Frequently Asked Questions - 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Provided below are brief answers to some common questions regarding traditional Chinese medicine and regarding Wei Li's practice. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture stimulates the nerves at specific points on the body with extremely fine needles. Traditional texts map out several hundred points along twelve primary meridians, i.e. channels, though only about a hundred of these points are commonly used. Among its many purposes, this technique restores and promotes the flow of Chi through these channels, alleviating illness by clearing obstructions and increasing flow to organs with deficiencies. When appropriate, mild electrical stimulation may be applied through the needles to optimize the effectiveness of the treatment.

Is acupuncture safe and painless?

Acupuncture by an experienced practitioner is one of the safest therapeutic practices available. All needles are sterile and disposed of after one use. With appropriate technique, acupuncture should cause little or no pain due to the fineness of the needle, which is generally the same thickness as a strand of hair. Instead, tingling sensation may be expected in the vicinity of the needle, as it indicates that the flow of Chi has risen.

How does herbal medicine work?

Herbal medicines draw on the inherent capability of numerous herbs, which range from plant and animal byproducts to inorganic matter, to remedy specific imbalances in the body. Because the effects of herbs are specific, herbal formulas are different for every patient, as they combine only those types and quantities of herbs that are appropriate for the patient’s condition. While the precise medicinal constituents of these herbs have yet to be identified in biochemical terms due to their complexity, the therapeutic value of countless herbs has been well documented in both traditional and contemporary literature.

How does Chinese medicine differ from Western medicine?

Chinese and Western medicine differ fundamentally in both their approach to and their interpretation of illness. Chinese medicine always traces an illness to its cause, and focuses on treating those roots along with the symptoms. Western medicine, in contrast, approaches most illnesses by treating the symptoms. Consequently, Western medicine has developed countless medications with precise functions, but whose prescriptions may extend for an indefinite period of time because the cause of the illness remains active, whereas Chinese medicine eliminates the root of the illness, so that recurrences are unlikely so long as one maintains a healthy lifestyle. Summarily, the strength of Chinese medicine lies in its focus on the cause of illnesses, whereas the strength of Western medicine lies in its efficacy in emergencies and surgical cases.

In their interpretation of illness, moreover, Chinese medicine formulates diagnoses in abstract as opposed to literal terms, unlike Western medicine. As such, references to bodily organs or to elements, such as Wind or Fire, in Chinese medicine do not denote the literal terms themselves. Instead, the theory of Chinese medicine as a whole serves as a reference for the physician’s determination of what techniques or medicines are appropriate treatments for a patient’s condition.

What conditions can Chinese medicine treat?

Together, acupuncture and herbal medicine have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions. Chinese medicine accomplishes this versatility by assessing the harmony of the body as a whole and thus addressing all of the roots of a condition, leading to long-term relief. Read more about Wei Li’s application of these principles to clinical conditions.

Will my treatment involve anything beside acupuncture and herbal medicine?

Yes. A healthy diet is a crucial complement to acupuncture and herbal medicine. Without an appropriate diet, acupuncture and herbal medicine cannot restore your health in the long-term, because many types of food, some of which you may not have ever thought of as unhealthy, create imbalances that lead to illness or diminish the body’s own defenses against pathogens. Seeking treatment for an illness without correcting one’s diet, therefore, is analogous to trying to douse a fire while adding fuel to it at the same time.

What can I expect on my visits?

On your first visit, I will ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and current medications, as well as about your general lifestyle, including exercise and eating habits. In addition, I will check the condition of your tongue and pulse to fully diagnose your condition and determine the imbalances that need to be addressed. Following this assessment, I will begin your acupuncture treatment by placing needles at appropriate points, and I will check back regularly to stimulate the needles. During this time, I will also be writing and filling your herbal formula, which will usually be finished by the end of your treatment. Your first session will typical last between one to two hours, and your follow-up sessions will typical last between half an hour to one hour, which will consist of evaluating your progress and adjusting your formula as necessary.

How many treatments are necessary and how frequently must I come?

The number of treatments necessary for recovery varies significantly due to the diversity both in the types of imbalances specific to a patient as well as in the severity of these imbalances. Moreover, different patients exhibit different levels of sensitivity to treatment, thus making prognoses difficult to predict without some period of observation for the patient’s response to treatment. Similarly, the frequency of visits varies from patient to patient, but I typically recommend weekly visits.

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.