PORT MEDWAY – “It is my job to listen to your body and tell you what it is trying to say and for us to work together on what it needs,” says Cheryl Lycette, a naturopathic doctor on the South Shore.
Together, Lycette and her husband, Brian Nichols, operate Green Umbrella Medicinals based out of West LaHave, aiming to make it easier, more accessible and less expensive for people to take care of themselves.
Every Sunday for the foreseeable future, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Port Medway Port Grocer, Lycette is offering a tongue and pulse diagnosis for $5.75 and a B12 injection for $20. No appointments are necessary. Both of these procedures take less than 10 minutes, making it quick and easy for even busy people to stop by for health information and healing.
Tongue and pulse diagnoses are based on Chinese medicine, which is part of Lycette’s naturopathic training. There are three main pulses that can be felt on each wrist and each pulse represents a different organ in the body, explains Lycette. Depending on how deep or superficial they are gives her an idea of the health of that organ.
Lycette explains that the tongue, in Chinese medicine, is divided up into sections that each represent organs in the body. She looks for coating, colour of the tongue, swelling and more. Any of these indicators and where they are on the tongue gives her more information on that part of the body.
“I have found these to be invaluable tools in helping me narrow down the priorities to work with someone’s health,” she says.
Lycette says it makes her sad to see what people tolerate and how so many people put up with ill health because they just think it is their normal.
“People want to take care of themselves with as few side effects as possible,” she says. “The information is online, but there is so much of it, it is difficult to know what to trust and what is relevant.”
As a result, Lycette takes her role as doctor - the original meaning of which was teacher - to heart. Her favourite thing, when working with people, is seeing the light go on in their eyes when they really get it, she says.
“I’ve seen cancer go into remission. I have helped many women declared infertile get pregnant. I have seen basics, like eating more vegetables and drinking more water, heal chronic issues that people have tolerated for years,” she says.
Lycette’s interest in health care began at an early age when, as a child, her health was very poor, and she was often in and out of hospital. Although she had considered being a medical doctor, the numerous side effects she experienced to medications that did not help her and those experiences made her shy away from this training.
Her future path was then sealed by fate.
After originally studying textiles and sculpture at NSCAD and enrolling in fashion design at Ryerson, Lycette had two chance experiences.
While working at a photocopy centre in Toronto, Lycette says she was copying pages out of a text book for someone. Until then, she had never seen a book on herbal medicine, and it blew her world open, she says.
“I ferociously began reading everything I could get my hands on,” she says.
Then, a chance meeting introduced her to the medicine she would then train in. She fell in love, took the necessary sciences at the University of Toronto and started training as a Naturopathic doctor. She has now been in practice for 24 years, having started her career in Berwick as the second naturopathic doctor in the province, starting the first association for the profession with the first naturopathic doctor in the province.
After living in Halifax for the last 20 years, Lycette and her husband moved to West LaHave to start up Green Umbrella Medicinals from their 67-acre farm. Moving to the South Shore allowed Lycette to grow many of the herbs she uses in her tinctures as she hadn’t even known before how they grew or what they looked like.
“Seeing these herbs grow is like meeting old friends for the first time,” she says. “I strongly believe that the herbs from here are for here, meaning that I think herbs grown in this soil work best for the people from this area.”
Overall, Lycettes says she thinks Allopathic or Western medicine has a lot to offer and the same can be said for nature-based medicines. She looks at health as a spectrum: on one end, there is disease, and on the other, optimal health. Although nature-based medicine is often able to help when a disease process is found, it really shines when someone doesn’t feel well, but their health is not bad enough to show up on the tests done by their doctor yet. Western medicine, she adds, is invaluable for disease management, but often does not look for the root of why you are sick, and most tests are not sensitive enough to find an imbalance when it is just beginning.
If you go: For more information or for some healing help, stop by the Port Grocer in Port Medway every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/greenumbrellamedicinals/