Green Collar Careers: Angela Lambert, Owner of Ancient Traditions Natural Medicine
Published: Friday, December 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 01:12
Ancient Traditions Natural Medicine is a naturopathic and classical Chinese medicine center in Portsmouth, N.H. Angela Lambert, 47, has created a practice that uses different alternative medicine techniques to help clients with everything from food allergies to cancer.
“Essentially, I figure out what is out of balance within the body,” Lambert said. “I try to remind the body how it should naturally operate; often, the body has just forgotten.”
With a doctorate in natural medicine, a Master of Science in oriental medicine, and a dual bachelor’s degree in music therapy and music education, Lambert brings a variety of perspectives to her practice. Along with her passion for holistic health, Lambert is dedicated to operating her business with as little impact on the environment as possible. After all, Lambert believes that natural medicine and sustainability are “a perfect fit.”
Theresa Conn (TC): What do you like most about your job?
Angela Lambert (AL): I like watching people realize how much control they have over their own health. I love the ‘light bulb moment’ when my patients realize that the answer to their health problem isn’t a pill, but something they can shift within their own lifestyles – and that it really is possible to be well.
I have all sorts of tools to help people feel better: Chinese herbs, flower essences, biotherapeutic draining ... there are a lot of big, confusing words involved in my field, but the philosophy behind naturopathic medicine is relatively simple. Essentially, you get out what you put in; if the body is full of toxins, it will not work properly.
TC: Where did you go to college? Does your college education help with your current job? What skills from college most prepared you for the work you do now?
AL: I have a dual degree in music therapy and music education from the College of Wooster in Ohio. I loved working with music; I had a music therapy internship in a psychiatric hospital in Florida, did my student teaching in London and taught in several schools throughout the country.
I loved it, and was great at it, but I started to get bored.
When I turned 30, I took a look at my life. I had a challenging time in my twenties when I experienced a health problem that was potentially serious. My father advised me to see a naturopathic doctor, and it changed my life.
Years later, I decided I wanted to learn about alternative medicine. I began with massage therapy school, and then trained to be a naturopathic doctor. In addition to my naturopathic doctorate, I obtained a master’s in oriental medicine. I practiced for several years in Oregon, and then returned to New Hampshire and opened Ancient Traditions.
My undergrad degree absolutely helps me with my current job. I still incorporate music therapy into my practice. My degree taught me how music can influence body health, and how to use that as a tool to support change.
However, I think that one of the most important things I learned during my time in college was how to do “big picture” thinking. At school, it’s easy to get hung up on little day-to-day things; it’s the same after college, too. Starting in high school and continuing in college, I started to think about how my work could fit into a larger mission of making people happier and healthier.
College also gave me time management and organizational skills, which are vital to succeed in any field. Being a musician also taught me how to really listen; this helps me connect with my patients.
TC: What do you look for in an employee in this field?
AL: My only employee is my office manager, Lisa. When I realized I needed administrative help, I knew I wanted a person who could find ways to spread my message, not someone who would just push paper around. I needed someone who wasn’t just looking for a job; I needed someone who was looking for a new passion.
While I was practicing in Oregon, I had many naturopathic students who observed my work. To be successful in the natural medicine world, I believe it’s important to have an open mind. So much of what we do is unconventional; it’s important for students to believe in the idea that nature is medicine.
TC: What made you integrate sustainability into your business / go into a green industry?
AL: Well, it’s part of our philosophy. Natural medicine operates on the principle that we can sustain our own health if we learn how to decrease toxins in our bodies. The same goes for the environment.
The planet will only be healthy if we can decrease our pollution and impact on it. You can’t practice naturopathic medicine without “being green.” Nature teaches us about balance, and restoring balance is the backbone of naturopathic medicine.