An Overview of Common Clinical Conditions - Wei Li Acupuncture
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A Heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Wei Li Acupuncture

Wei Li, L.Ac. & Herbalist

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Wei 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 Wei 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

The theory of traditional Chinese medicine interprets the workings of the body from an abstract point of view unlike the scientific approach of western medicine. The ideological influences of Taoism and Confucianism intertwined early physicians' practical study of medicine and their philosophical study of nature. By observing characteristics of nature — the air, temperature, moisture, and so on — they conceived fundamental principles such as that of Ying and Yang and of the Theory of the Five Elements. The environment thus became the essential analogy of Chinese medicine for health and illness, and following from this model, the focus of its theories is the interconnection between all organs of the body rather than the qualities of an organ in a vacuum.

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

Allergic Rhinitis

The main cause of allergies differs between children and adults. In children, allergies commonly develop from the invasion of exogenous pathogenic factors, which include Wind, Damp, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. Once these pathogenic factors invade the Lung, they impair its capacity to circulate bodily fluids, causing nasal phlegm accumulation. In adults, however, as internal deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi progress with age, they generally become the predominant cause of allergies. Because the Kidney and Spleen channel Qi to the Lung, deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi weaken the Lung, resulting in stagnation of fluid circulation and consequently nasal phlegm accumulation.

My objectives are to expel the pathogenic factors affecting the Lung and subsequently restore Kidney and Spleen Qi by acupuncture and herbal medicine, and also to diffuse local Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnations to clear nasal symptoms.

Alzheimer's Disease

A number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease may have developed from a long-term viral infection, which may not necessarily exhibit clear or immediate symptoms. Viral pathogens produce Heat toxicity, and thus dry the circulating fluids into stagnant Phlegm, which generates Wind as it obstructs the body’s Qi channels. Both Phlegm and Wind obstruct the external orifices as well as the internal orifices of the Heart. Blockage of external orifices impairs speech and sensory functions, while blockage of the orifices of the Heart causes mental deterioration. With age, internal deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi not only leave the body more vulnerable, but also detriment the brain directly. Nourishment to the brain comes from the Kidney, whose Qi is supplemented by the Spleen. As deficiencies of Qi and Blood malnourish the brain, stagnations of Qi, Blood, and Phlegm form and lead to decline in mental function.

Since a pathogenic infection, if present, can exacerbate internal deficiencies, and vice versa, my objective is to consider and treat both causes, to mitigate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by strengthening the Kidney and Spleen and diffusing Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnations with herbal medicine supplemented by acupuncture.


The diversity of physical and psychological stimuli that can trigger asthma attests to the difficulty of achieving comprehensively preventive measures. In the perspective of Chinese medicine, however, asthma stems from the invasion of exogenous pathogenic factors and from internal Qi deficiencies and stagnation. Asthma and allergic rhinitis share many pathological similarities, such as the stagnation of Blood, Qi, and Phlegm in the Lung due to an invasion of Wind and Cold or to an accumulation of Phlegm and Heat. As the natural downward flow of Qi is obstructed in both cases, Lung Qi may rebel upward, inducing an asthmatic attack. Deficiencies of Kidney and Spleen Qi exacerbate the stagnations in the Lung, which in turn worsens internal deficiencies.

My objectives include expelling pathogenic factors, restoring Kidney and Spleen Qi, and diffusing Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnations by acupuncture and herbal medicine, but most importantly I focus on recuperating the health of the Lung, one of the most sensitive organs. In this respect, treatment for asthma requires more time than treatment for allergic rhinitis.

Bell's Palsy

Bell’s palsy typically develops from an internal Qi deficiency in the channels of the body. The deficiency of Qi within these channels makes them vulnerable to invasion by exogenous pathogenic factors, which include Wind, Damp, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dryness. The invasion of these factors induces Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnation in the body, obstructing the flow of nutrients to the facial channels. The absence of Qi and Blood circulation consequently weakens and paralyzes the nerves and muscles of the face.

My objectives are to expel pathogenic factors from the facial channels and to promote local circulation of Qi and Blood by acupuncture as well as locally applied herbal patches, and additionally to diffuse stagnations across the whole body with herbal medicine.

GI Disorders

For people above the age of 40, gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, gas, and nausea may be caused by reasons such as kidney and spleen deficiency, a lesser ability to absorb nutrition, Damp heat, Fire, or easy stagnation of Qi, Damp, and Phlegm. In these cases, I focus primarily on treating the condition of your entire body than on the illness itself. By improving the health of your body and the condition of your digestive system as a whole, I can clear away any gastrointestinal disorders.

For people under the age of 40, gastrointestinal disorders are usually caused by unhealthy eating habits, such as eating too little or too much at meals or eating too much junk food or spicy foods. In these cases, I focus primarily on treating the gastrointestinal disorder itself. However, the goal of Chinese medicine is to balance the whole body regardless of the illness, and therefore I also take into consideration the condition of your entire body when prescribing an herbal formula.


The upward flow of Qi and Blood maintains the health of the brain, but an invasion by exogenous pathogenic factors disrupts this flow, causing the Qi and Blood to stagnate. This stagnation may manifest as headaches. Exogenous pathogens include Wind, Damp, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dry. Furthermore, headaches may stem from either internal imbalances or internal deficiencies. In the case of internal imbalances, headaches result from an excess of Yang in the Liver, set off by hypertension and anxiety. These conditions give rise to Qi stagnation in the Liver, which diminishes Liver Yin. The resulting excess of Liver Yang surges upward to the head. In the case of internal deficiencies, conditions such as improper diet, stress, or chronic or congenital diseases all cause Qi and Blood deficiencies. As these deficiencies malnourish the mind, they can manifest as headaches.

My objectives, depending on what imbalances and/or deficiencies are present, are to restore the balance of Yin and Yang in the Liver by expelling pathogenic factors and diffusing stagnations and to both recuperate internal deficiencies as well as eliminate the roots of those deficiencies by acupuncture and herbal medicine.


Hyperthyroidism may result from exogenous and/or endogenous pathogenic factors as well as from an internal deficiency of Yin. Exogenous pathogens include Wind, Damp, Fire, Heat, Cold, and Dry, and endogenous pathogens include negative emotions and stress. Internal deficiency condition may arise from the pathogenic factors, as the latter causes Liver Fire and deficiency of Kidney and Liver Yin. Along with an accumulation of Phlegm, the resulting excess of Yang Heat, which rises upward and causes Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnations, subsequently manifests as symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, etc. This understanding of hyperthyroidism relates both to Grave’s disease and to the hyperthyroidic phases of Hashimoto’s disease.

My objectives are to begin first to expel the pathogenic factors, and later to also tonify Kidney and Liver Yin in order to restore the balance of Yin and Yang within those organs, through both acupuncture and herbal medicine. After the first stage of treatment, your T3 and T4 levels are expected to return to normal, and after the second stage of treatment, during which I clear pathogens as well as tonify Yin, your TSH level is expected to return to normal. In the final stage of treatment, I focus on tonification to maintain your recovery.


Hypothyroidism includes two types, one of which follows hyperthyroidism in Hashimoto’s disease, and the other of which occurs independently as a result of internal deficiencies. In the case of Hashimoto’s disease, the Yang Heat that stimulated the hyperthyroidic phase eventually becomes exhausted as well, leading to the hypothyroidic phase of the disease. Such patients are thus also likely to carry symptoms of Heat excess. In the case of simple hypothyroidism, the condition may arise directly due to internal deficiencies, primarily of Spleen Qi but also of Kidney Qi. These deficiencies, along with Liver Qi stagnation, manifest as the common symptoms of hypothyroidism.

My objective for the hypothyroidic phase of Hashimoto’s disease is to tonify the Kidney and Liver to restore Yin, Yang, and Qi, in addition to clearing pathogenic factors that cause the hyperthyroidic phase, through acupuncture and herbal medicine. Similarly, my objective for simple hypothyroidism is to tonify Spleen and Kidney Qi, while improving the circulation of Liver Qi, to restore healthy activity of the thyroid glands.


Many types of imbalances, ranging from organ-specific to general types, can contribute to infertility. Common factors include stagnation or deficiency of Qi and Blood as well as deficiencies of Yin or Yang, often alongside inflammation and Heat resulting from toxicities that frequently come from a chronic infection, stress, and/or an unhealthy diet. Because age generally correlates with the strength of one’s organs, women above the age of 40 typically require attention on tonifying the body, too.

My objective is simply to remedy with acupuncture and herbal medicines each type of imbalance that I find to be present. Stagnations are addressed by moving Qi and Blood, while deficiencies are each addressed by acupuncture points and herbs specific to them. Similarly, acupuncture and herbs both can clear inflammation and/or Heat if either or both are present; this process can also be enhanced by certain foods. Throughout the course of treatment, a proper diet will be essential to avoid introducing new toxicities into your body. Lastly, the degree of tonification will depend on the overall strength of your body during the treatment. Aside from eliminating detriments to your body, the health of your body, which affects that of your eggs and uterus lining, must be strengthened to remedy infertility.


Common causes of insomnia include improper diet and overexertion. What you eat as well as how regularly you eat both determine the fitness of your diet. An unhealthy routine in either regard can detriment Heart and Spleen Qi and provoke Stomach Fire. Overexertion can likewise weaken Heart and Spleen Qi, as well as provoke Fire within the Liver by depleting Yin from the Liver; as the depletion of Yin leads to an excess of Yang, which surges upward to the head, sometimes causing headache and irritability, too. Similarly, the invasion of exogenous pathogenic factors weakens Kidney and Spleen Qi as well as creates stagnation of Qi and Blood, obstructing the delivery of nourishment to the mind. All of these causes ultimately result in disharmony between the Heart and Kidney due to a deficiency of Kidney Yin, as the Spleen fails to deliver adequate Qi to the Kidney and as Liver Fire dries away Kidney Yin.

My objectives are to address the quality of your diet, to expel pathogenic factors and restore Spleen Qi as appropriate, and most importantly, to calm the Fire in the Heart and Liver while strengthening the Yin of the Kidney by acupuncture and herbal medicine.

I combine acupuncture treatments with herbal medicine in order to release wind, to clear away any existing heat toxicity, to strengthen your adrenal and immune system in order to eliminate lung, kidney, and spleen deficiencies, and to move Qi, Blood, and Phlegm stagnations and thereby clear up the symptoms of menopause. In the beginning stage, I clear away the heat or cold imbalance in your body and remove the Qi, Blood, and Damp stagnation. The intermediate stage involves a conjunction of the beginning and concluding stages. In the concluding stage, I tonify your kidney Jing, which is the source of all Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood. The majority of menopause patients have more kidney Yin deficiency than kidney Yang deficiency. In Chinese theology, Yang is heat and Yin is cold; therefore, a Yin deficiency causes an imbalance in your body which results in too much heat. When your body is deficient, there is also a great amount of Qi, Blood, and Damp stagnation. I also focus on clearing away the Qi, Blood, and Damp stagnation as I clear away the heat or cold.
Muscle & Joint Pain

Like other conditions, joint and muscle pain often may develop from stagnations or deficiencies, though I have found that pain more commonly results from toxicities within the body. This link between internal illness and local or distal pain is comparable to the physiological phenomenon known as referred pain, which is pain in a certain area triggered by neural feedback from a disordered organ because both the feedback neurons and the pain receptor converge at the same interneurons running to the brain. Heart-attacks, for instance, are often accompanied by pain in the left shoulder due to this sort of neural cross-wiring. Chinese medicine applies the same idea to its diagnoses of pain symptoms, identify and treating the pain at its root. Pain directly due to trauma or overwork is treated similarly by strengthening the body as a whole.

My objectives are to thoroughly detoxify and mend your system with acupuncture and herbal medicine, and no less importantly, address the quality of your diet to prevent new toxicities from entering your body. Concurrently, acupuncture treatments provide fast relief while everything works to remedy the root of your condition. Eliminating your stagnations and/or deficiencies, moreover, supplements your detoxification in order to support your long-term health. In patients for whom stagnations or deficiencies are the dominate cause, often as the result of trauma or overwork, the tonification of the body through acupuncture and herbal medicine will play a more significant role.

Acute nephritis is categorized into heat and cold types, though the cold type is rarely seen. The heat type is most often caused by heat toxicity such as strep throat, malaria, and the common cold because a Wei Qi deficiency allows toxicities to extend deeper into the kidney. Chronic nephritis is categorized into heat and cold types as well. Symptoms of the heat type are night sweats, a red tongue, and a fast pulse. The heat type is cause by heat toxicity that lingers inside the body for a long period of time, causing kidney Yin deficiency. Symptoms of the cold type are swollen legs, a pale face, a pale tongue, and a weak pulse. The cold type is cause by Yang and Qi deficiency of the kidney and spleen that resulted from a long-term illness or a significant loss of protein through the urine.

Frequently, nephropathy develops from complications of conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, etc. and from inflammation, and falls under the category of Wei and Bi syndromes. Chronic symptoms of atrophy, numbness, swelling, pain, and/or weakness typically result from obstructions of Qi and Blood in the meridians and collaterals of the body. These obstructions may be caused by deficiencies of Kidney and Liver Yin or by pathogenic factors, such as Wind, Damp, Heat, as well as Phlegm. These deficiencies and pathogens both wear out the body, and thus are often observed alongside Yang and Qi deficiencies in the Kidney and Spleen, which exacerbate the body’s other deficiencies and vulnerability to pathogens.

My objectives are to restore the flow of Qi and Blood by removing obstructions, which entails not only clearing these obstructions by acupuncture and herbal medicine, but also by eliminating from your diet foods with sugar, dairy, gluten, etc. that aggravate your condition.

Renal Failure
Acute renal failure is frequently caused by toxicity. Kidney damage that was caused by the toxicity can be repaired by Chinese medicine to a certain degree, depending on the patient’s condition. Chronic renal failure is the result of a deficiency of kidney Jing, which is the source of all Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood, although the illness is primarily Qi and Yang deficiency. This may be caused by hypertension, diabetes, or chronic nephritis.

Chinese medicine not only identifies specific organs, but also emphasizes the wholeness of the body and the interconnection of all the organs. Thus, a condition such as stress often is related weaknesses elsewhere in the body, such as deficiencies of Spleen and Kidney Qi. Moreover, this interconnection can generate vicious cycles, as when a weak immune system makes the mind more vulnerable to negative emotions, which in turn weakens the rest of the body.

My objectives are to relax your mind and body with acupuncture and herbal medicine, both of which detoxify and tonify your body and disperse Liver Qi. Appropriate diet and exercise are important to this process as well.

Wei Li's primary clinic is located in the Gateway district of Portland. She also practices in Tigard and Salem. Please contact us for more information on Wei Li's schedule.

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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 provided on this website.