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Belgravia Leisure to introduce innovative immersion therapy services across the country

Belgravia Leisure to introduce innovative immersion therapy services across the country
July 7, 2023

A collaboration between Determined2 and Belgravia Leisure will make an award-winning immersion therapy service available in community aquatic and recreation centres across Australia.

When road accident survivor Pete Wilson from Determined2 launched immersion therapy in Adelaide eight years ago, he dreamed that this revolutionary program would be made available across every state and territory.

Now, in partnership with Belgravia Leisure, Determined2, an innovative and, in many cases, life changing service will be available to as many people living with disabilities and injuries as possible.

The collaboration with Belgravia Leisure 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 in Australia and New Zealand over the next five years.

This significant expansion will mean that for the first time, 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 wide variety of disabilities and injuries who find it difficult to walk on land can walk, swim and even dance, with participants (aged anywhere from eight upwards) reporting improved movement, reduced pain and enhanced mental and social health after their sessions. The world first program has benefited people living with autism, anxiety, depression, MS, spinal cord injuries, amputations, soft tissue injuries and a range of other conditions.

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, with the intention that a similar setup will be available in other states and territories.

Advising of having found the right cultural fit with Belgravia Leisure to deliver the service, Wilson stated “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.

“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.”

Providing compelling evidence that immersion therapy improves health-related quality of life for people of all ages, that the University of SA and Determined2 have spent seven years and $1 million on research including a three year clinical trial beginning this year. “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.

“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.”

Dr Jeff Walkley, Chief Executive of the Belgravia Foundation and National Disability and Diversity Manager for Belgravia Leisure, who has worked closely with Determined2 to ensure the collaboration is one that benefits as many people as possible, noted “immersion therapy enables things to happen that many participants thought impossible.

“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.”

Commenting on the group’s link with Determined2, Dr Walkley added “prior to this agreement, people who have experienced catastrophic impact of severe disability, injury or illness haven’t truly been able to benefit from local community assets via programs curated based on evidence-based practice such as Immersion Therapy. This service makes a real difference in social, psychological and physical health outcomes.

“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.”

Training of Exercise Physiologists will begin in Adelaide in August, with the first participants expected to benefit from Immersion Therapy at Melbourne’s WaterMarc venue in October.

Related Articles

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4th July 2023 - Belgravia Leisure awarded contract to manage Dubbo’s Aquatic Leisure Centres

14th April 2023 - Belgravia Leisure Learn to Swim Program engages Liverpool’s Indigenous Youth

21st March 2023 - Therapy Fitness launches offering training based on the mood of members

21st February 2023 - Swan Hill Rural City Council extends Belgravia Leisure partnership

17th February 2023 - 2023 Belgravia Foundation Inspiration Breakfast continues ‘no one misses out’ objective

16th November 2022 - Belgravia Leisure partnership with Belgravia Foundation and ARV recognised at 2022 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards

3rd November 2022 - Belgravia Leisure secures contract to manage Wollondilly’s swimming pools

10th October 2022 - LSA to reveal plans for management of Deniliquin Swim Centre and Hydrotherapy Pool

29th August 2022 - Belgravia Leisure announced as new operating partner for Carramar and Marangaroo Golf Courses

17th August 2022 - Belgravia Leisure renews its management of Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre

29th July 2022 - Belgravia Leisure announces appointment of Wayne Goldsmith as Group Aquatics Manager

20th June 2022 - New Belgravia Foundation Aotearoa aims to improve community access to leisure

26th November 2021 - Belgravia Foundation receives prestigious Chair’s Award from Fitness Australia

18th October 2021 - City of Hobart secures Federal Government funding for therapy pool at Doone Kennedy Aquatic Centre

14th May 2019 - Waterplay releases Aquatic Therapy features designed for Aquatic Centres

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