What do scuba diving and neuromuscular disease/spinal cord injuries have in common? They are compatible. Why is this? Because researchers are discovering that scuba diving can be a valuable therapy for people who have handicaps and disabilities. As a result of these findings, scuba diving is being used to benefit people with spinal cord injuries, etc.
“With scuba diving, the focus shifts from disability on land to ability in water.”
We live in a culture where people tend to maximize the limitations disability causes. The truth is, people with disabilities are living in an exciting time in history. Why? Because of all the new assistive technologies and therapies being used to better their lives. “Adaptive” scuba diving is an example of such a therapy.
What is one of the best things about people with disabilities or handicaps taking up scuba diving? Their mentality will probably shift from one of limitations and barriers to one of freedom and liberty.
How does scuba diving help someone with an injured spinal cord?
You might be excited to learn that scuba diving betters movement of muscles and “improves touch sensitivity and post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.” Scuba diving also:
– Allows unrestricted breathing
– Provides resistance-type exercise
– “Benefits tissues by hyper-oxygenating them”
After reading these benefits, can you see how scuba diving could help someone who has disabilities or handicaps?
A 2011 study of scuba diving and people with spinal cord injuries discovered equally glowing benefits.
The study monitored the results of scuba diving for 10 veterans who used wheelchairs. These veterans all had spinal cord injuries.
The veterans’ symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, motor control, “muscle spasicity,” and more were assessed before and after the scuba diving experience. Here’s what scuba diving did for these veterans:
– Caused muscle spacisity to decrease 15 percent
– Allowed a “5 percent increase in sensitivity to pinprick”
– Grew sensitivity to “light touch” by 10 percent
These improvements are significant, but the most dramatic gains were seen in the veterans’ mental/emotional health.
Amazingly, the veterans’ signs of post traumatic stress syndrome “decreased an average of 80 percent” after scuba diving!
After reading about the advantages of scuba diving, are you considering it? If so, that’s great! But please be sure and discuss it with your physician first. He or she will know whether or not scuba diving would be a safe and helpful activity for you.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
Would you ever personally consider scuba diving? Why or why not?
Do you agree that people with disabilities today are experiencing more and more freedoms, especially in regards to mobility?