Emma Marshall

Mental Health
Young People

Revolutionising Health Through Moving!

January 25, 2024

‘The body will always tell you the truth.’

I am Emma, founder of Movement is Medicine UK, a lifestyle movement that encourages just that – movement! 

As a teenager, I was heavily involved in rave culture. I would spend each weekend around London going to different raves and events. After finishing university, I began teaching children but found it wasn’t where I felt happy. I was at my happiest within the music scene, so I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I already knew many people in the industry from going to events, so my career kind of spiralled from there.  

Despite enjoying my work, I experienced something I never even knew about: burnout. This is where things began to get bad for me. I began feeling ill, my hair would fall out and I was losing weight, but the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I ended up being admitted into hospital with a kidney infection. After overcoming that, I was still extremely weak and I was knocked over in the street. This fall caused me to fracture my wrist. After visiting the hospital for treatment, I woke up the next day in extreme pain. 

I was taken back into hospital and diagnosed with CRPS,which is a disease triggered by trauma. The nervous system believes it is under attack and stays in fight mode, causing severe pain above the level of childbirth. 

After this diagnosis things did not get better. I was taken into hospital again with appendicitis, however the surgeon later told me my insides were inflamed. I lost all hope with the system, they were telling me that I was fine, but my insides were falling apart. I was only 25, how could I be so ill? I didn’t want to give up, so I decided to change my lifestyle. I changed my diet, I stopped drinking alcohol and I found a better work-life balance.

By 2018, I had to undergo more surgery. I had been referred to a therapist who diagnosed me with PTSD. I was feeling the lowest I had ever felt. My life had fallen apart. 

I took it upon myself to find what was truly causing my illnesses. I found functional medicine which is a holistic approach to healing. After tests with these doctors, they concluded that I had black mould poisoning. To treat this, I raised money to go to Mexico.

In Mexico, I learnt that my immune system wasn’t working as it should, actually it was barely working at all. I underwent many different treatments to try to reboot it. I also used herbal medicines which were just as intense as pharmaceutical options. Yet, I was still unwell.

I moved back to London just as COVID-19 locked everyone away. It was here that I was given the time to truly research what was wrong with me. I met a lady who was a homeopath, she explained that your mind and your body are connected. With this in mind, I woke up one day with what can only be described as an instinct. I told myself:

‘If you don’t start to move, you will never get better.’

So, I began to dance. I danced around my living room, like I used to when I went to raves. As lockdown began to ease, I decided it wasn’t healthy for me to be around the traumatic atmosphere in the UK, so I went back to Mexico. While in Mexico, I studied their culture, specifically dance culture in indigenous groups. 

I discovered how they use movement to better themselves. If they were feeling some kind of way, they would beat a drum or dance until they felt the emotions shake out of them. In their culture, they use their bodies to understand their minds and emotions, in the West, we struggle to do that. Our emotions are locked inside until we find a way to release them. Often, when we do find a way to let things out, such as at raves or through dance, it is masked in hedonism. 

This realisation is where Movement is Medicine was born, I decided to take my personal journey of recovery through movement and try to help others. I began holding classes for people to come and move while I explained how it was helping them scientifically. I worked one to one with people and built up the business. I started from nothing, I had no money or investors, I just believed that I had found something that truly worked. The classes were originally donation based as I wanted it to be accessible to everyone. 

Fast forward to 2023, Movement is Medicine UK is growing more than I could have ever imagined. I have around 30 people who have been trained to teach my method and incorporate it into their coaching. I plan to have a pop up in London, workshops, be on panels and maybe, one day, have a stage curated at a festival. I am the healthiest I have ever been, and I am working on a project that I want to go beyond my lifetime. I want people to repeat this mantra:

‘Movement is medicine.’

This blog was written by Megan Morris based on the interview with Tales to Inspire.

More Tales
Full name*
House number and street*
£11.90 + £3 for shipping
Skip to content