Over the years, your tolerance for alcohol has gone up,
so now you drink more to get the same satisfaction.

We use a simple technique to restore your tolerance to what it used to be,
so you can get the same enjoyment from drinking less. A lot less.


The Mackarness Method will help you to:

Improve your health and fitness

Reduce the social and domestic effects of drinking excessively

Minimise your blood alcohol level so you can drive safely and legally

Lose weight

Increase your self esteem

Save a lot of money

Avoid drinking in pregnancy

Easily have a detox day / week / month

Switch off a hangover


The Mackarness Method is based on the science the late Dr Mackarness developed for the National Health Service at Basingstoke District General Hospital, and subsequently for the State of Victoria Health Commission in Australia.

In his clinics, it was used for addiction. He could do that because his clinics incorporated the psychological resources that we don’t have, so our service to the public is to provide this simple technique for those who are concerned that their drinking is starting to become excessive. 

We think of this as Virtual Drinking. You can think of it as virtuous drinking!

What the late Lord Ennals, former Secretary of State for Health, wrote about our work:

“Since 1990, the Foundation has been making a growing contribution to the health of the nation. The work done by Dr Richard Mackarness will one day be recognised as a major medical breakthrough.”

We will do a simple test to measure your tolerance for any alcoholic drink you bring with you to the clinic. We will then extract an analogue, called a microshot, that exactly matches what your tolerance should be. A healthier tolerance.

You will take this home with you in a dropper bottle. Each time you want to limit your alcohol consumption, just take one microshot and you will forget you wanted another drink. It’s a slightly strange feeling, like drinking without the drink.

The effect will start immediately and increase over the first few weeks. The more frequently you take a microshot, the faster your body will learn to accept the analogue instead of the real thing.

Once you are in the habit of drinking less, just take a microshot each time you want to avoid drinking too much. Or you can do a detox simply by taking several microshots each day.

The Mackarness Method is not a treatment for alcoholism, which is a complex condition. It is, though, a very useful tool if you need a little help to exercise self-control over drink. An interesting benefit of using your microshot is that by drinking less you can actually enjoy what you do drink more.



This is How it Works

You may remember the first time you ever had an alcoholic drink. You were expecting it to taste nice, but it didn’t. This is because all alcohol is poisonous. Your body had to adapt to those poisons, and people who become drinkers have persisted until their body has become adapted. It is why most people have a favourite tipple – you have become adapted to the alcohol in that particular drink. Your adaptation will increase as you drink more and more, and of course the effect of this is that you want to drink more and more to keep up with your adaptation. (The result, for some people, is addiction.) That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Dr Mac developed a way to test each person’s adaptation, and based on that result he extracted the part of any given alcoholic drink that exactly matches the individual’s receptors for that drink. These are the receptors that look for the drink, that send a message to the brain to have another one. That extract is known technically as an analogue. By matching the analogue to the receptors you used to adapt to alcoholic drinks, you can satisfy the receptors without the need for the drink itself.

So is it Medicine?

Yes and no. There is nothing in the analogue, which we call a microshot, that could not be sold by any pub, off-licence or supermarket, because it’s extracted from what they sell anyway. That would make life very easy, but there is a snag. The analogue, remember, has to match your receptors for alcohol, and those receptors are genetically determined. So while the microshot is not medicine, it takes a medical practitioner (in our case, a nurse) to test you so we can extract an analogue that works specifically for you.

We do the test intradermally, meaning a very small amount of your particular alcohol, in a series of titrations, is injected superficially into the skin of the upper arm. Your skin’s reactions to this are read by the nurse to identify the correct level best suited to your body. It is somewhat similar to an allergy test.

Finally, because alcoholic drinks are not classified by law as pharmaceutical products, an analogue of any drink is similarly not a pharmaceutical product. So you needn’t worry –  The Mackarness Method does not involve taking any drugs.

You can read about the late Dr Richard Mackarness here and here

Dr Mac explained the technique, which we now call The Mackarness Method, in his best-selling book, ‘A Little of What You Fancy’, published way back in 1985. Some used copies are still available on Amazon, here.

“After more than three years, I use my Microshot again each time I see my drinking is creeping up and it still works every time.”

AK, Brighton


The Mackarness Method is a not-for-profit public service. Our fees are based on the revenue we need to provide the service, and grow, rather than any commercial consideration. We have no shareholders.

How much you pay will depend on two factors: how many alcoholic substances you want help with, and whether you are in receipt of benefits.

You’ll get a dropper bottle, which contains about 200 microshots, plus three large refill bottles. How long this lasts will of course depend on how much you use, but most people will find this is more than enough to permanently change their drinking habits.

Standard fee

Single substance microshot £240

Extra substances £180

Two relatives or friends may share an appointment at a slightly reduced cost.


Single substance microshot £120

Extra substances £80

A small number of free places are also available. You will need a letter from your GP.

Repeat prescriptions

Per substance, inc. postage £40

We will keep your prescription for five years. To order more of your microshot, just log in to your account on our website.


We are at the beginning of rolling out the service nationally over the coming year, but for now you can get The Mackarness Method in Manchester. This will be followed very soon by services in Liverpool and Leeds.


We will be putting a booking system on this site shortly. There will also be a facility to set up your account at the same time, so you can order more of your microshot if you need it.

In the short term, it’s not that sophisticated. Call us, on 0115 888 0808, and we’ll set your appointment up for you.

Our service is, of course, completely confidential.


If you have one of our leaflets, you will see a message from Sister Pauline Day, RGN. Covid lockdowns have delayed the launch of this service, and Pauline has now decided to take well-earned retirement from a lifetime of practical nursing. Although she no longer has her nursing registration, she will remain on the team to provide guidance, support and training for our nursing staff as we grow.


If you are an RGN or RMN who has recently retired, or you are currently working part time and looking for some more sessions, you might be interested to work with us. The work is part-time, and not physically demanding. Initially, we are looking for nurses in our Manchester clinic, but we will soon be recruiting for our Leeds and Liverpool clinics as well.