Sports Rehabilitation

Floatation tanks are used in sports medicine to accelerate an athletes’ recovery from sports injuries.

An article in TIME Magazine (Australia) in 1995 featured the story of Brett Dennis, a promising young cyclist who cycled off a cliff in the US Tour DuPont road race in 1994, falling 4 metres and smashing his femur through his hip socket. Doctors gave him little chance of walking properly again.

Back home in Australia two weeks later, with a steel pin through his shattered pelvis, Dennis was understandably depressed and near to giving up his sporting ambitions. However, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is justifiably famous for its advanced training techniques and facilities.

At the AIS, Dennis was put onto a program of intensive physiotherapy. He also spent an hour a day playing “mind games” – closing his eyes and visualizing a blue light traveling from his chest to his hip joint, washing away damaged tissue and replacing it with new cells.

Three times a week, he lay suspended in one of the AIS floatation tanks. Above him, a custom-made videotape played highlights of his own best races and those of his cycling heroes, with his favourite music playing in the background.

Seven weeks after the accident Dennis started training again. Seven weeks after that, he won gold and – with his three teammates – smashed the Australian record in the 100 km team time trial at the Commonwealth Games.