I’m starting a new project on this blog and this is the first in the series. I am interviewing friends, colleagues, and others who have moved to Portugal to learn more about what drew them to Lisbon, what they are doing here, as well as the challenges and successes they have had in the city. For the first interview, I am chatting with Hayley Enright, my acupuncturist. I met her at one of her Affordable Acupuncture events at the insistence of my mother who was getting sick of me complaining of back pain (comes with the territory of working online and sitting at a desk all day). I went once and now I officially have an acupuncturist. Here’s a little about Hayley so you can get to know her too.
BV – Hayley, where are you from originally…and how did you end up in Lisbon?
HE – I’m from a beach town in Florida- most people haven’t heard of it over here but we’re famous in America for the beautiful beaches!
I moved to Paris in 2013 and came to Lisbon about a year and a half ago. I totally get why everybody loves it here!
BV - Were you going in a different direction before you decided to go into acupuncture?
HE – Oh yes! I didn’t know anything about medicine or healthcare. I was a teacher, which was wonderful (being around kids is fun, and I love books).
BV – When did you first hear about acupuncture and what was your initial reaction to the practice?
HE – I was 18- I had heard about it but I didn’t really know what it was for. On a whim I decided to book a session (it was really puzzling – needles can make you feel good?) and I had a great experience. I connected to my body in a deep way and it made me realize how alive and powerful it is. Although it took me 6 years to enroll in acupuncture school, I never forgot that beautiful experience!
BV - When did you decide to become an acupuncture professional?
HE – Although I really enjoyed teaching, I didn’t want to spend my career in that kind of administrative environment. When I was trying to figure out what to do next, only one answer made sense – acupuncture! It was such an intuitive decision, it must have been the universe directing me. So I went back to grad school and here I am! 10 years and more than 12.000 treatments later, I love it!
BV - What are your specialties?
HE – I see some of everything- back pain, neck or joint pain, stress, fertility, skin issues, digestion, depression, anxiety, sports injuries, pelvic problems, women’s health issues, immune problems…that’s one of the things I love about acupuncture. It can do so much to help the body and mind!
BV - Who do you think can benefit most from acupuncture?
HE – I’ve seen it work on so many people. My youngest patient was 9 days old, my oldest patient was 95! It optimizes the body’s natural intelligence, that’s why it reaches so many people.
BV - Did you know you would keep practicing when you made the move to Portugal?
HE – Absolutely! This is my calling. Every day at work is a great day, I can’t imagine not doing this!
BV - Are most of your patients expats or do you have an even split between expats and locals?
HE – At the moment it leans a little more towards expats (it’s often easier for them to take care of healthcare issues in English) but there are definitely locals as well.
BV - Have you seen a difference in how acupuncture is viewed here in Portugal? Is there a large or growing community here that leans towards acupuncture and all that it means to their lifestyle?
HE – My baseline of comparison is the US since that’s where I first worked. En général, Europe seems less oriented towards alternative practices but it is changing- there’s more and more interest in natural ways to restore health. One of the great things about that is how things like acupuncture also help the mental aspect along with the physical (less anxiety/stress/depression, better focus, etc.) So people are seeing they can resolve pain and feel happier at the same time. That’s a true return to our natural state. We were designed to feel good!
BV - What is your favorite part about being an acupuncture practitioner here?
HE – I get to meet such amazing people at work everyday. They come from all over the world, everone has a unique and beautiful story. I’m lucky I get to be part of their journey for a time!
BV - I hear your name everywhere now…how long did it take for you to get your business on solid ground from the first day you arrived in Lisbon?
HE – Oh that’s nice to hear! It’s a process, it takes time to grow a business from the ground up. I don’t think you ever really stop working on it, but when it’s work you love, you don’t mind!
BV - What is the next step for Acupuncture in Lisbon?
HE – The plan is to expand to other cities! It’s a big world out there, and acupuncture can help so many people.
BV - You do community acupuncture at the Little Yoga Studio, but you also take part in larger events. What would you say is the difference between your studio sessions and the events that you take part in?
HE – Just a matter of scale! It’s fun to be involved in group events. Being with people in general is a pleasure, whether it’s 1 or 100.
BV - Can you tell me about the next event that you are participating in?
HE – Yes- the Wellbeing Weekend on June 22 & 23. Wellbeing Ladies Lisbon has organized 16 different practitioners in 3 yoga studios to offer an amazing package of healthcare. You can sign up for 1 or 2 days and choose which modalities you want to try. There’s everything from acupuncture to yoga, gyrokinesis, gong baths, nutrition, massage and more! People are going to walk out of there floating on clouds (for tickets and info click here)
BV - If people are interested in trying out your services, what is the best way for them to contact you?
I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know Hayley a little better. I’d love to hear your feedback on this interview and what you would like to learn about those who have moved here. Leave a comment below to let me know.