Medical vs Natural Approaches to Health

“You will never recover your health or your ability to digest unless you remove your gallbladder.”

My doctor told me this with great certainty after diagnosing me will gallbladder disease more than 15 years ago. At this point, I had to decide what to do and I was torn.

Many of you wrote to ask me how to decide between mainstream medical approaches to health (medications, surgery, etc.) vs. natural approaches to health. You have also asked about metaphysical ideas about health.

What Did I Do to Create This?

The first thing that comes to mind when we believe in self-responsibility or spiritual thinking is…”What did I do to create this?” Here’s the thing, you cannot blame yourself. You did not set about to create poor health, just as I did not set out to create gallbladder disease, an eating disorder, malabsorption or digestive pain. Illness is the body crying out for self-care — NOT self-blame. How we got here is less important than how we decide to take care of ourselves. I truly believe that all illness and dis-ease is the body’s way of asking us to come back to self love. It’s the way our bodies are asking us to become aware of what we truly need.

When I made the decision to take care of myself, I did realize limiting beliefs and patterns that were involved with my ill health. I know I have written before about feeling overly responsible and being all work and no play. Part of my dis-ease and healing had to do with allowing myself to let these beliefs and patterns go. This healing cannot be about blame because we are always doing the best we can. If we are willing, we can allow life to wake us up to the PROCESS of healing — the innate ability we all have. To listen to our body’s signals and to learn to follow our inner guidance. We do not get taught this growing up, yet healing often involves this kind of listening because we begin to realize that when you love someone, you listen. When you love yourself, you listen to your needs. When you love your body, you listen for what it needs. And respond in loving ways.

No Judgment

So the first principle is NO JUDGMENT OR BLAME. Instead, the answer is SELF LOVE. When we start with love, we become open to listening, to responding with kindness. To examining possibilities.


The next principle is TRUST. As we begin to treat ourselves with love and kindness, as we set aside judgment and blame, and as we listen to our inner guidance, we bump up against the concept of trust. Who do we trust when we’ve been diagnosed with something? Do we trust the doctor? The naturopath or health practitioner? A book? Our friends and family? What about ourselves?

What I did after receiving the gallbladder disease diagnosis from my doctor, along with his confident promise that I’d never recover without it, is similar to what many people do today. I began to research. I read the forums, I read about gallbladder surgery, I asked my friends and family members who’d had their gallbladders out. I even called one of the doctor’s patients to see how it had gone for them. I learned that gallbladder surgeries were one of the most over-performed surgeries in the country. I learned that at least 63% of people felt exactly the same whether they had their gallbladders removed or not. I learned that for a large percentage of people, pain and symptoms did not go away after the surgery.

Because I was concerned, I talked to more people and came across nutritional protocols as an alternative option. This really resonated with me. When I checked deep within my body, my inner guidance said yes to this, so this is what I chose and it worked for me.

That Being Said, Keep This in Mind

  • I was not in an emergency situation. I was not turning yellow with jaundice. My situation was slow moving and while it was causing me a lot of pain, it was not life-threatening at that moment (some of the people I spoke with got their gallbladders out after turning yellow with jaundice and getting sick…totally different scenario).
  • I had done a lot of research and homework and felt like I had examined all angles. I was willing to do the nutritional protocol that was laid out…so while I was not choosing medical intervention, I was doing an intervention. I figured why not try this first, since I could? I sought out guidance and support from a medical doctor with training in natural approaches and a health coach.
  • My inner guidance system felt 100% aligned with my choice. I decided that in order to commit to my chosen protocol, I could not run around worrying about my choice. Worry only causes stress, which exacerbates health issues and is often the REAL root cause of illness. I made a pact with myself that if I was going to follow my inner voice, I’d focus on TRUSTING the process. Every day, I did a healing meditation to reinforce the trust. I said affirmations (“I trust my body’s innate ability to heal. I trust myself. I am healthy, whole and complete.”).


In the spiritual and natural health world, we still have a lot of judgment. We worry about what people will think if we have an illness or decide to do a mainstream medical intervention. We think that if we are truly spiritual, we ought to be able to say positive things and do some energy healing work and heal instantly. It’s important to remember that this is just judgment in another form.

Wherever you are and whatever you decide to do is your business. It’s not about blame, it’s life giving you an opportunity to grow, learn and experience the miracle of healing. Whether you choose to go mainstream medical or natural is YOUR choice and depends on factors no one else but you, your practitioner and the significant people in your lives can decide.

Many people will have opinions, stories and ideas to share with you. The ones that resonate with your inner guidance system are the ones that are often worth pursuing. It’s also OK to go slowly, if you have the time to go slowly (e.g., if it’s not life-threatening). It’s OK to take your time until you feel ready to make a decision. Most of all, this is YOUR life and YOUR decision.

We all have the right to choose what works for us. No matter what anyone else thinks. Do what you feel is right for you.

Sometimes life wants us to have a natural healing experience and sometimes life wants us to have an allopathic healing experience. Whatever you choose, commit to trusting your choice and trusting your body’s ability to heal. ♥

I’d love to hear your stories, questions and comments about this — I know many of you have faced decisions like this and I think our sharing can help others who may be in the midst of a struggle.

This article started from a conversation we had on Facebook!


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!