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Accepted Paper:

The Transformation of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the UK after the Chinese immigration Boom in 1990  


Yangzihan Wang (Newcastle University)

Paper short abstract:

The study explores how Traditional Chinese Medicine has been changed to align with the UK context since the 1990s, while keeps its features to serve the Chinese immigrants. The results of the study reflects the impact of globalisation in medical fileds.

Paper long abstract:

With immigration from China increasing from the 1990s, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been introduced by the Chinese to many other countries. In particular, the early colonial relationship between Britain and Hong Kong has established a channel for cultural and material exchange, which founded the basis for the promotion of TCM in the UK. Originating from family businesses in early Chinese communities, TCM has found a foothold in local UK society. TCM is now providing wider healthcare options to people beyond NHS services. On the contrary, TCM has become increasingly in demand by Chinese immigrants. TCM clinics offer multiple healthcare services to people who speak very poor English, do not have access to NHS, or consider TCM as part of their traditional customs and national identity. The aim of this research is to understand the changes in TCM practice that have been made in order to align it with the UK context, and its relationship with Chinese immigrants to the UK from the 1990s onwards.

The study conducted a literature review on the history of Chinese immigration to the UK. This has been used to provide a way to analyse the results, which comprises semi-structured interviews with TCM practitioners, staff of TCM clinics, and Chinese immigrants receiving TCM treatment. The study also included ethnographic observation for four months in the selected TCM clinic. The results of study will aid understanding of the transformation of TCM within modern UK society, and will help to improve universal health coverage for Chinese immigrants.

Panel P182
Moving terrains in care and biomedicine: affective modes and vulnerable positions (MAE)