Ginkgo Leaves

A Heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Wei Li Acupuncture

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

Ginkgo Leaves
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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.

Read More

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture stimulates specific points along specific channels, also called meridians, on the body with extremely fine needles. These channels where mapped out by ancient practitioners over millenia of research. 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, alleviating illness by dispelling stagnation, clearing obstructions, and increasing flow to organs suffering from deficiencies. When appropriate, mild electrical stimulation may be applied through the needles to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.

Is acupuncture safe and painless?

Acupuncture is one of the safest therapeutic practices available. All needles are manufactured sterile and disposed of after a single use. With appropriate technique, acupuncture causes little or no pain due to the needle's fineness, which is generally the same thickness as a strand of hair. Instead, tingling sensations may be expected in the vicinity of the needle, which is the desired response especially with manual stimulation of the needle, as it indicates a rise in the flow of Qi.

How does Chinese herbal medicine work?

Chinese herbal medicines draw on the inherent capability of various documented herbs to remedy specific imbalances in the body. While traditional Chinese medicine has historically included the use of animal, plant, and mineral products, I currently only use plant-based herbal medicines in accord with patient preference. Our herbal formulas are custom-made for every patient, because the effects of every herb are unique, and each formula combines the herbs that are appropriate for the patient’s condition on assessment or reassessment. While the active ingredients of these herbs have yet to be fully characterized due to their complexity, the therapeutic value of countless herbs has been well documented in both traditional and contemporary literature.

How does traditional Chinese medicine differ from Western medicine?

Chinese and Western medicine differ fundamentally in their interpretation of illness. Chinese medicine interprets health as a multi-faceted balancing feat of the body both within itself and with external factors, and traces illness to one or more of these imbalances, which manifest in such way that may be diagnosed by history-taking, observation, and pulse examination. By treating and correcting the imbalances present with acupuncture, herbal medicines, and lifestyle changes the patient may be expected to return to good health. The language of Chinese medicine also differs from that of Western medicine in that terms some shared by both, such as in reference to the organs, are not exactly equivalent. Rather, the discussion of organ systems in traditional Chinese medicine has evolved into more abstract concepts, in contrast to the empiric discussion of organ systems in Western medicine.

Many of the concepts of Chinese medicine, however, have analogs within the understanding of Western medicine, such as imbalances corresponding to over- or underactivity of different organ systems, and external invading factors corresponding to pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. While modern Western medicine has achieved, of course, a deeper scientific understanding of many diseases and treats them accordingly, in this age there are many diseases for which Western medicine has no cure, but rather only chronic, symptomatic treatments that vary widely in efficacy.

In this respect, Chinese medicine may have great therapeutic potential, as its this field of medicine has maintained its utility to diagnose the imbalances at the root of disease and to treat disease by correcting those imbalances with acupuncture and herbal medicines, with the difference for many disease processes of prescribing medicines not intended to be taken indefinitely.

What conditions can Chinese medicine treat?

Together, acupuncture and herbal medicine have the potential to treat an endless range of non-emergent and non-surgical conditions. Chinese medicine's versatility comes from its assessment of the disharmonies of the body as a whole, regardless of where the presenting illness localizes to, and thus interpreting disease as a holistic collection of bodily imbalances that may be treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine, with the goal of eliminating the root of disease to produce long-term relief. Read more about Dr. Li’s application of these principles to common clinical conditions.

Will my treatment involve anything beside acupuncture and herbal medicine?

Yes. A healthy diet and lifestyle are crucial complements to acupuncture and herbal medicine. Without an appropriate diet and lifestyle habits, 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 and maintain imbalances that lead to illness or diminish the body’s own defenses to its health. Treatment for an illness without correction of you 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, and about your general lifestyle, including exercise and eating habits. In addition, I will check the condition of your tongue and/or pulse to better diagnose your condition and determine the imbalances that need to be addressed. Following this assessment, unless you requested no acupuncture, I will begin your acupuncture treatment by placing needles at appropriate points, and I will check back regularly to stimulate the needles. As appropriate, I will as position heating lamps near you for indirect moxibustion. During this time, I will also be writing and filling your herbal prescrition, which will usually be finished by the end of your treatment. Your first session will typical last between 60 to 120 minutes, and your follow-up sessions will typical last between 30 to 60 minues, which will consist of assessing 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 wide range in both the types of imbalances recognized in Chinese medicine as well as the severity of these imbalances. Different patients, furthermore, respond at different rates to treatment, thus making prognoses difficult to predict without some period of observation of your response to treatment. Similarly, the frequency of visits varies from patient to patient, but recommendation typically range between visits twice per week and biweekly visits.

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.