Ginkgo Leaves

A Heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Wei Li Acupuncture

Dr. Wei Li, MD(China), LAc & Herbalist

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Dr. Li first began practicing Chinese medicine at the age of 17, and she came to the United States with over 15 years of experience in TCM. Today, with nearly 50 years of expertise in acupuncture and herbal medicine, she continues to help patients all across the Pacific Northwest.

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Diseases of the Kidney & Bladder, by Wei Li et al.

Diseases of the Kidney & Bladder, by Dr. Li et al., is the first English textbook and clinical reference to be published on the Chinese diagnosis and treatment of kidney and bladder diseases. Read the reviews for her book.

An Overview of Common Clinical Conditions

Traditional Chinese medicine developed an understanding of health and disease from unique philosophical roots subsequently refined by millenia of observation and experimentation. The ideological influences of Taoism and Confucianism intertwined early physicians' empirical study of medicine and their philosophical study of nature. By observing the characteristics of nature — from the air to the earth — they conceived of fundamental principles like that of Ying and Yang and of the Five Elements. Nature thus became Chinese medicine's essential analogy for health and illness, and following from these theories, their foci are the interconnection between all organs of the body rather than the composition and functions of each organ in a vacuum.

Dr. Li's approach to diagnoses and treatments of clinical conditions are likewise founded on these traditional principles, and brief overviews of her perspective and treatment plans for some common conditions are provided below. However, this list represents only a small fraction of her expertise, which encompasses a much broader range of conditions. For more information on any condition listed or not listed, please contact Dr. Li.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis often differs in its root cause between pediatric and adult patients. Children tend to develop allergies from an invasion of pathogenic factors into the Lung, which thereby impairs its capacity to circulate bodily fluids, and results in nasal congestion and phlegm build-up. These pathogenic factors include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. Adults, on the other hand, tend to develop allergies from internal deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi, which commonly arise with age. As the Kidney and Spleen both function to channel Qi to the Lung, Qi deficiencies within these organs weaken the Lung and likewise impair fluid circulation, causing nasal congestion. Internal deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi can also exacerbate Lung Qi stagnation, in turn worsening internal deficiencies and perpetuating a vicious cycle.

My objectives are a two-pronged approach of expelling pathogenic factors invading the Lung and of replenishing Kidney and Spleen Qi with both acupuncture and herbal medicine. Additionally, I try to dispel local Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation to clear nasal symptoms at the same time to speed up your recovery.

Alzheimer's Disease

A less often considered cause of Alzheimer’s disease is viral infections, specifically those that never manifested with obvious symptoms. These pathogenic factors, which include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness, generate Heat toxicity, thus drying out the bodily fluids and leading to Phlegm stagnation, which in turn creates Wind and obstructs the flow of Qi within the body’s channels. Both Phlegm and Wind also obstruct all the external Orifices, impairing speech and sensation, as well as the Heart’s internal Orifices, leading to mental deterioration. With old age, internal deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi also leave the body more vulnerable to the effects of pathogenic factors, and can furthermore injure the brain directly. Nourishment to the brain comes from the Kidney, whose Qi is supplemented by the Spleen, and so malnourishment of the brain follows from these internal deficiencies.

Since any pathogenic factors can exacerbate internal deficiencies and vice versa, my objective is to address either type of imimbalance present to detoxify your system and help mitigate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Using both acupuncture and herbal medicines, the treatment of pathogenic factors involves releasing Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation, while the treatment of the internal deficiencies involves tonifying the Kidney and Spleen.


Asthma results from an invasion of pathogenic factors as well as from internal Qi deficiencies or stagnation. These pathogenic factors include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. Obstruction of the natural downward flow of Qi can develop from either external or internal causes, and as a result, Lung Qi tends to rebel upward to induce attacks of asthma. Internal deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi can also exacerbate Lung Qi stagnation, in turn worsening internal deficiencies and perpetuating a vicious cycle.

My objectives are, as appropriate, to expel pathogenic factors and to replenish Kidney and Spleen Qi with both acupuncture and herbal medicine, while also dispelling Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation to reduce edema by promoting better fluid circulation. Most important, I work on recuperating the health of the Lung at the same time.

Bell's Palsy

The Qi flowing within the channels of the body has the capacity to protect the body from the invasion of pathogenic factors, a common cause of Bell’s palsy. These pathogenic factors include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. When an internal deficiency of Qi, however, exists within these channels, the body becomes more susceptible to invasion. In turn, this invasion induces Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation, obstructing the flow of nutrients to the facial channels, thus weakening and paralyzing the nerves and muscles of the face.

My objectives are to expel pathogenic factors from the facial channels and promote local circulation of Qi and Blood, too, with acupuncture and both ingested and topical herbal medicines. Additionally, to address the imbalances at the root of the problem, my treatment plan also includes dispelling Qi stagnation throughout the body.


Dizziness, such as in Meniere’s disease, may develop from a combination of Fire, Wind, Phlegm, Stagnation, and/or Deficiency, which can invade the channels and the internal organs. The most commonly seen etiologies include Liver Yang Stagnation, Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency, Damp Phlegm Stagnation, Qi and Blood Stagnation due to Wind invasion, and Qi and Blood Stagnation secondary to Qi Deficiency.

Treatment focuses on the specific root causes of dizziness, with acupuncture and herbal medicines both treating the imbalances present as well as expelling the pathogenic factors that invaded the body. My objectives include clearing Wind and Phlegm, promoting descent of Liver Yang, harmonizing Liver Yin and Yang, and/or dispelling Qi and Blood stagnation.

GI Disorders

For older patients, common GI problems such as nausea, indigestion, gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea can develop from multiple causes, including Kidney and Spleen deficiency, Damp heat, Fire, stagnation of Qi, Damp, and Phlegm, or malabsorption. For younger patients with GI problems, unhealthy eating habits (such as eating too little or too much at mealtime, or eating excessive junk or spicy foods) tend to play a larger causative role than internal stagnation or deficiency.

For older patients, I usually focus more on treating the imbalances of your body more than on the GI system itself. By improving the health of all your organ systems, I can better resolve your GI complaints. For younger patients otherwise in good health, however, I usually focus on treating the GI complaint itself to achieve resolution. For all patients regardless of age, of course, their initial consultation includes an assessment for imbalances from a holistic perspective, and your treatment plan will aim to address any positive findings.


The upward flow of Qi and Blood supports the health of the brain, but an invasion by pathogenic factors disrupts this flow, leading to stagnation of Qi and Blood, which can manifest as headaches. These pathogenic factors include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. In addition, headaches can develop from internal imbalances, like an excess of Liver Yang, or Qi and Blood deficiencies. Conditions such as hypertension or anxiety give rise to Qi stagnation in the Liver, diminishing Liver Yin and setting off an excess of Liver Yang that surges upward and triggers headaches. To the same end, conditions such as an improper diet, stress, and chronic or congenital diseases all cause Qi and Blood deficiencies, and these deficiencies lead to malnourishment of the mind and manifest as headaches, too.

My objectives are to address your specific imbalances and deficiencies with acupuncture and herbal medicine, which often involves restoring the balance of Yin and Yang in the Liver by expelling pathogenic factors and dispelling stagnation, and to replenish internal deficiencies while resolving the root causes of those deficiencies.

Hyperthyroidism & Grave's Disease

Both external and internal pathogenic factors as well as internal deficiencies of Yin can result in hyperthyroidism. Exogenous pathogens include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness, and endogenous pathogens include stress and other negative emotions. Pathogenic factors of either type can cause internal deficiencies. Among these, an excess of Liver Fire, which results in excess Yang Heat, and deficiencies of Kidney and Liver Yin and of Kidney and Spleen Qi can both cause Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation as well as accumulation of Phlegm. Ultimately, these imbalances manifest as the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, heat intolerance, and weight loss.

My objectives begin with expelling the pathogenic factors present in your body, and followed by tonifying Kidney and Liver Yin to harmonize the balance of Yin and Yang within those organs, always with the combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine. The first stage of treatment focuses on expelling pathogenic factors, which may help your T3 and T4 levels to normalize. The second stage of treatment involves tonification, which may help your TSH level to normalize.

Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto's Disease

The causes of hypothyroidism can vary widely, as the body’s hormonal axis has multiple stages at which dysfunction can occur. In Hashimoto’s disease with hypothyroidism following an early stage of thyroiditis accompanied by hyperthyroidism, the excess Yang Heat that drives the hyperthyroidism eventually becomes exhausted, transforming the illness into hypothyroidism. Such patients, though now hypothyroid, still tend to carry residual Heat excess. In other forms of hypothyroidism, the condition usually arises directly from internal deficiencies, primarily of Spleen Qi, but sometimes of Kidney Qi as well. Along with stagnation of Liver Qi, these deficiencies can manifest as the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, including depression, fatigue, cold intolerance, and weight gain.

My objectives for hypothyroidism of any etiology are to replenish Spleen and Kidney Qi through tonification and to expel pathogenic factors, including Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness, as well as Heat toxicity with acupuncture and herbal medicines. I also aim to improve the circulation of Qi within the Liver to clear stagnation and better repair the dysfunction of the thyroid glands.


Both general and organ-specific imbalances can contribute to infertility. Common etiologies include stagnation or deficiency of Qi and Blood as well as deficiencies of either Yin or Yang. These are often observed alongside inflammation and Heat that arises from toxicities secondary to chronic infection, stress, and/or an improper diet. While a younger woman’s treatment plan may necessitate more focus on external factors such as these, the treatment plan for women past the age of forty tends to focus more on strengthening the specific organs, as age typically correlates with the vigor of your organs.

My objectives focus on addressing the specific imbalances present with acupuncture and herbal medicines, as well as diet counselling. Stagnations are treated by moving Qi and Blood, while deficiencies are treated by tonifying the relevant systems. A holistic treatment plan is important because these imbalances in your general health impact the health of your eggs and uterus lining, too. External factors may be treated and/or expelled with acupuncture and herbs, but will also benefit from diet and lifestyle modifications, as appropriate, to enhance the recovery process.


Insomnia can be a complex multifactorial condition, but while causes include both modifiable factors such as diet and overexertion as well as unmodifiable factors such as external pathogens, which include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness, or internal deficiencies, in the pathology of insomnia all these imbalances converge at a breakdown in the communication between Heart Fire and Kidney Water, an essential element of healthy sleep.

My objectives are to address the quality of your diet and lifestyle, to expel pathogenic factors, and/or to tonify internal deficiencies, with the ultimate goal of restoring the normal communication between the Heart and Kidney with acupuncture and herbal medicine.

Both external and internal imbalances may contribute to severe menopausal symptoms. These include, externally, pathogenic factors that invade the body and produce Heat toxicity, and internally, deficiencies of Lung, Kidney, and Spleen as well as Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation. These pathogenic factors include Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. Fully resolving the symptoms of menopause requires addressing both types of imbalances to provide not only relief from immediate symptoms, but also to reduce the body’s susceptibility to recurrence.

My objectives are to treat both external imbalances, by dispelling invading factors and detoxifying your whole system, as well as internal imbalances, by tonifying organ deficiencies and moving Qi, Blood, and Phlegm to clear stagnation, with acupuncture and herbal medicines. My treatment plan usually consists of three stages. In the early stage of treatment, I clear away Heat and Cold imbalances in your body and clear Qi, Blood, and Damp stagnation to more directly address your symptoms. The intermediate stage treatment simply involves a combination of early and late stage objectives, and in the late stage treatment, I focus more on tonifying your organ deficiencies to treat the root to reduce both current symptoms as well as recurrence of menopause.

Nephritis, Acute & Chronic

Acute nephritis has Heat and Cold types, though the latter is rarely observed. The Heat type results most frequently from the Heat toxicity, such as strep throat, malaria, or other respiratory infection, because a deficiency of Wei Qi allows an invasion of external pathogenic factors, such as Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness, to extend more deeply into the Kidney.

Chronic nephritis similarly has Heat and Cold types, which are both commonly observed. The Heat type can present with night sweats, and results from Heat toxicity that smolders inside the body for an extended period of time, causing Kidney Yin deficiency. The Cold type can present with swollen legs, and results from deficiencies of Yang and Qi within the Kidney and Spleen that developed from chronic illness or significant urinary loss of protein.


Nephropathy comprises a broad category of kidney dysfunction, which includes complications of a number of diseases such as diabetes, multiple myeloma, nephritis, etc., and falls under the categories of Wei and Bi syndromes, with aassociated symptoms resulting from deficiencies of the Kidney and Spleen as well as obstructions of Qi and Blood in the meridians and collaterals of the body. These obstructions can develop from deficiencies of Kidney and Liver Yin or from invasion of pathogenic factors, such as Wind, Dampness, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. Both deficiencies and pathogenic factors tend to exhaust the body, and thus are often observed alongside Yang and Qi deficiencies within the Kidney and Spleen, which in a vicious cycle exacerbate the body’s other deficiencies as well as its susceptibility to pathogenic invasion.

My objectives are to restore the flow of Qi and Blood by tonifying the Kidney and Spleen with acupuncture and herbal medicines as well as removing obstructions present, which entails not only clearing these obstructions directly by acupuncture and herbal medicines, but also counselling you on your diet to eliminate anything that would aggravate your condition.

Pain Syndromes

While pain can usually be traced to some form of physical trauma, like most conditions pain can also develop from internal deficiency or stagnation, which often result from overuse or traumatic injuries. On the other hand, where there is not an obvious cause for pain, pain syndromes tend to develop from toxicity within the body. The perception of pain in such cases traces not necessarily to local overuse or injury, but rather to generalized imbalances of organ and body systems, in some sense analogous to the medical phenomenon of referred pain. By approaching pain syndromes from these holistic principles, Chinese medicine can better identify and treat pain at its roots.

My objectives are to detoxify and balance your system with acupuncture and herbal medicine, as well as to counsel you on your diet and lifestyle habits to help prevent new toxicities from entering your body. Where deficiency or stagnation plays constitutes a larger part of the problem, too, tonifying your body with acupuncture and herbal medicine will play an essential role in your treatment plan. At the same time, acupuncture also helps to provide direct relief of pain while working in conjunction with herbal medicines to treat the root of your condition.

Renal Failure, Acute & Chronic

Acute renal failure results frequently from toxicity, for which dialysis is the best and fastest treatment option. Chronic renal failure results from deficiency of Kidney Jing, with accompanying deficiencies of Qi and Yang. These imbalances may stem from a number of other diseases, including hypertension, diabetes, chronic nephritis, etc.

My objectives for chronic renal failure are focused on tonifying your Kidney Jing while also detoxifying your system and moving Qi and Blood. In my experience, my patients who achieved the best outcomes started my treatments with a creatinine of less than four.


While stress may seem like a purely psychosocial condition on the surface, its detrimental effects on the rest of the body has been well-documented. As such, a multifactorial condition such as stress requires a holistic approach to treatment, which involves addressing the imbalances of the organs, such as internal deficiencies, and of their inter-relationships, such as stagnation, in Chinese medicine. These different types of imbalances can also create vicious cycles, as when Spleen and Kidney Qi deficiencies create and become worsened by constriction of Liver Qi. The outcome of such cycles ends up being an increasing susceptibility to more stress and other negative emotions.

My objectives are to target these imbalances wherever they may be present, such as by tonifying your body’s deficiencies and dispersing any constrictions of Qi, using a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicines to work to break these vicious cycles and to help your body recuperate, while also promoting the relaxation of your mind. Also important in this treatment plan, I will counsel you on proper diet and exercise to aid in your recovery.

Dr. Li has three clinic locations at which she practices, which are located in Portland, Tigard, and Salem:


10303 NE Weidler St
Portland, OR 97220


12575 SW Main St
Portland, OR 97223


846 Commercial St SE
Salem, OR 97302

For more info or for scheduling:

(503) 577-1092

Home | About Me | History of TCM | Conditions | Publication | Testimonials | FAQs | Pharmacy | Online Consultation | Fees | Locations

© Wei Li Acupuncture, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from qualified medical or health care providers. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions or to prescribe any medication or for any other medical purposes. Wei Li Acupuncture, Inc., assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or comprehensiveness of the information on this website.