Eastern vs Western Medicine
Gone are the days when eastern medicine was considered outlandish, shrouded in mystery, reserved for those “alternative types”. These days, many mainstream doctors are incorporating eastern therapies into their practices, with excellent outcomes for their patients. I caught up with the lunching ladies to share their thoughts on the subject.
Naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, reflexology kinesiology … eastern therapies have become increasingly popular as we look for a more holistic approach to our health. Whether you embrace these alternative treatments or are more of a traditionalist, there is increasing evidence to suggest that incorporating both eastern and western medicine into your health regime is the most effective way to achieve a healthy mind, body and spirit. To find out more, I asked the ladies for their preference and experience with both modalities.
Joining me for a delicious Mexican lunch at the Prickly Piñata in Cotton Tree was Helen McNally, owner of All’ Antica Italian Restaurant, Buddina; Leishka Grygoruk, owner of the Bison Bar, Nambour; Natalie Cherry, owner of Noosa Cruise and Travel; Courtney Clark, nutritionist and naturopath with Advanced Wellness, Maroochydore and Kara de Schot, general manager of Profile.
profile: Eastern or western medicine ladies, what is your preference?
courtney: I believe there is scope for our society to benefit from both. As a naturopath and nutritionist I am in the industry which is considered ‘eastern medicine’. I love my job and the rewards that come with getting people happy and healthy naturally. I don’t believe we have to be either one or the other, I am just as passionate about getting the correct pathology and scientific testing for my patients as I am using herbal medicines and nutritional therapy for their treatment.
kara: Mainly western, I have dipped my toe in the water with eastern medicine and open to trying new things.
denise: I think incorporating both is important and finding a balance. Both complement each other in a number of ways and should be considered as supporting each other depending on what the issue is of course.
leishka: I have a great western doctor now and he is very open to ‘not just prescribing something’, unless it’s absolutely necessary.
natalie: I believe in a balance of both. However, I love to get acupuncture, it truly does help with pain relief and recovery.
helen: I have no preference, but as a rule, with children in mind it’s off to the doctor. I, however, will take myself off to a naturopath. So it would definitely be a case of there is room for both in our lives.
I have looked at eastern medicine for myself and family members. I personally am happy to embrace all modalities depending on what confronts you at the time … it’s about balance
and research.” - DENISE
profile: Do you think your upbringing has influenced your persuasion?
helen: Yes in the fact that we were brought up with, ‘Go straight to the doctor’, if something was wrong.
courtney: My parents have European backgrounds and a lot of the time natural remedies and herbs were recommended before a visit to the doctor. Our nana would hide raw garlic in our dark pumpernickel bread, to ward off a cold. Lemon and honey was brewed as a tea for a sore throat, hot chillies and peppers were eaten to sweat out a fever.
kara: Absolutely. My mum worked as a nurse at a GP clinic during my childhood and is now a theatre nurse, where they see people at their worst and usually only western medicine can help them, or surgery. We have always had a family GP who I’ve seen for advice. However, as I get older I am exposed to many different types of eastern medicine, some of which I have tried with success, such as the osteopath, natropath and reflexologist, for milder symptoms.
denise: No, I think my life experiences have influenced the way I see things. Having the opportunity to be exposed to both modalities and seeing them both resulting in a benefit has made me open to all suggestions.
leishka: Growing up we had to be nearly dead or have lost an arm or something before we went to the doctor. I think because of this upbringing I tend to ignore things and just wait for them to pass. A lot of mind-over-matter. I’m very self-aware, so when I do have a body ache or pain I find I can concentrate on releasing the muscles and pain and over about 10 minutes I can feel my muscles relaxing and things clicking back into place.
profile: When have you tried eastern medicine and did it work?
courtney: I have experienced almost all forms of eastern medicine and there is nothing about your health or body that can’t be improved using some of the fabulous practitioners out there who are specifically trained to treat your body as a whole. I personally think acupuncture is a wonderful medium to correct not only physical ailments but emotional imbalances as well. It comes back to knowing your limitations as a practitioner and the same goes for when you yourself are a patient, often there is no one person who can address everything, but with the right combination you can start to feel like your best self again.
denise: I have looked at eastern medicine for myself and family members. I personally am happy to embrace all modalities depending on what confronts you at the time – again it’s about balance and research.
leishka: I have followed an eating plan which is based on genetics. I think there are seven different types and it tells you the foods to eat or avoid. When I stick to that I feel fantastic, but my partner must have a different type because for him it didn’t feel good at all.
helen: Yes definitely. Particularly during childbirth, using hypnobirthing.
natalie: When I had pneumonia, acupuncture relieved my congestion immediately.
I am just as passionate about getting the correct pathology and scientific testing for my patients as I am using herbal medicines and nutritional therapy for their treatment.” - Courtney
profile: What are your thoughts on traditional immunisation?
courtney: I think it comes down to the individual and having the right to be able make the choice. I don’t necessarily think it has to be a black and white issue, there may be certain immunisations you feel more strongly about and others you are cautious and wary of. So long as we continue to have a choice and that choice is respected, we can all move forward as a society.
kara: For my own family I couldn’t live with myself if my son suffered from a preventable disease because I didn’t immunise. Millions of deaths have been prevented due to immunisation, I am pro-choice however, and appreciate that some people do have reactions (some violent) to vaccines, so it isn’t for everyone.
denise: That’s an interesting question as we are starting to see the resurgence of some very nasty diseases that were once thought almost extinct and whooping cough is a great example of this. Being a nurse, sadly I witnessed babies so distressed with this condition and as vaccinations became more widespread, saw few-to-no cases – but it is starting to happen again. Is this due to an increase in not vaccinating? I’m not really sure. I think it is important never to be so insular to think that a disease has been eradicated because of vaccination – there may always be that little pocket somewhere in the world where it is endemic and with travel as easy and widespread as it is today – you need to be very aware.
natalie: I haven’t had to think about it yet regarding children. However, I know from a travel agent perspective for myself when I have had to travel overseas at short notice to places like Africa, I have been thankful that my parents have had me immunised.
helen: Traditional immunisation is a definite, for our children.
THE PRICKLY PIÑATA
The Prickly Piñata at Cotton Tree has always been one of my favourite places to dine when it comes to indulging in my love of authentic Mexican cuisine.
Located along the bustling esplanade, offering a stunning view of the river, this quirky eatery’s funky Mexican-themed decor brings a little bit of South America to the Sunshine Coast.
Well known for their friendly service and traditional Mexican dishes, the Prickly Piñata has become a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike.
One the day of our visit, our friendly waiter Miles went above and beyond to ensure we had a great dining experience from start to finish. His knowledge of the menu and willingness to explain what each dish consisted of was much appreciated by the lunching ladies.
We kicked things off with some tortilla crumbed zucchini chips with pepitas and spiced beetroot dip – delicious! The spiced tortilla chips with guacamole, spicy tomato and capsicum salsa were equally as tasty and the best was yet to come!
For mains, I couldn’t resist the Quesadilla Vegetales, the soft flatbread filled with vegetal mix, pepitas, salsa roja and blanco, jalapeños, pineapple, cheese, sour cream and guacamole was perfectly toasted and packed with delicious flavour.
The menu offers all of the usual suspects you would expect at a good Mexican restaurant including tacos, nachos and burritos. However if you are watching your carbs, all of the dishes are available without the bread base.
The Prickly Piñata also conveniently offers the choice of small, medium or large plates, so whether you are after a light lunch or snack or perhaps a few plates to share, there is something to suit all appetites.
Boasting an impressive drinks menu including an array of cocktails, diners are spoilt for choice when it comes to beverages. However no visit to a Mexican restaurant would be complete without a glass of sangria, which was the perfect match for my tasty quesadilla.
If you love great Mexican food, good service and great views, you will love the Prickly Piñata.
Shop 1, The Esplanade, Cotton Tree
Phone: 0402 945 344