Professor Volker Scheid

Professor of East Asian Medicine

+44 20 7911 5000 ext 64622
Copland Building London W1W 6UW

I'm part of

Life Sciences | Department

Connect with me

I am a scholar physician who combines the practice of Chinese and Japanese medicine with teaching and academic research. Growing up in a family engaged in the cultivation of medicinal herbs stimulated an almost natural interest in plant-based medicine that I pursued from the early 1980s onwards by studying first phytotherapy and acupuncture, and then Chinese and Japanese herbal medicine. Further studies led me to China, where I spent three years at Beijing and Shanghai Universities of Chinese medicine as well as studying privately with a number of well-known master physicians. In 1984, I opened my first practice in Eastbourne, which I maintained until 1999. Since then, I have practiced in London specialising in internal medicine and gynaecology.

Learning to be a Chinese medicine physician in the UK quickly confronted me with the multiple problems associated with seeking to translate an ancient medicine originating in a very different culture into contemporary health care systems. Seeking to understand and manage these complex processes of translation has been the focus of my academic career ever since.

During my undergraduate education at the School of African and Asian Studies, University of Sussex (BA, Hons 1992), I was able to gain the broad interdisciplinary grounding necessary for seeing through my long-term research interests. I was able to develop this further during my doctoral studies at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, which involved an extended period of fieldwork in China (PhD 1998). My doctoral dissertation has been published as Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China: Plurality and Synthesis (Duke University Press, 2002), which is widely acknowledged as the key study in the field.

I was able to extend my understanding of the historical development of Chinese medicine through a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Medicine, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (1999-2002). There, I examined the recent history of Chinese medicine by following the development of an important medical current based in the Shanghai area. This resulted in the publication of Currents of Tradition in Chinese Medicine, 1626 - 2006 (Eastland Press, 2007), which has been hailed as one of the most important examinations of Chinese medicine as a "living tradition" in late imperial and modern China.

Since coming to the University of Westminster in 2005, initially through a prestigious DoH Career Development Grant, I have established the EASTmedicine (East Asian Sciences and Traditions in Medicine) Research Centre. EASTmedicine is a unique interdisciplinary research centre that aims to facilitate dialogue and debate among scholars in the medical humanities, the social and natural sciences as well as clinical researchers and to develop innovative research agendas in the field. Since its inception EASTmedicine has attracted almost 2 million pounds in research grants attesting to its influence and potential.

In 2012, I was awarded one of the first Senior Investigator Awards in the Medical Humanities by the Wellcome Trust. The Award will allow me to focus on a sustained period of research over the coming years and further develop the work of the EASTmedicine Centre.

Elucidating the emergent interface between systems biology and Chinese medicine

Researcher: Frau Sabine Glatz(Director of studies)
Project type: M.Phil.
Project stage: Registered
Period: 2015 - 2019

Acupuncture During Stroke Rehabilitation: Development of a Manual for Researching a Complex Intervention

Researcher: Ms Claudia Citkovitz(Director of studies)
Project type: Ph.D.
Project stage: Graduated
Period: 2011 - 2015

Amended thesis

Researcher: Mr Guy Waddell(Second (i))
Project type: Ph.D.
Project stage: Graduated
Period: 2011 - 2015

Doctoral research project

Researcher: Dr Trina Ward(Director of studies)
Project type: Ph.D.
Project stage: Graduated
Period: 2005 - 2013

East Asian medicines are living traditions. Tradition refers to the cultivation and passing on of knowledge and skills. In my own practice I have benefitted from having been able to study with a number of exceptional teachers. Lecturing and writing are part of my own efforts at giving something back to the life and continuity of the tradition of which I am a part.

I mainly teach postgraduates in Chinese medicine. My goal in teaching is to facilitate access to the various currents of the East Asian medical tradition and to encourage students to engage with them in a critical manner. I attempt to make medical history come alive, and to show how drawing on how the understanding of history enables more effective clinical practice.

At the University of Westminster I teach on the MSc in Chinese Herbal Medicine. I also supervise PhD students and seek to support postdoctoral researchers in their career development.

Besides my work at the University, I regularly give invited lectures at schools and conferences throughout the world.

Another way through which I aim to contribute to the transmission of East Asian medicine is through the writing of textbooks and articles, such as the

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas & Strategies (2nd edition), 

published by Eastland Press (2009), the standard textbook on Chinese medical formulas in the English speaking world.

Research Focus

If my medical practice is informed by knowledge of East Asian medical cultures and their history, my academic research benefits from understanding how this medicine is actually practiced. It is focused on the historical development of the scholarly medical traditions in East Asia, their encounter with the West in the 20th century, and their current diffusion throughout the world. This encompasses wider interests in the nature of medicine and science, the role of China and East Asia in the world, as well as the interrogation of tradition, modernity and globalisation and their conjunction to diverse cultures, different kinds of knowledge and a multitude of technologies. My approach to these problems is interdisciplinary and shaped by diverse genealogies. If it needs a label, then the cultural studies of science, technology, and medicine will do.

EASTmedicine Research Centre

I am Director of the EASTmedicine Research Centre. For more information on the work of the Centre, current projects and researchers please see (insert link here)

PhD Students

Trina Ward (2005-2011, part-time): Exploring the Diversity of Chinese Medicine Practice; a Q Methodology Study

Claudia Citkovitz (2010-2014, full-time): Which patients experience benefit from addition of acupuncture to standard post-stroke rehabilitation care? A mixed methods inquiry.

Guy Waddell (2011-2015, full-time): A multi-sited ethnography of the treatment of stress and mood affected disorders by medical herbalists in the UK

2014

Chinese medicine treatment for menopausal symptoms in the UK health service: Is a clinical trial warranted? (2014)
Scheid V., Tuffrey V., Weijburg T., Bovey M. and Ward T.
Chinese medicine treatment for menopausal symptoms in the UK health service: Is a clinical trial warranted? Maturitas 80 (2) 179-186 0378-5122
Convergent lines of descent: symptoms, patterns, constellations & the emergent interface of systems biology and Chinese medicine (2014)
Scheid V
Convergent lines of descent: symptoms, patterns, constellations & the emergent interface of systems biology and Chinese medicine East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal 8 (1) 107-139 1875-2160

2013

Depression, constraint and the liver: (dis)assembling the treatment of emotion-related disorders in Chinese medicine (2013)
Scheid Volker
Depression, constraint and the liver: (dis)assembling the treatment of emotion-related disorders in Chinese medicine Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 37 (1) 30-58 0165-005X
Transmitting Chinese Medicine: Changing Perceptions of Body, Pathology, and Treatment in Late Imperial China (2013)
Scheid, Volker
Transmitting Chinese Medicine: Changing Perceptions of Body, Pathology, and Treatment in Late Imperial China East Asian Medicine: Tradition & Modernity 8 (2) 299-360 1573-420X
Constraint 鬱 as a Window on Approaches to Emotion-Related Disorders in East Asian Medicine (2013)
Scheid Volker
Constraint 鬱 as a Window on Approaches to Emotion-Related Disorders in East Asian Medicine Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 37 (1) 2-7

2010

Comparing TCM textbook descriptions of menopausal syndrome with the lived experience of London women at midlife and the implications for Chinese medicine research (2010)
Scheid V, Ward T and Tuffrey V
Comparing TCM textbook descriptions of menopausal syndrome with the lived experience of London women at midlife and the implications for Chinese medicine research Maturitas 66 (4) 408-416 0378-5122
Women's mid-life health experiences in urban UK: an international comparison (2010)
Ward T, Scheid V and Tuffrey V
Women's mid-life health experiences in urban UK: an international comparison Climacteric: the journal of the International Menopause Society 13 (3) 278-288 1369-7137
The treatment of menopausal symptoms by traditional East Asian medicines: review and perspectives (2010)
Scheid V, Ward T, Wung S, Kenji W and Xing L
The treatment of menopausal symptoms by traditional East Asian medicines: review and perspectives Maturitas 66 (2) 111-130 0378-5122

2009

Chinese medicine in the West 2009 (2009)
Deadman P, MacPherson H, Maxwell D, Moir F and Scheid V
Chinese medicine in the West 2009 Journal of Chinese Medicine 90 6-18 0143-8042

2008

Globalising Chinese medical understandings of menopause (2008)
Scheid V
Globalising Chinese medical understandings of menopause East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal 2 (4) 485-506 1875-2160
Developing research strategies in complementary and alternative medicine (2008)
MacPherson H, Thomas K, Armstrong B, de Valois B, Relton C, Mullinger B, White A, Flower A and Scheid V
Developing research strategies in complementary and alternative medicine Complementary Therapies in Medicine 16 (6) 359-362 0965-2299
Transforming emotions with Chinese medicine: an ethnographic account from contemporary China (review) (2008)
Scheid V
Transforming emotions with Chinese medicine: an ethnographic account from contemporary China (review) Bulletin of the History of Medicine 82 (3) 762-764 0007-5140
Authenticity, best practice, and the evidence mosaic: the challenge of integrating traditional East Asian medicines into Western health care (2008)
Scheid V
Authenticity, best practice, and the evidence mosaic: the challenge of integrating traditional East Asian medicines into Western health care Complementary Therapies in Medicine 16 (2) 107-108 0965-2299

2007

Acupuncture for hypertension: a tale of two trials. From the perspective of the anthropologist (2007)
Scheid V
Acupuncture for hypertension: a tale of two trials. From the perspective of the anthropologist Forschende Komplementärmedizin 14 (6) 371, 374-375 1661-4119
Traditional Chinese medicine - what are we investigating? The case of menopause (2007)
Scheid V
Traditional Chinese medicine - what are we investigating? The case of menopause Complementary Therapies in Medicine 15 (1) 54-68 0965-2299

2006

Chinese medicine and the problem of tradition (2006)
Scheid V
Chinese medicine and the problem of tradition Asian Medicine 7 (2) 59-71 1573-420X

2005

Restructuring the field of Chinese medicine: a study of the Menghe and Ding scholarly currents, 1600-2000 (Part 2) (2005)
Scheid V
Restructuring the field of Chinese medicine: a study of the Menghe and Ding scholarly currents, 1600-2000 (Part 2) East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine 23 10-68

2004

Restructuring the field of Chinese medicine: a study of the Menghe and Ding scholarly currents, 1600-2000 (Part 1) (2004)
Scheid V
Restructuring the field of Chinese medicine: a study of the Menghe and Ding scholarly currents, 1600-2000 (Part 1) East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine 22 10-68
Menghe yixue xintan (a new enquiry into Menghe physicians) (2004)
Scheid V
Menghe yixue xintan (a new enquiry into Menghe physicians) Zhonghua Yixuehui Zazhishe / Chinese Journal of Medical History 34 (2) 67-73 0255-7053

2003

Ye Tianshi's strategies for the treatment of bloody stools (2003)
Scheid V
Ye Tianshi's strategies for the treatment of bloody stools Journal of Chinese Medicine 71 41-55 0143-8042

2002

Remodeling the arsenal of Chinese medicine: shared pasts, alternative futures (2002)
Scheid V
Remodeling the arsenal of Chinese medicine: shared pasts, alternative futures Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 583 (1) 136-159 0002-7162
Wujin medicine remembered: memory, networks and social identity in Chinese medicine, 1800-2000 (2002)
Scheid V
Wujin medicine remembered: memory, networks and social identity in Chinese medicine, 1800-2000 Taiwanese Journal for Studies of Science, Technology, and Medicine 2 121-184
Famous contemporary chinese physicians: Professor Shen Zhong-li (2002)
Scheid V
Famous contemporary chinese physicians: Professor Shen Zhong-li Journal of Chinese Medicine 65 33-40 0143-8042

1999

The globalisation of Chinese medicine (1999)
Scheid V
The globalisation of Chinese medicine The Lancet 354 (Supplement 4) siv10 0140-6736

1998

Book review: a Qin Bowei anthology: clinical essays (1998)
Scheid V
Book review: a Qin Bowei anthology: clinical essays European Journal of Oriental Medicine 2 (5) 1351-6647

1996

Chinese acupuncture (Review of L'Acuponcture Chinoise by G. Soulié de Morant) (1996)
Scheid V
Chinese acupuncture (Review of L'Acuponcture Chinoise by G. Soulié de Morant) China Review International 3 (1) 269-271 1069-5834

2014

The institutionalization of Chinese medicine (2014)
Scheid, V. and Lei, S.H.L.
The institutionalization of Chinese medicine in: Andrews, B. and Brown Bullock, M. (ed.) Medical Transitions in Twentieth-Century China Bloomington Indiana University Press pp. 244-266

2012

Introduction (2012)
Scheid V and MacPherson H
Introduction in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier pp. 1-12
Fei Shengfu 費繩甫 (1851-1914): resolving the exterior to treat fever with loss of consciousness (2012)
Scheid V
Fei Shengfu 費繩甫 (1851-1914): resolving the exterior to treat fever with loss of consciousness in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier pp. 22-23
Defining best practice or cultivating best practitioners (2012)
Scheid V
Defining best practice or cultivating best practitioners in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier pp. 13-38
Contemporary China (chapter 8) (2012)
Scheid V
Contemporary China (chapter 8) in: Barnes L and Hinrichs TJ (ed.) Chinese medicine and healing: an illustrated history Harvard University Press
Constellations, significations, methods: case histories in late imperial China (2012)
Scheid V
Constellations, significations, methods: case histories in late imperial China in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier pp. 126-127
Chinese medicine in the treatment of menopausal symptoms (2012)
Scheid V
Chinese medicine in the treatment of menopausal symptoms in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier pp. 25-26
Case histories in Chinese medicine (2012)
Scheid V
Case histories in Chinese medicine in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier
Constructing an evidence base for East Asian medicines (2012)
Flower A, Scheid V and Lewith GT
Constructing an evidence base for East Asian medicines in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare Elsevier pp. 139-156

2011

A research oxymoron: objectifying human skills (2011)
Ward T
A research oxymoron: objectifying human skills in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicines into contemporary healthcare Churchill Livingstone
Realising enactments of Chinese medicine (2011)
Ward T
Realising enactments of Chinese medicine in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicines into contemporary healthcare Elsevier
More like hairdressing than acupuncture (2011)
Ward T
More like hairdressing than acupuncture in: Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.) Integrating East Asian medicines into contemporary healthcare Churchill Livingstone

2008

The mangle of practice and the practice of Chinese medicine: a case study from nineteenth-century China (2008)
Scheid V
The mangle of practice and the practice of Chinese medicine: a case study from nineteenth-century China in: Pickering A and Guzik K (ed.) The mangle in practice: science, society, and becoming Durham ; London Duke University Press pp. 110-128

2007

Yun Tieqiao (2007)
Scheid V
Yun Tieqiao in: Bynum WF and Bynum H (ed.) Dictionary of Medical Biography, vol 5 Westport, CT ; London Greenwood Press pp. 480-842
Fei Boxiong (2007)
Scheid V
Fei Boxiong in: Bynum WF and Bynum H (ed.) Dictionary of Medical Biography, vol 2 Westport, CT ; London Greenwood Press pp. 480-842
Ding Ganren (2007)
Scheid V
Ding Ganren in: Bynum WF and Bynum H (ed.) Dictionary of Medical Biography, vol 2 Westport, CT ; London Greenwood Press pp. 480-842
Contemporary education in Chinese medicine under a strategy of standardization: a response (2007)
Scheid V
Contemporary education in Chinese medicine under a strategy of standardization: a response in: Thieme Almanac 2007: acupuncture and Chinese medicine Thieme Medical Publishers pp. 203-204

2002

Kexue and guanxixue: plurality, tradition and modernity in contemporary Chinese medicine (2002)
Scheid V
Kexue and guanxixue: plurality, tradition and modernity in contemporary Chinese medicine in: Ernst W (ed.) Plural medicine, tradition and modernity, 1800-2000 London, UK Routledge pp. 130-152

2001

Shaping Chinese medicine: two case studies from contemporary China (2001)
Scheid V
Shaping Chinese medicine: two case studies from contemporary China in: Hsu E (ed.) Innovation in Chinese Medicine Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press pp. 370-404

2012

Integrating East Asian medicines into contemporary healthcare (2012)
Scheid V and MacPherson H (ed.)
Integrating East Asian medicines into contemporary healthcare Elsevier

2009

Chinese herbal medicine: formulas & strategies. 2nd revised edition (2009)
Scheid V, Bensky D, Ellis A and Barolet R
Chinese herbal medicine: formulas & strategies. 2nd revised edition Vista, CA Eastland Press

2007

Currents of tradition in Chinese medicine, 1626-2006 (2007)
Scheid V
Currents of tradition in Chinese medicine, 1626-2006 Seattle, USA Eastland Press

2002

Chinese medicine in contemporary China: plurality and synthesis (2002)
Scheid V
Chinese medicine in contemporary China: plurality and synthesis Durham, USA Duke University Press

Browse

Browse our directory to find staff profiles containing contact information, biography and list of publications.

Related links

Research strategy
Our University

Discover how the University of Westminster is organised and who makes the University tick.