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Capacity Building: Scuba Therapy is the New Approach to Rehabilitation

David Snr's determination, coupled with extensive research on Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment, laid the foundation for what we now know as Scuba Therapy.
published in august 2023

Scuba Therapy's Origin

At 11 years old, David Jnr underwent life-threatening brain stem surgery, leaving him paralysed from the neck down.. After the procedure, the surgeons and doctors said David Jnr would never walk again.

However, his father, David Snr, a seasoned scuba diver, embarked on a remarkable journey to change this prognosis. He spent months with his son in intensive rehabilitation of all shapes and sizes, all the time researching Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment.

This research led David to take his son to a local pool with dive gear and work out. The physical “workout” he performed on his son led David to work out just how to stimulate his son’s nervous system and, over time, bring life back to his once-paralysed body.

David Snr consistently reminded his son that he could do it; he could push through the pain and exhaustion.

“Scuba Therapy is the best therapy I have ever received,
I’ll be coming back weekly to benefit quicker.”

Lincoln - quadriplegic.

Bringing Scuba Therapy to Australia

Fast forward ten years, and David Jnr now walks, runs, scuba dives and is a scuba diving instructor for his father’s business in between completing his Ph.D. at university.

This true and inspiring story motivated Lyndi Leggett, Scuba Instructor and Leadership Trainer on the Central Coast of NSW, to step up and bring Scuba Therapy to Australia.

David’s techniques and scuba therapy which he has developed over the last 10 years of working with neuro special needs and disabled people, have helped more people to improve their muscle tone, reduce their pain and spasms, stand up and walk with a quad cane to unassisted walking again.

Scuba Therapy Changes Lives and Challenges Traditions

We all hear the “Darth Vader” sounds as we inhale through our regulators and then the rush of bubbles as we exhale, other than the odd tapping, we therapists make to get someone’s attention – there is very little sound underwater. It’s a very peaceful place. We all play, doing cognitive and physical exercises together – pushing each other to be better than last time and having fun in the process.

Nurturing Growth: Creating an Empowering Environment

These people are then able to get jobs again and not depend so much on disability services. So often we hear from our divers that their medical team has reached the end of their ability to help.

We have taken a different approach and now bring hope to these people. We are thinking outside of the box or, in this case, outside the wheelchair. Challenging and changing the thinking within healing and rehabilitation and combining that with a passion for scuba diving. It’s a win-win.

Scuba Gym Australia: A Decade of Success

Since opening in 2019 and closing a few times afterwards with all the lockdowns, we’ve still had incredible success. The lung function of our quadriplegic diver improved, and we proved this with a spirometer. So, by increasing the oxygen flowing into her body we could help her move her arms again, underwater. This translated out of the water to a wonderful experience when her cat jumped onto her lap and Megan was able to stroke her cat for the first time in several years. This is a huge event for Megan. We have had handwriting change overnight as well and one of our Spina Bifida divers said he could cut his own food for the first time in years since doing scuba therapy. What an incredible achievement and boost for him.

Scuba Therapy for Veterans and Emergency Services Heroes

We have also branched out to include our veterans and emergency services legends, who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress. Our Scuba Warrior program offers these people the opportunity to learn to dive, qualify and come back on our “mission dives,” where we dive with a purpose. So far, our Scuba Warriors have given us a day a month to do clean-up dives in our local waterways. In a year, we have hauled out over five tonnes of rubbish with the help of our friends at Clean 4shore who take all the rubbish away on their barge. It’s so healthy doing this work, being outdoors and exercising whilst cleaning up the underwater environment

"There is nothing more powerful than a humble person
with the warrior spiritdriven by a higher purpose"
-Lyndi Leggett

Scuba Camps and Inclusivity

Our Scuba Camps are a full day of fun water-based activities where we invite people with autism or Down’s syndrome to come and spend the day having fun with us. We race giant emus across the pool, do treasure hunts and even scuba dive. Each camper has a qualified dive buddy to look after them underwater.

We have so much fun, and these incredible people go home to their families proud as punch from having this incredible scuba diving experience. Two of our campers loved Scuba Camp so much they have returned weekly for a scuba therapy session and were both so confident in the water that we invited them to join us at the Sealife Sydney Aquarium.

We were the first group ever to be allowed to take disabled people into the shark tank so that they could see the big fishes and experience diving with these beautiful creatures. It was epic, and we will be running these aquarium dives regularly.

Lyndi Legget

Lyndi Leggett


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Scuba as Hope: Inspiring Stories

Meet Mick

We have also had the most incredible experience working with Mick – our quadruple amputee. Mick had dived before he lost his limbs and came to us to see if he could get back underwater. We were blessed to have him find us, and then he invited the Australia Story crew to film it. What an amazing man who absolutely loved being weightless and free again in his happy place.

“If there’s magic on the planet, then it’s in the water”.

Meet Korey

And then there is our Cerebral Palsy diver – Korey, who made the decision to use a few sessions of Scuba Therapy to prepare him to learn to dive in the open water as an Adaptive Scuba Diver. Korey has pushed himself to endure the complications of cerebral palsy combined with some autoimmune issues, and here he is learning to dive. SBS were so impressed when they met him at the Sydney Aquarium that they followed us back to our next lesson and Korey appeared on SBS in the weekend news report. It’s wonderful to see these courageous people who wake up every day with a few more difficulties than the rest of us, and they push through it and have grown for the experiences underwater with us

Join Us: The Scuba Gym Community

We all grow from helping people to be a better version of themselves and could not do this work without the kindness and support of our Team of volunteers who come to help because they want to. That energy itself adds to the growing and the healing that happens at The Scuba Gym.

Come and see for yourself.

Watch the video on their home page and to begin your scuba therapy go to or call Lyndi on 042-038-0055.

Lyndi Leggett


Lyndi Leggett is the founder of The Scuba Gym Australia and is a NAUI/RAID Scuba Instructor. Lyndi is a passionate advocate for offering all people with disabilities and special needs the opportunity to experience life-changing healing through the benefits of scuba diving.