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 Interviews with People Who Make a Difference: Surgery and its Alternatives 
Interview with Sandra McLanahan MD
   as interviewed by Daniel Redwood DC

Redwood: Is there anything you'd like to add?

McLanahan: I think a lot of surgery can be avoided, and you are not required to accept a surgeon's suggestion. You can educate yourself. Ninety percent of hysterectomies are avoidable; in general, hysterectomies are only needed for cancer. This is a surgery that used to be routine; between a third and a half of American women end up with a hysterectomy. Now that we understand that it creates a much more difficult menopause and an increased risk for heart disease, we can act preventively by using a combination of dietary change, acupuncture, relaxation training, and yoga to help people through menopause without choosing to treat it in a way that harms the body, avoiding hormone replacement therapy and using natural approaches instead.

Redwood: Sounds good to me. McLanahan: I want to tell you, Daniel, that I learned a lot in working on this book. It was a great process to do it with my brother, because he's at the opposite end of the medical spectrum. He's a very classical surgeon. But he's eating more salads now, and I'm appreciating more the kind of work that he does, that it does have a place, and that somehow we can all come together and work together in an integrated spirit.

The other aspect of the book I want to mention is that eventually we are all going to face our own mortality and the mortality of our parents and friends and relatives. We need to understand that, as Edgar Cayce taught, spirit is essence, mind is the builder, and the body is the result. This is the opposite of what science has taught us, which is that consciousness somehow springs from the machine of the body. When we have a spiritual framework and spiritual perspective on our lives, it helps us to deal with the questions and difficulties of mortality. We can get a sense that death is safe. We don't have a sense in this country that death is safe. About 70 percent of Americans die alone in hospitals, and that is a big tragedy. That's why I work with Dannion Brinkley, who wrote the book Saved by the Light. He has an organization called Compassion in Action (, the aim of which is to provide alternative medicine in the scene of death and dying. And that is terribly important, that we can ease the transition. We can also use that as an opportunity to feel the reality of our spiritual self. I've had so many patients tell me (and I had my own experience of my father going in and out of the light) about the nature of reality. Various patients have seen angels and heard music. So the reality of the spiritual world is very accessible when we include this as part of life. It can actually enrich our lives to have less fear of death.

Dr. Daniel Redwood, the interviewer, practices chiropractic and acupuncture in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is the author of A Time to Heal: How to Reap the Benefits of Holistic Health, Contemporary Chiropractic, and the forthcoming Fundamentals of Chiropractic, and is Associate Editor of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. A collection of his writing is available at He can be reached by e-mail at

©2003 by Daniel Redwood

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 About The Author
Daniel Redwood, DC, is a Professor at Cleveland Chiropractic College - Kansas City. He is editor-in-chief of Health Insights Today ( and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the......moreDaniel Redwood DC
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