It is with a great sense of pride and jubilation that we announce what we have all worked so hard for, over the past 8 years. The ability for people other then those living in Adelaide to have the chance to experience Immersion Therapy for themselves.

This is truly something we can all celebrate because if you have attended a session, supported someone to do so, made referral, told a friend or just been down to the pool to have a look, you have contributed.

It is a rare thing for something to start and grow from South Australia, I am not only a very proud South Australian but also proud of my lived experience and that we have been able to include and infuse that lived experience into everything we do. I truly believe Determined2 is more than just a service provider, we are a community and Immersion Therapy is much more than just a service.  Peter Wilson – Director

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Previously only available in Adelaide, a collaboration between Determined2 and Belgravia Leisure will make the world-first, award winning service of Immersion Therapy available in community leisure centres across Australia and beyond.

When workplace road accident survivor Pete Wilson from Determined2 launched Immersion Therapy in Adelaide eight years ago, he dared to dream that this revolutionary program would be made available across every state and territory in Australia and beyond. That dream has just become a reality with the announcement of a ground-breaking collaboration between leisure provider Belgravia Leisure and Determined2, which will make this innovative, award winning and in many cases, life changing service available to as many people living with disabilities and injuries as possible.

The collaboration with Belgravia Leisure, (which operates 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 ten other aquatic facilities across the country and NZ over the next five years, with other international ventures then planned to occur. 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. Determined2’s Pete Wilson said that he was thrilled to find the right cultural fit with Belgravia Leisure to deliver this allied health 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. I’m proud to say the amazing people at Belgravia Leisure are those people. “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,” said Wilson.

So compelling is the 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,” continued Wilson. “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, CEO of Belgravia Foundation and National Disability and Diversity Manager for Belgravia Leisure has worked closely with Determined2 to ensure the collaboration is one that benefits as many people as possible. “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.

“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,” explained Dr Walkley.

“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.