STUDENTS of alternative medicine are inviting people in York to get the needle – so they can carry out research.

The Northern College of Acupuncture, which is based in Micklegate, has devised a project to analyse how well three common ailments respond to the courses of treatment it offers.

And to develop a first-hand assessment of the effects of acupuncture and nutritional therapy on irritable bowel syndrome, menopausal symptoms and headaches or migraines, the team at the Micklegate-based teaching college want people to try it out for themselves.

They are offering a course of free and cut-price treatments in these areas to those who want to find out more about their potential benefits, with the results being used by students for the purposes of their research.

“Acupuncture is often very effective in treating people with migraines who have not had any success with conventional medicines,” said college spokeswoman Denise Magson.

“Very often, there are also some dietary factors which can contribute to causing the migraines, so we are looking to treat people with an integrated approach.

“The patients taking up the offer will be seen by students studying on our acupuncture or nutritional therapy courses, under the supervision of our highly-qualified clinic supervisors, and they will be taking part in an exciting research project.

“Hopefully, we may reach some people who would not normally come to us.

“As we are a teaching clinic, our prices are reasonable and subsidised and this represents a wonderful opportunity to reach out to the community and really help people suffering from conditions which can respond very well to our treatments.”

The college – an independent educational charity – was formed in 1988 to provide degrees in acupuncture, nutritional therapy and Chinese herbal medicine, and now draws in students from across the UK.

Its research offer entails a free consultation for both its acupuncture and nutritional therapy clinics, with follow-up treatments available at half-price. Acupuncture patients are expected to need one consultation and five treatments, with a single consultation and just one discounted follow-up appointment likely on the nutritional side.

The students hope to attract ten volunteers for each of the conditions they are studying – a total of 30 people – and treatments, which must begin before March 31, are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

All patients must complete the course of treatment to be eligible.

Anybody who is interested in finding out more should phone the college on 01904 343305 or log on to