Received Aug 18; Accepted Aug This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Associated Data Supplementary Materials Additional file 1 Description of the steps to scoliosis correction and also the description of contraindications as well. Original manuscript by Katharina Schroth in German. This file is not translated and used for documentation only [Historical picture from the picture database of Christa Lehnert-Schroth].

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She tried to treat this spinal curvature by herself and developed a new concept of physiotherapy, the three-dimensional scoliosis treatment. The practical implications was later described comprehensively by her daughter, Christa Lehnert-Schroth, in her book of the same name. New treatment elements were on the one hand the so-called angle of rotation breathing as an amplifier for spinal column correction via the ribs, and on the other hand the goal of intervening in posture regulation via posture perception.

Like all scoliotic patients she suffered from the psychological effects of this physical deformity. However, orthopaedic bracing failed to achieve the desired success and indeed inhibited physical activity.

At that time there were no appropriate treatment modalities for her condition. Katharina Schroth longed for nothing more than to achieve an upright posture and to be able to live without a brace. A rubber ball with a depression that could be pressed out when it was inflated with air gave her the seed of an idea and strengthened her resolve to modify her body using this principle. The depression in the rubber ball may be likened to the concave side in scoliosis.

This insight gave her the idea of also filling her concave body parts with air by "guiding" her breath into these areas. A creative imagination, methodical thinking and persistent hard work soon brought initial success. By positioning mirrors so that she could exercise between them, she was able visually to monitor what was happening in her body.

In her case the rib hump was located centrally on the right side. In response to this specific breathing into the left side, the rib hump became simultaneously flattened. She noticed that there was therefore no hump at all, only torsioned ribs. These torsioned ribs were also restored to a normal position.

Scoliosis ceased to be an evitable fate and became a disease that could be combated if not entirely cured using suitable weapons. One discovery led to another. Thus, for example, she detected a depressed area at the front of the ribcage, exactly opposite the posterior rib hump. She also succeeded in lifting this depressed area of her chest by breathing.

At the same time she sensed how the rib hump on the right side at the back became flattened by itself. Therefore, when the front aspect was "put right", the back was "put right" simultaneously. She still had a rib hump on the left side at the front. She was unable simply to press this in. However, it was reduced and became flattened when her breath had filled the concavity on the left side of her back. This is how rotational breathing was discovered. Whenever something correct happened, corrections also automatically occurred in other body locations.

Standing between two mirrors, she worked on herself with the most meticulous precision. Each minute area of unevenness was pondered over, sensed and ventilated. Her fellow teachers soon noticed the positive physical change in her.

She was asked to give lectures on this subject: she prepared herself for these by a thorough study of anatomy and she allowed medical practitioners to test her knowledge. The lectures were followed by courses in a wide variety of locations in Germany. It was not long before she was treating scoliosis patients from Germany and abroad. Fired with tireless idealism, she worked hard on her patients. From year to year fresh discoveries were made and the mosaic was built up piece by piece.

In this way her method, which she called "Breathing Orthopaedics", was continually expanded. With each particular case she perfected her knowledge. Soon she was invited to speak at one congress after another. As early as a reviewer for the "Medizinalpolitische Rundschau" reported that the Schroth method had opened up a new era in the treatment of scoliosis.


Schroth Exercises for Scoliosis

Patient practicing a Schroth Method exercise For the patient with scoliosis, the value of the Schroth method cannot be underestimated. It offers the patient the opportunity for control over a condition that most surgeons historically the gatekeepers of scoliosis treatment say cannot be managed without bracing, or improved without surgery. That said, the Schroth method requires effort and mental focus. Initially, attempting to re-balance spinal musculature is no easy task. Dedication and patience are required on the part of both the clinician and patient. As scoliosis can present differently in each affected person, Schroth programs are designed according to individual curve pattern.


Katharina Schroth

I always felt that the spine and its pathologies and treatments was my interest and I started to took many continue education programs to enhance my knowledge about this specialty. The foundation mission is to provide comprehensive, affordable orthopedic care to those with complex spine deformity who would not otherwise have access to such treatment. The cases the foundation treat are among some of the most severe in the world—many that no other team of surgeons would dare touch. With the support of dedicated staff and volunteers and generous donors and partners, they are transforming the lives of patients throughout Africa and the world.

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