At the end of last month, naturopath Anthia Koullouros addressed a 4,000-strong audience as one of the speakers at the prestigious Australian Real Estate Agents Conference (AREC) at the Gold Coast. It would not be the natural audience for an alternative medicine practitioner but times are changing.
“I spoke about the long-term consequences of long-term stress and real estate agents suffer stress like everyone else. I think everyone on the planet is stressed right now,” Ms Koullouros told Neos Kosmos.
The theme of the talk best reflects her philosophy: “How to re-calibrate an overwhelmed, fearful, dis-eased mind and body using whole food, nature’s medicine and lifestyle wisdom.”
“My talk went down really well, and I am busier now than I was before the conference. I have spoken at other conferences, but this was probably the biggest.”
Ms Koullouros has been a clinical naturopath and herbal medicine practitioner for the last 26 years. She has also run her own businesses including the Tea Store in Sydney which sells a range of teas and the recently launched Apotheca by Anthia that draws on her Greek Cypriot heritage.
The apothecary was a store house of botanical remedies that was often run by women who took over after the death of their husbands.
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“It provided the one opportunity where women could practise as healers,” said Ms Koullouros who has also launched a naturopathic collection of products that was named after Greek gods, another reflection of her roots.
Besides the COVID experience, last year was particularly tough one for Ms Koullouros as she engaged in a legal battle to prevent the takeover of a naturopathic business that she had set up 16 years before. She did not succeed.
“I had to gather myself mentally as the experience had left me heart broken. I felt deeply that I had to know my purpose – to go back to my core and essence.
“I feel I am at the beginning again: this is a second chance and I ask what can I do different this time? How did I find myself in such a position and how do I work out a way that I do not get into this position again. It has been hard, but I determined that I would not ‘crash and burn’.
“I also realised that I am here to help others, that is what I do,” she said.
Someone heard of her experiences in adversity and that led to her being invited to AREC 2021.
She began working on her second book in 2019 whose working title is “The Lion-Hearted Spirit”. The first book was “I Am food Guidebook” and its accompanying “Recipe Book” published in 2013.
“I wrote the first book because my patients were confused over what was the right thing to eat. It felt to strange to write the book because I had grown up eating correctly – it was part of my make up,” she said.
Ms Koullouros’ parents, Andrew and Irene, came to Australia from Cyprus at an early age. She grew up under her parents’ rules against eating junk food. The family grew its own food and eating healthily was part of her childhood.
“We grew up drinking chamomile and aniseed teas. My yiayia made her own chai using black tea, cloves and aniseed. It was normal.
“It is very simple: eat foods which you know where they come from and how they have been grown.
“I was influenced to become a naturopath by reading “How to Get Well” by Paolo Airola. It had a very profound effect on me. It was a calling that resonated deep within me that I am here to help people in natural ways. I met a naturopath when I was 16 and I worked there as I studied to be a naturopath when I was 18.
She studied at the Australian College of natural Therapy and received a Bachelor of Health Science (Homeopathy, Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine) from the University of New England. She launched her fist business at 22.
“Naturopaths use natural health practices using natural means to helps patients. We look at the patient’s lifestyle, self-care, sleep habits and the environment they live in.
“I have a strong belief that there is something deep and innate in us all that shows the way. We help to settle people’s minds to help achieve clarity. We strive for a deeper understanding and what drives the patient’s health.”
“Many of the people that I see are just surviving (particularly after a year like last year) and when people are in pain or unwell, it is hard for them to figure out what they really want to do.
“Most people have had traumas in their lives and need the extra support and reminder to keep healthy. They must also validate and honour what they think and feel. It is easy to criticize oneself when we go through difficult things. But if we are (in the) present, kind and compassionate we can prevent a lot of things, Ms Koullouros said.