh MacPherson was the lead investigator, and the trial was funded by the National Institute for Health Research.[Read more] [Abstract]
Acupuncture for chronic pain study (September 2012)
The largest study of acupuncture for chronic pain has recently been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Individual patient data from 29 randomized controlled trials with 17,922 patients were analysed and the results show that acupuncture is better than usual care and better than sham acupuncture for the treatment of back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and chronic headaches. Hugh MacPherson is a collaborator and co-author. [Read more]
Book on the integration of East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare (October 2011)
Published by Elsevier, this book is co-edited by Volker Scheid and Hugh MacPherson and brings together contributions from acknowledged experts from a number of different disciplines. These include clinical researchers, Chinese Medicine practitioners, historians, medical anthropologists, experts in the social studies of science, technology and medicine. The aim of the book is to examine and debate the impact of the evidence-based medicine movement on the ongoing modernization of East Asian medicines. [Read more]
Acupuncture and Alexander technique for chronic neck pain (Oct 2011)
Photo by gordonplant
A major UK trial at the University of York funded by Arthritis Research UK will investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture and Alexander Technique lessons in alleviating chronic neck pain. The grant is for £718,000 over three years and the Principal Investigator is Hugh MacPherson. [Read more]
York study maps the effects of acupuncture on the brain (February 2010)
Important new research led by Hugh MacPherson about the effects of acupuncture on the brain may provide an understanding of the complex mechanisms of acupuncture and could lead to a wider acceptability of the treatment. [Read more]
An editorial in the British Medical Journal was published in September 2009 authored by Hugh MacPherson and colleagues. Titled "Closing the gap in Integrative Medicine", the article argued for broadening the range of evidence to be used for complex interventions that are characteristic of, but not exclusive to, integrative medicine. [Full text]
Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression
An award of £1,300,000 has been made to Chief Investigator Hugh MacPherson at the University of York to conduct a series of projects evaluating acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care funded by a Programme Grant for Applied Research from the National Institute for Health Research, April 2009.
Acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome
An award of £260,000 has been made to Principal Investigator Hugh MacPherson at the University of York to conduct a trial of acupuncture for irritable bowel syndrome funded by the National Institute for Health Research under their Research for Patient Benefit scheme, July 2008.[Read more]
Book on acupuncture research
A new book, edited by Hugh MacPherson with the title, "Acupuncture Research, Strategies for Establishing an Evidence Base", has been published by Elsevier in 2007 [Read more]
Career Scientist Award
Hugh MacPherson has received a Career Scientist Award funded by the Department of Health and to be held at the University of York commencing October 2007
[Read press release]
[Read press release]
Hugh MacPherson has been awarded a Fellowship by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). [Read press release]
Acupuncture for back pain
For recent research into acupuncture for low back pain, see two papers co-authored by Hugh MacPherson published in the British Medical Journal, with news coverage, see: BBC [see extract], Herald, Independent, NHS, Reuters, WebMD and others.
Acupuncture and the brain
"Acupuncture works by deactivating the area of the brain governing pain", BBC News, Saturday 21st January 2006, followed by "Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture." Broadcast on BBC2, 24th January, 2006, in part, featuring Hugh MacPherson. [See introductory video ....] [See full programme] [Read more]