Ph.D., FBAcC, FRCHM
Time flies. I decided to study Chinese medicine in 1980. Forty years later, I have become one of the leading authorities in the field, both as an experienced clinician and as distinguished academic scholar. As a clinician I focus on treating internal medicine and gynaecological disorders. My academic research is broad in scope and interdisciplinary in nature. I try to understand not only the many different forces that have shaped the development of Chinese medicine over time but also what Chinese medicine as a way of being in the world may have to offer life in the twenty-first century.
Areas of Clinical Expertise
Chinese Internal Medicine (neike 內科）
Chinese Gynaecology (fuke 婦科)
Acupuncture (zhenjiu 針灸)
Diet & Lifestyle Advice (yangsheng 養生)
I grew up in Germany in a family cultivating medicinal herbs. Plant-based medicine has therefore always seemed natural to me. In 1980 I began studying herbal medicine and acupuncture and I have not stopped since. I hold postgraduate diplomas from the Beijing and Shanghai Universities of Chinese Medicine and am a Visiting Professor at the Zhejiang University of Chinese Medicine.
Because I read Chinese I have access to the enormous archive of medical texts that has accumulated in that tradition over the last two thousand years. Because I am also a historian I am aware also of the different biases that have influenced their authors. Over time, I have gradually developed my own style of clinical practice but this is very much a work in progress as I continue to develop and refine what I do. I am always open to what I can learn from others and grateful to what my patients teach me in the clinic.
I am trained as a medical anthropologist (PhD, University of Cambridge) and historian of science, technology and medicine (Postdoc, School of Oriental and African Studies) but bring to my academic research an even broader set of interests that stretch across the medical humanities and sciences.
As Professor of East Asian Medicines at the University of Westminster I was able to focus these interests into establishing EASTmedicine (East Asian Sciences and Traditions in Medicine), a research centre dedicated to exploring the past, present and future of East Asian medicines from a truly trans-disciplinary perspective.
My academic output is equally broad in scope. It includes more than thirty publications in fields ranging from medical anthropology and the history of medicine to sciences studies and complementary and alternative medical research. My second book Currents of Tradition in Chinese Medicine, 1626-2006 is the first monograph by a Western historian to be translated into Chinese.
Since leaving the University of Westminster in 2018, I have continued my academic work as an independent scholar. I am currently working on a study that examines the transformations of medical knowledge and practice in seventeenth century China that laid the foundations for how East Asian medicines are practiced today.
“In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it.”
(Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History)
“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”
(Gary Snyder, Turtle Island)
How does one improve as a practitioner? Who should one take as one’s model? Is it better to have one or many teachers? To read as many books as possible, or to spend every hour of the day in clinic? Is it more important, as the Ming dynasty physician Yu Chang asked, to help a single life at the bedside or should one try and help many more lives through lecturing and teaching? These are questions I keep asking myself and that shape my approach to transmitting Chinese medicine as a clinician, teacher and writer of textbooks.
You can use the form below for any inquiries regarding my clinical practice or academic research.
75 Roupell St.
London, SE1 8SS
Tel: 020 7928 8333