Diveheart Plans to Build World’s Deepest Therapy Pool
(NewsUSA) - Imagine escaping your wheelchair and standing upright. Diveheart, a non-profit organization based in Downer’s Grove, Ill., has been helping individuals with disabilities do exactly that since 2001.
Diveheart provides unique adaptive scuba and scuba therapy programs that allow individuals with physical and/or cognitive disabilities to expand their mobility through the experience of being underwater in zero gravity.
Diveheart’s programs have benefitted, children, veterans, and countless others and helped to revolutionized aquatic rehabilitation. Now, the charity that introduced and expanded adaptive scuba around the world is building the world’s deepest warm water therapy pool. This net-zero project is targeting a spot in Chicagolands’ northern suburbs.
After securing the second of two patents on the deep pool design earlier this year, the Diveheart management team decided to reveal the pool’s design and kick-off a major fundraising campaign in 2024.
“There are many great types of therapy, but in scuba diving we have the franchise on zero gravity,” said Diveheart Executive Director Tinamarie Hernandez. “It’s thrilling to help get someone out of their wheelchair and standing up underwater for the first time since their injury, or maybe for the first time in their lives,” she added.
Diveheart’s deep pool will provide a way to scale up and help many more people enjoy the benefits of underwater zero gravity in a confined and safe warm water environment. The pool will be a worldwide destination for research, rehabilitation, education, training, and will provide vocational opportunities as well. The depth of the pool is important because it allows Diveheart to replicate the benefits of deep open water diving without the unknowns of weather, water movement, and other factors that limit opportunities for research and rehabilitation.
Currently, world’s deepest pool, at 200 feet, is located in Dubai, but no existing deep pool anywhere in the world is functional for adaptive scuba and scuba therapy, says Jim Elliott, Diveheart’s founder and president. However, the Diveheart pool will meet this important need if the organization meets its fundraising goals, he added.
The Diveheart team has focused on the medical and therapeutic benefits of scuba therapy since the organization’s founding, and its experts have conducted international adaptive scuba symposiums and presented to medical groups around the world. In 2023, Diveheart presented to physicians from the Mayo Clinic on the benefits of scuba therapy during their annual conference, and the team will return for an encore presentation at another Mayo Clinic conference this spring.
Scuba therapy has helped individuals with autism, chronic pain, PTSD, and more. Stay tuned as Diveheart prepares to go deeper!
For more information about the therapeutic value of scuba diving, visit diveheart.org.