Yi Yang

Yi’s current research focuses on the history of a modern branch of acupuncture: Five-Element Acupuncture (FEA) (五行針灸, wuxing zhenjiu). This acupuncture emerged in England in the 1970s and since then became popular in Europe and the US as a serious contender for “the real acupuncture”. FEA was introduced to China in the 2010s by a student of Worsley’s and is welcomed and regarded by some Chinese acupuncturists as “authentic acupuncture”. Using this cross-cultural oral history of FEA as a case, Yi’s doctoral thesis examines the meaning of “authenticity” in the contemporary globalising, pluralist medical context.

Yi’s current work is informed by her previous training in the field of biomedical and traditional Chinese medicine. From 2006 to 2017, she was trained as a researcher of medical science of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, as well as a practitioner of acupuncture, in Beijing China. Drawing on this experience, since 2017, she turned to study modern history and medical humanity of Chinese medicine, more specifically, the cross-cultural transmission of Chinese medicine in the twentieth and twentieth-first century in a global context. MA dissertation title: “The plasticity of Zhongyi 中醫: what makes Chinese medicine a living tradition?”


Supervisors: Vivienne Lo (first supervisor); Lily Chang (second supervisor)
Working title: 'A transnational history of the Five-Element Acupuncture (五行針灸, wuxing zhenjiu) 1970s-2010s: cross-cultural pursuit of an "authentic" acupuncture in Britain and China.'
Expected completion date: 2022


Yang, Y., Wang, L., Zhang, L., et al. (2013) Factors contributing to de qi in acupuncture randomized clinical trials. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Yang, Y., Wang, L., Zhang, L., et al. (2013) Application and selection of insomnia scales in acupuncture clinical research. Zhongguo Zhenjiu. [Article in Chinese].
Yang, Y., Wang, L., Sun, J., et al. (2015) Method Exploration and Practices of Clinical Education for Acupuncture Postgraduate Student with Specialty Degree. Continuing Medical Education.
Yang, Y., Wang, X., and Wang, L. (2016) Neuroplasticity in motor dysfunction and recovery after stroke. Chinese Journal of Medicine. [Article in Chinese].
Yang, Y., Eisner, I., Chen, S., et al. (2017). Neuroplasticity Changes on Human Motor Cortex Induced by Acupuncture Therapy: A Preliminary Study. Neural Plasticity, 2017, 1-8.

Conference papers and presentations

A history of "Wuxing zhenjiu" (Five-Element Acupuncture, 五行針灸) 1970s-2010s: Chinese pursuit and importation of "authentic" acupuncture from England. British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference 2019 (10/04/2019, University of Cambridge, UK).