Newly-Published Medical Study Confirms Therapeutic Benefits Of Scuba Diving
Aseminal study published in the Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation has confirmed that scuba diving does have therapeutic benefits for military veterans with physical and psychological injuries as a result of combat.
The study, led by Alice Morgan, took the form of a service evaluation of Deptherapy, the UK-based charity offering support to military veterans who have experienced life-changing injuries. As a part of Deptherapy, participants received scuba diving qualifications, consisting of theory and practical diving experience. The program also includes a Buddy Peer Support scheme that provides continuing support to veterans involved with the charity.
Although the main study was conducted back in 2016, the results have only just been published. The research included quantitative studies of mental well-being and functional ability, as well as interviews with participants, families and health professionals.
Participants reported an improvement in levels of anxiety, depression and social functioning, and a reduction in insomnia, following their involvement in organized scuba diving activities. The study also found that improvements were greater in those with psychological rather than physical injuries.
The study concluded that scuba diving can offer significant therapeutic benefits, particularly for ex-military amputees experiencing comorbid anxiety and/or chronic psychological adjustment disorders such as PTSD, notably in terms of improvements in social dysfunction and the symptomatology of depression.
Until now, medical research into scuba diving as a therapy for injury and disability has been very limited. This study, therefore, offers both considerable insights into the potential of scuba diving as a therapeutic aid, as well as independent validation of the actual benefits of the Deptherapy Scuba Diving programme, as well as recommendations for further development.
Details of the full medical study can be found here.