A therapist who fought her way back from a serious spinal injury and defeated breast cancer is helping others improve their health through fitness and diet.
Emma Kirke, from Ossett, Wakefield founded Medicinal Kitchen after turning to Eastern medicine for healing after a car crash in 2000 which left her unable to walk.
After a long battle she was able to get around using crutches but then suffered a major setback.
“My spine collapsed and everything started to shift, it was awful. I couldn’t get myself dressed or washed.
“I had just started seeing my boyfriend and he was having to help me do everything it wasn’t the best start.”
Emma saw spine and neurology specialists who both said they could not operate as it would leave her paralysed.
“I was in so much pain and I tried every kind of therapy possible.
“I just thought ‘I can’t live like this’ and as western medicine was not helping I decided to look East and talked to a friend of mine who is a Chinese doctor.
“He looked at foods that aggravate the healing the process and foods that assist it. I decided I had nothing to lose and would try it for four months.
“It made such a difference. I wasn’t pain free but it was managable without having to take painkillers. I felt as if I was back in the real world.”
As well as the improvement in her pain levels, Emma also experienced another side effect - weight loss.
“I had gained a lot of weight after the accident and by changing my diet I naturally lost the best part of five stone and it continued until I had lost seven. Unfortunately I also developed an unhealthy attitude to food as I was so worried about the pain coming back.”
So Emma decided to tackle the problem by educating herself and enroling on a clinical nutrition course, which included a module on eating disorders, which helped her take action. She also began working on her fitness, strengthening her core to protect her damaged spine.
All her experience, knowledge and improved fitness helped her get through her next health challenge when in 2014 she was diagnosed with breast cancer opting for a double mastectomy with a simultaneous reconstruction.
“My surgery started in February and I put together a two week meal plan before that to help my body repair and heal. Three weeks later I was back at work,” she said.
Now Emma is fighting fit and so is her business. She has more than 50 clients on treatment plans and has just published her first recipe books.
“It is great to be able to help other people in the same situation I was in.” she said.