Empowering Growth and Healing
Through Scuba Therapy
When the Senses that define you as disabled – are disabled, we become equal.
A Unique Condition: Chiari Malformation and J's Journey
Very few are born with a condition where your brain grows outside your skull! The brain grows under the skull at the back of your head like a mushroom growing out of a tree trunk. The headaches are excruciating, and for a child – it’s desperate as the pain is so severe, and what looks like temper tantrums is a huge outburst of pain. This rare condition is called Chiari Malformation and is the condition my best friend’s (“K”) son (“J”) has.
Discovering Relief Through Water: J's Connection with Scuba Gym
It was whilst I was sharing the benefits the Scuba Gym offers our clients that K made the point that J absolutely loves being in the water. I was curious as to what she had noticed in her then 15-year-old son, who has since had an operation that exposes his brain, as a piece of the back of his skull was removed. So, whilst J will never be able to mountain bike or play rugby for England, we can watch rugby together for many more years to come. This incredibly strong-willed kid has been dealt an interesting and complex circumstance to navigate life with, and finding relief in water has been a Godsend in the summer months.
Finding Freedom: The Transformative Power of Water
J is free in water, K said. He spends all day in the pool with his head underwater for as long as possible. He snorkels around, plays, ducks under the water, and absolutely loves being in the pool. Her understanding of what we do with our clients was instant. Regardless of the diagnosis, being underwater with scuba gear keeps you upright and allows you to breathe. Underwater at the Scuba Gym, the senses that define someone as disabled are, in fact, disabled.
Equal in the Water: Overcoming Physical & Mental LimitationsWe are all equal underwater.No one speaks – so for the non-verbal divers, we are all non-verbal underwater. Those who spend all day in a wheelchair, underwater we are standing so we see eye to eye. That is a massive shift in thought and energy – not being looked down on and not having to look up to someone because your legs have lost their ability to hold your weight on land. We get your legs to take steps again and the mind, body and soul are reminded of what can be.
Healing Harmony: A Peaceful Underwater Sanctuary
Nurturing Growth: Creating an Empowering Environment
Our bodies are wired to heal however, we must ensure the environment supports the growth for our bodies to do their work effectively and efficiently. Thus, for some, an improvement in diet puts their body nutritionally into a better environment, and growth is quicker. For others, it’s also about finding a team to support their goals and encourage and hold them accountable.
Ensuring growth is easier by surrounding yourself with a great team, and building relationships with people who believe in you. For others, it’s signing up to do something they’ve not done before that takes them out of their comfort zone because that’s where we grow. And a combination of all three of those is very empowering.
Envisioning Possibilities: J's Path to Accelerated Growth J finds so much pleasure and fun in escaping the world and being in a pool of water. Escaping a routine or discomfort that gravity-based world and being free again to play. Much like children, we grow when we play and have fun. J lives abroad and has not had the Scuba Therapy experience due to the pressure of the water on the back of his head.
It would be incredible if doctors gave him a thumbs up to be able to attend scuba therapy in a shallow pool, perhaps where there is less pressure and where he can still enjoy the weightless environment and enable his growth to accelerate.
The story of J illustrates the transformational power of water and the quest for growth amidst unique circumstances. A future in Scuba Therapy beckons, potentially unveiling a new chapter in J's remarkable journey toward empowerment and healing.
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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.