How this spa is making a difference in times of need.
While many of us watch helplessly from afar and do what we can to donate and contribute towards bushfire appeals, it’s impossible to truly understand what some businesses are going through. These are the businesses trying to make ends meet in fire-effected areas, who have been evacuated from their towns, who have seen the loss and destruction firsthand and even treated volunteers including local firefighters and their families.
One of these is Goddess Day Spa in Ulladulla on the South Coast, which has suffered months of fires and evacuations. Owner Louise Lugg has shared her touching and devastating story with us, including how she is doing her part to give back some much-needed wellness and self-care to her community.
How did the fires affect your business and your clients?
The fires around our community started seven weeks ago affecting the community of Bawley Point first, closing roads down South and cutting off people so that they could not attend their appointments, so many people had to cancel or reschedule.
We also had to close down the business when receiving evacuation messages from the RFS. I had to let the staff and clients go straight home to prepare for the fires. This happened on three different occasions.
When the NYE fires approached close to our premises and home we had to fully close and evacuate. For two days we had no power or internet. We are normally booked out solid over these Christmas holidays as Ulladulla is a beach holiday destination.
The government told all the tourists to leave town ASAP, the roads were closed both ends. People got trapped here and went into panic mode. Shops where emptied out and the appointments all cancelled as people wanted to get out of town to safety. The bookings dropped to below our quietest period of winter.
How important are wellness offerings being available to volunteers and others that have seen the devastating effects of these fires?
Over the last week or so we have been giving free spa treatments to the firies and people whose homes were burnt to the ground leaving them with nothing. The first person I gave three hours of nurturing to was Charlie the commanding chief of the Bawley Point Fire Brigade. Seven weeks of hell for him and his team – half of which are women. He said the women were amazing stepping up, while also balancing the male energy. He expressed how when they are in the truck out on the job they are fine, but it’s not until they are home trying to relax and also while trying to sleep that their minds recall all the terrible things that they saw. All the burnt animals, the burnt people they had to sit with screaming in terrible pain waiting for the helicopters to pick them up. I decide that Charlie needed more than a deeply relaxing massage.
I started with a guided meditation to help calm and ground him before his Blissful Marma Massage created by Subtle Energies, which use pure aromatic oil blends distilled in India with the ingredients of Mogra, Kewda and Kashmir Lavender. These oils will help to soothe the senses and uplift the soul. I gave Charlie some Nasya Nose oil to apply to help with the smoke and also lift anxiety and promote a calm mind to help with the sleep issue. I also gave Charlie an Aura Protection mist to help reduce negativity, and an aromatic mist to clear and protect his energy. Charlie was very grateful and looked so much more calm when he left. I gave him some complimentary massage vouchers for the amazing mums in his brigade so that they may also come in for some wellness pampering.
I feel that over the coming months, spas can really make a difference offering wellbeing for the mind, body and soul, to help heal and restore balance.
What can others do to help? Are monetary donations the most beneficial?
Yes, money is always an important factor for the recovery of homes and goods, but I do see so much sent in trucks down the South Coast to help people with their daily lives. We in the spa world can address nurturing and help restore emotional calmness and balance back to people’s lives through our holistic approach. This doesn’t just mean give them a massage and send them out the door, but nurturing them and educating them by giving them tools and knowledge of healthy daily routines to establish for their future, and giving them a guide or a basic list of instructions for self-care. This can include quality natural products, the use of pure aromatic oils, good nutrition, simple daily meditations, breathing techniques and positive daily affirmations. Help them to restore good sleep with regular massage, and self-care with fresh air, sunshine and regular exercise.
Even though we are gifting our neighbours with massages and products, I am encouraging others through social media to purchase an anonymous gift voucher for a person in need. People want to help and they don’t know what to do, but this is a perfect gift of love.
How do you plan to get through the next few months?
The feeling here right now in our community is to help each other. Small acts of kindness go such a long way. Kids are baking and selling cakes out the front of their houses, people are giving away their precious guitars, every kind of fundraising is going on right now. It’s so amazing to see how people react to tragedy. We are seeing the best and the worst of people in these situations. Thankfully it’s the good that stands out. There is a strong sense of wanting to get back to normality for the town. Apart from doing our charity work, we are running the spa as normal and it’s lovely to see people from far and wide buying gift vouchers and booking in as they want to support the local community. Business across our town have been hit hard, losing our biggest income of the year. Most businesses rely on this income to get them through the winter months.
I am so proud of our spa partners Subtle Energies Ayurveda Aromatherapy, Waterlily Australasia and Eye of Horus Cosmetics. These lovely companies did not hesitate to give out loads of beautiful natural high quality products to us so that we may gift them to the families that have lost everything. Subtle Energies has also given us wellness packs so we can provide firies with some self-care. So thoughtful.
Louise also tells us that while donated goods are aplenty, there is a need for basic skincare supplies, and is encouraging stockists and brands to contribute. Louise will be distributing everything she collects to families in need. If you would like to learn more, please contact Louise directly at firstname.lastname@example.org