Immersion therapy is a novel allied health service that can improve quality of life for people of all ages who live with disabilities. Workplace road accident survivor, Pete Wilson, is determined to make it available to more people who could benefit.
That’s why his organisation, Determined2, has partnered with Belgravia Leisure – which operates over 160 aquatic venues across Australia and New Zealand – to offer accessible immersion therapy services across their network. This means that distance will no longer be a barrier to access to this promising new therapy service.
“The service, from day one, was designed to reach as many people as possible, and we looked for a long time to find the right people who not only had the capabilities, but shared our values and passion for including everyone,” said Pete.
There’s evidence to suggest that immersion therapy can benefit people with a wide range of disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, loss of limb, soft tissue injuries, and depression/anxiety disorders (including PTSD).
“Determined2, in partnership with the University of South Australia and leading medical experts have spent the past seven years researching the service to better understand how immersion therapy helps people,” Pete says. “This research is providing a growing evidence base to support the compelling anecdotal evidence provided by those accessing the service, and there are hopes to see even more research opportunities as the service becomes more widely available.”
Immersion therapy takes participants into a weightless underwater environment, using scuba equipment with guidance from specially trained and accredited exercise physiologists. Immersion in water allows participants who might have difficulty with movement on land to walk, swim, and even dance.
Dr Jeff Walkley, CEO of the Belgravia Foundation and National Disability and Diversity Manager for Belgravia Leisure, says: “To take gravity away and have the freedom to move, to jump, to dance when it’s simply not possible on land is a beautiful thing that liberates the human spirit whilst using exercise as a treatment for the clinical condition. What’s more, it gives people hope for the future, with strong evidence that the psychosocial impacts from immersion therapy are profound.”
Roll-out of immersion therapy services through Determined2 and Belgravia Leisure will begin in Adelaide and Melbourne, before expanding to more cities across Australia and New Zealand. Keep up-to-date with services offered near you on the Determined2 website.