New Academic Study To Confirm Post-Traumatic Benefits Of Scuba Diving

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Deptherapy programme members undertaking open water training at Roots Red Sea in El Quseir, Egypt (Photo: Dmitry Knyazev/Deptherapy)

A new study into the use of scuba diving as a means of rehabilitation following serious psychological injuries such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is set to confirm that it has significant therapeutic benefits.

The study, by lead researchers Petra Walker and Hanna Kampman from the Post-traumatic Growth Research Unit at the University of East London, was carried out in conjunction with Armed Forces rehabilitation charity Deptherapy. Although publication of the complete study is under embargo until it is published in an academic journal, it will demonstrate that scuba diving has benefits 'beyond those found in other forms of sporting rehabilitation exercise.'

The researchers used a technique known as Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a qualitative methodology used in previous studies of Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) in para-athletes, to support their findings. Past studies have focused primarily on the medical aspects of diving, although research from the University of Sheffield published in 2018 – also in partnership with Deptherapy – confirms the therapeutic benefits of scuba diving for wounded Armed Forces veterans.

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Deptherapy Ambassadors Tom Oates and Tom Swarbrick during their RAID Sidemount course at Roots Red Sea (Photo: Deptherapy)

Richard Cullen, Chairman of Deptherapy, said: 'This evidence-based study demonstrates yet again the value of scuba diving and, in particular, the support provided by Deptherapy to severely traumatised people within the Armed Forces community. We await the publication of the detailed findings which we anticipate will be of considerable interest to all organisations who seek to assist in the rehabilitation of veterans through sporting activity, as well as the Scuba Diving world.'

Team Deptherapy recently returned to the UK after their first training expedition since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, during which a group of six veterans underwent scuba diving training at Roots Red Sea in El Quseir, Egypt.

'I have been made aware of a new academic study about the benefits of scuba diving,' said Corey Goodson, a 20-year-old paraplegic training with Deptherapy for the first time. 'Last week I learned to scuba dive properly with Deptherapy, a huge achievement for someone with paraplegia.

'Deptherapy doesn’t judge your injury, whether that be physical or psychological; it looks beyond, and it sees the person inside,' said Goodson. 'That person is who they work with, and the Deptherapy programme encourages you to see your fellow beneficiaries in the same light. More important than the sense of achievement during the training, was the support, care, encouragement and love the team showed me. I look forward to continuing my rehabilitative journey with Deptherapy.'




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