The Westminster Menopause Study

The aim of this study is to investigate the potential for integrating Chinese medicine treatment strategies for menopausal symptoms into the NHS. It has been funded by a DoH NIHR grant to Prof. Volker Scheid.

Menopause is a “modern” problem that is not discussed in Chinese medical texts before the 1950s. Women’s experience of menopause also varies considerably according to where they live. It appears to be influenced not only by biology and genetics but also by diet, lifestyle and culture. Integrating Chinese medical treatment strategies for menopausal symptoms thus is not a simply process of testing whether or not “Chinese medicine” works or not. It requires the careful selection, translation and eventual evaluation of treatments originating in China but tailored to the needs of women in the UK. The Westminster Menopause Study is an innovative long-term research project that tackles these complex questions in their entirety for the very first time. To this end, our study consists of five interconnected parts:

  • The History and Globalisation of Chinese Medical Treatment for Menopausal Symptoms: This study has documented the “invention” of Chinese medical treatment strategies for menopausal symptoms in contemporary China through the interaction of Chinese and biomedicine and explored their globalisation from the 1960s onwards. (Completed 1997)
  • Comparing Treatment Strategies for Menopausal Symptoms Across East Asian Medical Traditions: This study has compared treatment strategies for menopausal symptoms across Chinese medicine in China, Taiwan and the West, Korean medicine and Japanese Kampo medicine. (Completed 2010)
  • A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Women’s Experience of Menopausal Symptoms: This study mapped the experience of menopausal symptoms by women in London and compared them with similar studies for women living in Beijing, rural Japan, Mannitoba and Boston. (Completed 2010)
  • Defining Clinically Effective Chinese Medical Treatment Strategies for Menopausal Symptoms for Women in London: A clinical study employing an action-research framework to evaluate and develop potentially effective treatment strategies. We have treated 120 women in the Westminster University Polyclinic and are currently evaluating the results. (ongoing)
  • Clinical Trial(s) for Evaluating Chinese Medicine Treatment Strategies for Menopausal Symptoms: Once data from our clinical study has been evaluated we plan to conduct a series of clinical trials to test the true effectiveness of these treatment strategies.

Publications

Scheid, Volker and Tuffrey, Vernoica and Weijburg, Thomas and Bovey, Mark and Ward, Trina (2015) Chinese medicine treatment for menopausal symptoms in the UK health service: Is a clinical trial warranted? Maturitas, 80 (2). pp. 179-186.

Scheid, Volker (2012) Chinese medicine in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. In: Integrating East Asian medicine into contemporary healthcare. Elsevier, pp. 25-26. ISBN 9780702030215.

Ward, Trina, Volker Scheid, and Veronica Tuffrey (2010). Women's Mid-Life Health Experiences in Urban Uk: An International Comparison. Climacteric, 13 (3). pp. 278-88.

Scheid, Volker, Trina Ward, Wang-Seok Cha, Kenji Watanabe, and Xing Liao (2010). The Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms by Traditional East Asian Medicines: Review and Perspectives. Maturitas, 66 (2) pp. 111–30.

Scheid, Volker, Veronica Tuffrey, and Trina Ward (2010). 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) pp. 08-16.

Scheid, Volker (2009). Globalising Chinese Medical Understandings of Menopause. East Asia Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 2, (4) pp. 485-96.

MacPherson Hugh, Thomas Kate, Armstrong Bo, de Valois Beverly, Relton C, Mullinger B, White A, Flower Andrew, and Scheid Volker (2008). Developing Research Strategies in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 16, (6) pp. 359—62.

Scheid, Volker (2007). Traditional Chinese Medicine - What Are We Investigating? The Case of Menopause. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 15, (1) pp. 54-68.

Scheid, Volker (2006). Not Very Traditional, nor Exactly Chinese, So What Kind of Medicine Is It? TCM's Discourse on Menopause and Its Implications for Practice, Teaching, and Research. Journal of Chinese Medicine 82, pp. 5-20.

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