The Next Step

Recovery & Wellness Centre

The Next Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery & Wellness Centre

"Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction, ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but make sure you take that next step."

The Next Step Recovery & Wellness Centre in Epping, Melbourne aims to provide all Australians access to leading recovery programs that optimise quality of life, independence and overall health and wellbeing.

Our mission is to lead the industry in providing evidence-based recovery solutions for athletes with spinal cord injuries and various neurological disorders. At The Next Step Recovery & Wellness Centre, we leverage the latest research and recovery techniques to offer a comprehensive array of modalities that promote optimal health, wellness, and performance in everyday life.

Conveniently located in Epping, a Northern Suburb of Melbourne, just 18 kilometres from the CBD, our facility stands as an industry leader in treating a diverse range of medical conditions, including but not limited to Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Spina Bifida, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Musculoskeletal/Joint Injury Rehabilitation, Chronic Pain, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Weight Loss, Behavioural Change, and Diabetes.

The Next Step Recovery & Wellness Centre was established by Rhiannon Tracey in 2012. It emerged from the evident shortage of recovery options available to her and the spinal cord injury community. Notably, it remains the only recovery facility in Australia founded and operated by an athlete living with a spinal cord injury.

Exercise Physiologists

Our accredited Exercise Physiologists have specialised university degrees focusing on exercise and lifestyle therapies to manage chronic conditions. They offer personalised interventions to enhance health, functional capacity, recovery, and independence.

To us, YOU are an athlete

Embracing the philosophy that even the smallest step can lead to significant life changes. At The Next Step, we view our clients as athletes on their recovery journey. Unlike the conventional view of disability, we acknowledge our athletes for their capacity for growth and progress regardless of condition or prognosis.

Download our application pack

At The Next Step Recovery and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, our mission is to provide tailored programs and services for athletes recovering from spinal cord injuries and neurological conditions. Our Athlete Scholarship Program secures generous funding for athletes without financial support.

Services

Exercise Physiology

Acupuncture

Athlete Scholarship

Continence Nurse

Dry Needling

Hydrotherapy

Massage and Myotherapy

Naturopathy

Telehealth

Home Visits

Extra Services

Team

We are a dedicated team of hands on, highly motivated holistic health professionals deeply committed to improving the lives of athletes with neurological disorders. We approach and treat our clients not as individuals with disabilities but as athletes on their unique journey of recovery.

Rhiannon Tracey

Founder and Executive Director

Jake Mennuni

Senior Exercise Physiologist

Sheree Wood

Senior Exercise Physiologist

Mitch Lucas

Senior Exercise Physiologist

Kylie Abrahams

Exercise Physiologist

Alisha Richards

Allied Health Assistant

Pablo

Resident Axolotl

Sara Vella

Continence Nurse (Coloplast)

Simone Mercuri

Admin Assistant

Rhiannon Tracey

Founder and Executive Director

Jake Mennuni

Senior Exercise Physiologist

Sheree Wood

Senior Exercise Physiologist

Mitch Lucas

Senior Exercise Physiologist

Kylie Abrahams

Exercise Physiologist

Alisha Richards

Allied Health Assistant

Pablo

Resident Axolotl

Sara Vella

Continence Nurse (Coloplast)

Simone Mercuri

Admin Assistant

Events/News

Beyond Recovery

Beyond Recovery

FAQs

How long should I wait before I start my recovery?

The sooner you start your recovery journey, the better. Once you have transitioned from the ICU to rehabilitation, are in good health, and have obtained clearance from your doctor, it’s time to begin. Every day, month, or year spent in a wheelchair without stimulating your nervous system makes it progressively harder to regain function. Think of your body in the early stages of injury like freshly poured concrete, it’s malleable. But as time passes, it sets, and reshaping it becomes increasingly challenging. We’ve witnessed athletes with incomplete injuries struggling with tone and spasm because they didn’t receive early stimulation. Sadly, they are not alone. Many people experience signs of improvement, like wiggling toes or regaining sensation, but are often told these are insignificant. In reality, they are crucial. It means everything. Your future hinges on nervous system stimulation for improvement. So, educate yourself, set your goals, and do everything in your power to regain function. This not only leads to physical and mental improvements but also enhances your overall quality of life.

Is recovery guaranteed?

Nothing in life is guaranteed, but if you do nothing to promote recovery, you are almost guaranteed a life without it. Taking charge of your well-being and future is what gives life purpose. At The Next Step Recovery and Wellness Centre, we cannot promise that you will regain the ability to walk. However, we do promise to provide the best facilities, a nurturing environment for healing, highly trained and skilled staff specialising in exercise-based recovery, and a long-term, personalised plan tailored to your athletes needs.

How long is a recovery program?

The duration of a recovery program varies greatly and doesn’t adhere to a standard timeline. Each athlete sets their own goals and works toward their unique needs and desired outcomes. It’s important to understand that no two spinal cord injuries are alike, making comparisons between individuals is inappropriate because each person regains function differently. Spinal cord injuries are as distinct as snowflakes, with recovery paths differing for everyone.

Recovery, in this context, isn’t a finite program with an endpoint. It’s a lifelong journey that encompasses all aspects of your life. What you do outside of The Next Step Recovery and Wellness Centre is just as crucial as your work within the facility. Successful athletes who are regaining function often achieve independence, return to school or work, and have a strong support network of family and friends.

At The Next Step, recovery goes beyond being able to walk again. It encompasses a higher quality of life and increased independence. We celebrate ALL achievements, whether they are physical or mental, and because there’s no fixed timeline for recovery, it’s imperative to develop and implement a life plan that supports your goals.

Which funding providers can I use to access The Next Step services?

The Next Step is a NDIS Provider listed under the “Health & Wellbeing” category.

Additionally, we offer services to recipients from the following providers:

  • TAC
  • Medicare
  • Department of Veteran Affairs
  • icare

Our goal is to make sure you can access the care and support you need, and we work with a range of funding providers to make this possible.