Innovative immersion therapy to be provided across Australia

Thursday, 06 July, 2023

Innovative immersion therapy to be provided across Australia

Workplace road accident survivor Pete Wilson from Determined2 launched Immersion Therapy in Adelaide eight years ago. The company has now announced a collaboration with leisure provider Belgravia Leisure, which will help Determined2 offer accessible immersion therapy services across Australia. The collaboration with Belgravia Leisure (which operates more than 160 aquatic venues across Australia and New Zealand) will see Determined2’s Immersion Therapy expand first into Melbourne’s Watermarc Facility, with plans to then expand into at least 10 other aquatic facilities across the country and New Zealand over the next five years.

This expansion means that distance will no longer be a barrier for those living with an injury or a disability outside of Adelaide who require access to this novel allied health service. With guidance from specially trained Accredited Exercise Physiologists, Immersion Therapy offers the freedom of movement within a weightless underwater environment using SCUBA equipment.

Underwater, participants with a range of disabilities and injuries who find it difficult to walk on land can walk, swim and even dance, with participants (aged eight and upwards) reporting improved movement, reduced pain and enhanced mental and social health after their sessions. Determined2’s services in Adelaide have been funded by the NDIS, for people with workplace injuries (WorkCover), motor vehicle injuries, returned service personnel and people supported by an aged care package. The program has benefited people living with autism, anxiety, depression, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, amputations, soft tissue injuries and a range of other conditions. Wilson said the service is designed to reach as many people as possible.

“With Immersion Therapy being delivered within Belgravia facilities by qualified allied health professionals, we truly believe they will now be able to include everyone in evidenced-based physical exercise and activities, especially to those who for a long time have been excluded,” Wilson said.

Dr Jeff Walkley, CEO of Belgravia Foundation, has worked closely with Determined2 to ensure the collaboration benefits as many people as possible. Walkley said that prior to this agreement, people who had experienced catastrophic impact of severe disability, injury or illness were not able to benefit from local community assets via programs curated based on evidence-based practice such as Immersion Therapy.

“I’m therefore beyond proud that Belgravia Leisure, along with Determined2, are at the helm of a pivotal turning point whereby leisure centres are finally integrating into the health service system of Australia,” Walkley said.

Training of exercise physiologists will begin in Adelaide in August, with the first participants to receive immersion therapy at Melbourne’s Watermarc venue in October.

Image caption: A participant undertaking Immersion Therapy.

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