Lyndi Leggett founded the Scuba Gym in 2018 to enable lasting change for people with a disability or special needs. Last week, we sat down with Lyndi to ask her about her favourite moments working at The Scuba Gym and why she is so passionate about what she does.
Q: What sets Scuba apart? How does Scuba therapy compare to other therapy’s available?
Well, for many clients, going to a regular gym is quite intimidating. So, having a place to step away from the noise, wandering eyes, and judgement can be quite liberating. It is often the world around our clients that defines them as ‘disabled.’ Underwater, our clients can stand, walk, lift dumbbells, or do push-ups without their chairs. Without gravity, they can make these movements and feel like their body is doing the work that they can’t do on land. It’s incredibly empowering.
Scuba therapy is quick to get you working out, and we believe wholeheartedly in everyone’s ability to push themselves. So, when a client shakes their head and indicates that they can’t do something – well, that’s when we push back and insist they can – and they do.
For example, we’re seeing some incredible results with one of our most severe MS clients, one who is an incomplete quadriplegic due to her illness. While she only has minimal use of her left arm, it’s a different story under the water. We have her doing push-ups and criss-crossing her hands up a stick. The other day she caught a ball instinctively. It was incredible to witness. How does a person who can barely move their arms instinctively catch a ball? That’s magic!
Q: What can people expect when they walk through the Scuba Gym’s doors?
Once a client decides to take the plunge, we want to know the courageous human being that’s made their way to us and discuss their expectations and goals. We establish trust before we get them suited up to make sure everyone feels comfortable moving forward. Ensuring a client is comfortable is the most crucial task as some clients had their accidents in the water.
We monitor how much the client can do, and the workout evolves from there. Fun is an essential element of any session. You’ll see the watermelon ball often in photos and videos; we have lots of fun with it. Just standing is huge for most clients – the freedom of being out of their wheelchair for the session is liberating. Remember, “in water, the soul finds freedom the body has forgotten.”
Q: Your social media and website showcase a lot of your customers. Can you talk a little about the relationship you have with everyone who walks through your door?
Everyone who walks through the door has a different story and goals, so I make sure we get to know each other and trust each other.
We ensure our clients have fun, feel pushed, and feel exhilarated by seeing their legs moving in a way they used to. I see each person who comes to get our help as an inspiration to so many others as they are brave enough to trust in themselves and trust my team and I to help them.
Q: Are there any cases that have stood out to you over the years?
Absolutely – every person who takes the plunge has their own “wow” moment. We recently had a gentleman who is an incomplete quadriplegic and spends his days reclined in a motorised chair. When in the water, however, he can take his own steps. The first time this happened, we asked (in shock and amazement) why he doesn’t use crutches and walk? He said no one could help him onto crutches, so he sits reclined, uncomfortably, all day, every day in his chair. It’s mind-blowing that this man is in this situation – and it makes me wonder how many more people are in the same way. So we walk lots with him and are building up his strength again, so he may choose to use crutches once more.
We have another gentleman who also is in a similar position with a similar injury. We can stimulate his nerves in his legs so that he takes the steps by himself. This is huge for him and super exciting that his body reacts so profoundly to our work. The nervous system is so complex, and just because someone is labelled incomplete paraplegic or quadriplegic, it doesn’t mean the nervous system isn’t working in the limbs – we want to try and find the right triggers to get it working again.
What does Scuba Therapy hope to achieve?
We know 1 in 5 Australians have a disability, and we’d love to help them benefit from Scuba Therapy at the Scuba Gym. The best way to make this happen is to decide right now to take the plunge. We encourage people to be courageous and get out of their comfort zone. That’s where life is.
I believe that with a little guidance from us, magic happens.