WORDS BY Hollie Noonan
There is no doubt – Eumundi has big energy.
Perhaps it is being nestled and held within valleys surrounded by the strength of Cooroy Mountain, Black Mountain, Mount Tinbeerwah, and Mount Eerwah? Perhaps it is the unique blend of tradition and progression that we can see amongst our large community of resident artisans, musicians and healers? Nadja Ostro and Heidi Merika both felt it and were inspired to establish their healing services right here in Eumundi, ultimately deepening their connection to the community and to this beautiful land.
As a community, Eumundi tends to embody a holistic approach to life in general. Over time Eumundi has become known as an epicentre on the Sunshine Coast, not only for our expansive artisan markets but also for a place to slow down, heal, connect and practice self-care.
This January, as we reflect upon the conclusion of a decade and enter a new one, we chat with two of Eumundi’s favourite integrative practitioners to gain their perspective on simple ways for us to practice self-care during the heat of Summer, entering a new decade and also dealing with the emotional trauma encompassing our Country at this point in time.
Nadja Ostro of “Nadjas Family Acupuncture” and Heidi Merika of “Heidi Merika Apothecary and Naturopathy” share their top tips with us here.
Grounding for clarity
According to both Heidi and Nadja, a daily practice of grounding is the best and simplest act of self-care that each of us can easily implement as our strongest foundation. Once grounded we can best use our intuition to help ourselves navigate changes in the seasons, connect to how we are feeling and know how best to help ourselves. It’s as simple as setting aside ten minutes to sit on the grass, gaze at the trees, even a special sitting spot within your home where you can be still and calm your mind while you ground your energy. “You can then be clear and ask – how am I feeling today? What foods will nourish me?” explains Nadja.
Fortunately for us, Eumundi has an abundance of beautiful locations within the natural landscape that encourage time in nature and grounding. Bushwalking trails, parks, horse and bike riding trails – we really are spoilt for choice! Heidi names the Eumundi Conservation Park on Eumundi Noosa road, as her favourite spot for immersing in a natural setting in Eumundi. She uses her intuition within that space to decide whether her body needs a fast or slow walk through the landscape, then chooses a special little spot beside the dam to indulge her feet in the cool water and takes some quiet meditation time.
Likewise, Nadja finds the Eumundi Range Lookout on Eumundi Range Road to be a favourite for her to pause, take in the vista and check in with herself.
“Being in connection with my local environment and connection with the seasons, I know how I can nourish myself in the heat”, explains Nadja.
In the midst of a very hot summer, drinking plenty of fluids as well as caring for our liver is high on the priority list of both practitioners. Nadja suggests that from a traditional Chinese Medicine approach, pungent foods such as chilli, ginger and garlic, are encouraged to support the body to sweat and in turn, keep us cool during the heat of summer. She also explains how we can learn to recognise our own yin and yang. “Yin is our coolant, so incorporating yin activities in morning practice or at the end of the day settle the nervous system.” Yin activities are slower paced such as taking a bath, seated meditation, lying still or yin yoga where poses are held for several minutes.
The use of herbal bitters is a favoured way to care for the liver at this time of year when it is under additional stress. “Plenty of fluids and bitters” are helpful ways to keep our livers happy and body cooled, says Heidi.
Heidi also feels concerned about the impact of fires on peoples respiratory health and draws upon her knowledge of local native plants and herbs to offer specific remedies to her clients. “There are quite a few native Mallows growing wild in our local landscape, Ribwort Plantain also grows wild here”, both of these plants Heidi uses to support respiratory health creating tonics that “draw particles out of the respiratory tract and protect our lungs from smoke and pollution in the air.”
Nadja and Heidi empathise with the high levels of anxiety that they see as a regular thread in their clients, pointing to social media overconsumption, fast-paced lifestyles and at this moment in time – worry. There is no doubt the beginning of this year has been emotionally turbulent across our Country which is why implementing a self-care practice right now and taking time for ourselves is so important. Heidi believes that in such a powerful time as we are experiencing, collectively we have three important themes; simplicity, authenticity and localisation. “Building really strong communities is vital”, explains Heidi.
Whether it be growing food, studying astrology, practising yoga, caring for injured animals, landcare or getting out and amongst the markets, the opportunities to engage in community activity are endless.
Nadja enjoys embracing the outward energy of Summer and being active in the community right now. “Go to the markets, soak up the vibrancy and merging of cultures and sit under the shade of the magnificent ancient fig trees in our park,” she encourages.
Accessing integrative practitioners and wellness activities
Together, Nadja and Heidi gush about the abundance of incredible integrative practitioners, and wellness focused activities all within the Eumundi area that they both rely upon for their personal self-care. Massage, yoga, bodywork, acupuncture, naturopathy, midwifery postnatal care, even a vibrant dance community are all readily available within the township by very experienced therapists.
“There is a big dance-therapy community in Eumundi!” explains Heidi. Tribal dance, conscious dance, kundalini dance are all happening regularly in and around the town centre.
Nadjas Family Acupuncture is located in the beautiful character-filled Old Baker Building on Memorial Drive, a historic building where Nadja says that “you can feel the history in the bricks.” She explains that “Acupuncture is about preventative health care and is easily incorporated in a self-care routine, rather than waiting until something goes wrong with our health.” A diverse team of integrative practitioners operate out of Nadjas clinic, where they specialise in pre and postnatal care as well as taking a full family approach to health through not only Traditional Chinese Medicine but also Naturopathy and more.
Heidi Merika Apothecary and Naturopathy operates from a home clinic in Eumundi where Heidi offers consultations as a naturopath using herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, diet and lifestyle to help people achieve their health goals. She also teaches and runs courses both online and on-location here on the coast. The release of Heidi’s first book in late 2019, “Wildcraft – The Science and Spirit of Wild Plants as Food and Medicine” really opens our eyes to the abundance and useful applications of plants that are growing wild around us right here in Eumundi. It’s also a great tool that encourages us into our landscape, to learn together, to connect, to be grounded and to be well.