Schroth Method Scoliosis Exercise & Breathing from Germany
Our twelve year old daughter was diagnosed with a twenty-three degree scoliosis curve by an orthopedist in July 2012. The only treatment her doctor prescribed was a hard brace to be worn at night. When I asked the doctor what else can be done that can be helpful (for example, exercises) she quickly told us that “we do not believe in exercises. Your daughter should wear the night brace until maturation. The brace will not fix the existing curve, however, it may not prevent the curve from progression. If the curve will exceed thirty degrees, your daughter will have to wear a twenty-four hour brace. We will check her every three months.” She assured us that we were “far” from the possibility of spinal surgery, and that there was no need to worry.
I was never more scared in my life. How could I not possibly worry, with my daughter’s spine at risk for surgery in the future? I felt powerless and helpless. I wanted to scream for help. I was born and raised in Europe, with moderate scoliosis myself, which was diagnosed at age fourteen. I remember the treatment that my doctor prescribed, which was to do special exercises including a bar wall, balance balls, and wooden sticks. I could not accept the thought to do nothing and “watch and wait”. So, I started to search for alternative treatments for scoliosis. When I came across Dr. Moramarco’s website, I read it all at once, and I knew it was the answer. It was a Saturday morning when I left the message to the doctors office. We were amazed at the immediate response from the office. In the same day, I was already talking to Dr. Moramarco and his wife, Kathy. Kathy created a schedule that was convenient for us, including the weekend. That way our daughter would miss less days in school. I was so amazed at his self less-ness, his willingness to give up his weekend for us.
When my daughter and I first met Dr. Marc at his office, we immediately felt a connection. He’s a wonderful and kind human being. Only after a few minutes of conversation, we felt like we were talking with an old, good friend, one who provided us with comfort and inspiration. One week of training with Dr. Marc was an incredible experience for us. When you work with Dr. Marc, you will find that he is highly professional and knowledgeable, however, genuinely caring and compassionate. The sessions required very hard work. While I watched Dr. Marc teach my daughter her routines, I admired his patience and his positive thinking. His lessons were intense but fun, filled with lots of jokes and funny stories. You can see the Dr. Marc truly understands and loves to work with children.
After one week of training with Dr. Moramarco, we left for home, feeling prepared to practice Schroth. However, on the trip home, we also brought back hope. After three months of practicing Schroth, my daughter’s x-ray showed a decrease in her curve from 23 to 21 degrees. We are very happy and excited to see a positive result. We realize that it’s been only three months of practicing Schroth, yet our daughter still has a long road ahead of herself. However, we know we are going in the right direction.
We cannot thank Dr. Moramarco enough for everything he has done for our daughter. In that time, when most orthopedic doctors chose not to believe in Schroth technique, you, Dr. Marc, actually dedicated your life to help scoliosis patients, to improve their health, quality of mind, and life. God bless you for that.
During two years of living with the orthopedic recommendation of “wait and see” as our 17 year old daughter’s curves progressed with each visit , I spent countless hours researching scoliosis, the different types of braces, yoga, and the Schroth Method of dealing with scoliosis. It became apparent to me that Schroth was the method upon which we might find hope to avoiding surgery. While researching for a competent practitioner I came upon scoliosis3dc.com and Dr. Marc Moramarco. Having reviewed the website, I surmised that Dr. Marc’s knowledge of scoliosis and the Schroth Method were in line with our hopes for helping our daughter. I contacted the Schroth Clinic in Germany who wrote back assuring me that Dr. Marc was a competent, certified Schroth practitioner. I felt compelled to give him a call. In a very amenable manner, Dr. Marc discussed the details of his program with me and answered all of my questions. I requested client references from Dr. Marc which were made readily available. Knowing that the Schroth Method is very much a hands-on therapy, I was a bit concerned about the possibility of discomfort my daughter might feel. Having spoken with these references about that and the methods and practices utilized by Dr. Marc and the results they had achieved, I was confident that my daughter would be comfortable and I was ready to trust my instincts that he would be able to help her, too.
Feeling as though time was of the essence after being told by the orthopedist that our daughter still had minimal growth left, our goal was to get her the therapy she needed as quickly as possible. Additionally, we hoped to have her complete the training during a week when she would not miss any school which was problematic as we would be travelling to the office from Long Island, New York. Dr. Marc’s wife, Kathy, did her best to accommodate us by putting together a schedule for the week after Christmas. This required that Dr. Marc work with us at odd hours and even on the day he was scheduled to fly out of town to visit with relatives for the holidays.
Upon first meeting Dr. Marc at his office, my husband, myself and our daughter, felt an immediate connection. His kind and warm demeanor and his endearing sense of humor put us all at ease. The sessions to follow the rest of the week continued to instill in us all, the feeling that we were on to something very positive for our daughter. Her level of comfort and the connection Dr. Marc was able to achieve, helped her to be open to learning about her specific scoliosis and more importantly, what she needs to do to manage it. His enthusiasm and excitement at her progress made us feel as though he felt he were helping his own daughter achieve success. Dr. Marc was also able to impress upon her how important it is to maintain good posture and how to handle other activities of daily living to avoid feeding into the scoliosis. The exercises and methods Dr. Marc has taught her to manage her scoliosis, have given her hope and a sense of empowerment.
We left with enough of the exercise equipment and detailed instructions needed to properly perform the exercises at home. The entire program was documented in digital photos with written directions for performing the routine, and a DVD of our daughter performing her exercises while Dr. Marc describes them in detail with emphasis on proper performance. Because of her connection to and respect for Dr. Marc and his knowledge, my daughter has been performing her exercises routine religiously since we returned home over one month ago. She stands tall with the confidence that she now has the power and knowledge to manage her scoliosis and we have a sense of relief at having selected a caring, knowledgeable practitioner.
Kathy R., Long Island, New York
When we first contacted Marc, we were looking for somebody who was knowledgeable about Schroth exercises and with an office in the New Jersey area near our home. My inquiring email was answered that day by Marc. His rate of response impressed me immediately.
Marc offered to have a telephone conference with us. At first I was a little skeptical and suspicious. I just didn’t know what to expect and why this chiropractor in Boston would care about my son in New Jersey. My son, my husband and I participated in this introductory conference call. We were immediately comfortable speaking with Marc. We asked lots of questions about him, his background and Schroth. Marc answered everything and told us much more about the program than we imagined we could ask about. We finished that phone call encouraged and felt that we had an ally in our battle against scoliosis. We made a plan to visit Marc for the week long training in Schroth.
When we first met Marc at his office, he was warm, welcoming and funny. He connected immediately with our son by finding out what his interests are and including them in conversation. He kept my husband and me included in all the training he did with our son by explaining the why of what he was teaching our son. Marc encouraged questions and never made us feel as if anything we asked or wanted explained was too trivial. After a week of training with Marc, we felt the three of us were well prepared to take the exercises home, and our son was completely capable to practice them on his own. We also felt that we had a friend in our battle against scoliosis.
Doing the exercises at home was easy at first because we came home with the enthusiasm Marc had instilled in us. As a few months went by, our son started slacking off. I phoned Marc about it, and he spent time talking with me about what was going on and why our son might have lost his drive. He called our son the next day and gave him a pep talk without scolding him. It was the encouragement our son needed to get back into the exercises.
Our son was diagnosed with scoliosis by an orthopedist in January, 2011. His curve at that time was 24°. At his follow up appointment in May, his curve was 25°. We saw Marc for training in August. After doing the exercises for 3 ½ months, a follow up appointment with the orthopedist in December showed our son’s curve was reduced to 17°. We had hoped for an improvement of a few degrees at best, but this improvement left us stunned. The effort of spending a week in Boston training with Marc and encouraging our son to keep up his exercises every day had most certainly shown results! Marc’s knowledge, encouragement and support have given our son the tools to succeed in his battle against scoliosis.
Elizabeth C., New Jersey
Working with Dr. Marc was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had with a doctor. When you go to his office, you don’t feel like you’re just the next patient on the schedule, you feel like you’re visiting a friend. Being a doctor doesn’t mean you have to be in a white lab coat carrying a clipboard everywhere, and I think that Dr. Marc feels the same way. I love going there, and doing Schroth improved my scoliosis from 25 degrees in August 2011, to 17 degrees in November the same year. Who can argue with that?
Michael, New Jersey
Schroth Testimonial, from the parent of an 11 year-old boy
“The prognosis from our first visit to orthopedics office looked no good. Y is 11 years old boy, his x-ray showed a scoliotic curvature of close to 20º and the doctor went on to explain to us that with his bones actively growing for another good 10 years the curvature is likely to increase to become a real problem. Treatment options sounded pretty limited: 23 hours-a-day corrective brace and possibly a surgery… When asked if there are any alternatives in the field of physical therapy or likes we got a categorical “no”.
For a few days we were searching frantically: google-ing, reading, asking anyone we could. From everything we found one option did stand out – it was a method called “Schroth”. What was special about Schroth is that unlike some other “alternative” treatments it had a benefit of decades long track record of practice in Europe that showed a significant success rate. We were very pleased to find out that one of the best World experts in this field is actually located right in our backyard: Woburn MA.
When Dr. Moramarco worked with Y he showed nothing but full dedication. He was demanding but fun. He repeated tirelessly the routines that Y will have to embrace for the next few years to come. He recorded and re-recorded videos of the exercises that will guide Y when he stops attending the sessions. Dr. Moramarco is a true perfectionist and he does not cut a slack to his patients nor to himself.
Attending the sessions is actually only a part of the story. The crucial other part is what’s in between sessions after they are over. Not only Y has to remember very accurately all exercises and techniques that Dr. Moramarco gave him, but also he must to be aware of the way he sits, stands walks and constantly correct himself. It’s not an easy task for 11 years old. The technology was here to help. A small service called Pirfit reminded him about his posture and activities and kept recorded instructions always handy.
Four short months after Y’s initial diagnosis we went back to the orthopedics office to check on the dynamics of his curvature. The results were well above our best hopes: his curvature decreased by 7º. The doctor smiled and said: “keep on doing whatever it is you do”.
From the parent of an adolescent girl with idiopathic scoliosis:
It’s been an amazing journey since we started Julia’s treatment.
I found Dr. Moramarco in Massachusetts, about one hour drive from were we live. We started Julia’s treatment immediately, with specific exercises followed with breathing. Julia felt in control, as if she could take responsibility from now on. She learned the exercises precisely and did them regularly. Dr. Moramarco did care about her, giving 120% (maybe 150%) effort during the entire treatment.
When we went for the next appointment with Julia’s doctor and he asked about her time wearing the hard brace… well, he wasn’t happy at all. But what a surprise when he saw the x-rays!!! The angle’s had decreased somehow and he could not quite believe it. He just said, whatever you are doing, keep doing it.
We never said anything about our decision to stop wearing the hard brace and the Schroth therapy, because we knew doctors are skeptical about alternative treatments.
Julio M., New Hampshire
and his daughter…
When I got the hard brace, I was entering my preteen/teen years, and I was insecure already. I felt like the brace was yet another imperfection on my body, reminding me of my crooked spine. Maybe I thought it was some sort of punishment for something i should have prevented…but couldn’t. It was difficult…the battle with yourself and with your body, when you know you have to do something but at the same time you really, really don’t want to care. I just wished it wouldn’t have happened to me at all.
I didn’t like the brace because it really was awkward fitting. It’s a stiff plastic device that tightens around your rib cage to your hips. Bending is out of the question, and the first couple of days my ribs were sore. I couldn’t really walk in it- since it was around my hips limiting mobility, so over time I wore it less and less- refusing very harshly to not wear it to school. That was my absolute biggest fear, that people would see it. Not taunt me- just in their minds think “what’s wrong with her..” or talk to their friends about me. It was a fear in the back of my head where i imagined possibilities that i thought could happen. I remember in around May of last year I went to my doctor, (who is the father of now my best friend ) and I had not been wearing the death trap as much as i should have at all. After the x-rays, I had gotten worse. A lot worse. I was angry and disappointed…but mostly afraid. My fear was realized when my parents forced my to wear it to school on that friday afternoon and I was filled with hate at myself. I almost never cry- that day i cried a lot..a lot. I’m so lucky all my friends helped me though- at school they stayed by my side to make sure people wouldnt see me, so i could stay kind of hidden…but after school i still had tennis. I had to take my brace off in front of my classmates during gym too. People didn’t really mind which surprised me, a good side to it all.
A couple of days after, my dad said he found a doctor in New York that had a new kind of brace that you couldn’t see as much as the hard one under clothes and was mostly straps. I was so excited! We got to my favorite city with promise. The doctor was weird…i didn’t feel really secure with him. The soft brace was really complicated, and involved a sort of shorts I had to put on under my pants- which required buying bigger pants. The straps involved bending, twisting, readjusting- never really felt like they were doing anything either. After, i found that they did not help at all. And going to the bathroom was one of the more complicated things! Haha I can remember the first day with it- me and my mother went to see the Phantom of the Opera on broadway, me in the bathroom stalls trying to make as little noise as possible with the multiple velcro straps. Also- i always had to wear a t-shirt, and another shirt under the brace. It was a hot summer…I think I hate that brace more than the hard brace. Man…it was horrible…the worst was explaining to people what the heck was wrong with me. At school- I had to program my every class and time so i could figure out a time to go to the bathroom, take off the brace, stick it in my backpack, and go to the bathroom before the 3 hours of tennis in the afternoon. I would barely have time to eat lunch because the only available time to go to a deserted bathroom on the 3rd floor was during 30 minutes of lunch.
Schroth…was wonderful to find. A godsend (is that the expression?) yeah I expected doctors that would visit me for 5 minutes but make me wait for 30. Maybe some machines to stretch me out- because my back was getting worse and I got shorter. When i started it, it was so weird! The entire time i thought i needed something around me to push me into place, never thought my own muscles could do it, or that i was capable of such a thing..It felt good. Right away Dr. Marc was like hands on, this this and this is what WE’RE going to do to prevent surgery. (That was another fear- 50 degrees was the no turning back point) I could breathe and fix myself…like old natural remedies kind of, haha. I did it everyday at home, this time I could feel myself getting better, it was surreal (I love that word…someone just pointed out to me that this email is getting a bit long, it’s okay though because I like this) and then Dr. Marc tells me I’m one of his best patients, after a while he claims that i am number 1. : ) I’m a straight A student, never gotten a B to this day (well except one time in his office) but not in school, so that was good news! After improvement, it was like a turning point. I could rule this thing and it determined me to. It was a rush of amazing feeling…I finally knew how my back worked and I knew what I could do to fix it, thanks to Dr. Marc. What’s that other expression…information is power? i think i saw that on an episode of The Office today. It’s true, i could do it, and I still am trying to improve more and more. Now I’m aware of how I sit, and sleeping on my right side is non existent. Long term now…I feel like i can keep improving more and more. I have all the time I need! There’s been some sacrifices, but now it’s all worth it, because I can be grateful for Schroth much more than if I had never endured the 2 braces, the embarrassment, the trips to New York, the 10 minute bathroom trips at school to take off the braces, the awkward way i walked with them, the pinching of my hips whenever i sat with the hard brace…the marks the braces would leave on our sofas. It’s all gone, now I can focus on my body and my muslces, my back and my spine. It’s never felt better. I want to thank a lot of people for helping me…but mostly Dr. Marc for being so supportive…and just the most helpful and best caring doctor I have ever had. I don’t know what i would have gone through or done if i hadn’t gone to him. But there’s still work to be done!
Julia M., New Hampshire
“Dr. Moramarco is a warm, kind and thoughtful practitioner of a craft for which he has an obvious love. His enthusiasm for both the Schroth Method and for the progress of his patients is infectious and motivating. He is extremely knowledgeable and deeply committed to the well-being of his patients. He offers a new beginning to those of us who have lived most of our lives as scoliosis patients without hope.”
Julie W. Long Island, New York
Hey Dr. Marc, Me and my mom just went to the hospital and got my out of brace x-ray. My curve went from 38 to 22 degrees and my rotation was like 20 to 9 -YAY!
I came to see Marc about a year and a half ago to learn the Schroth Method. It continues to help me every day, and I’m SO glad I had the opportunity to work with him.
As a 17 year old girl living with scoliosis, my family and I are constantly searching for new methods to reduce the chance of an increasing curve. Of course, the brace was not the only method I was receiving. I was having chiropractic treatments done as well. At age 13 I was taken out of the brace and my family and I were still searching and trying new methods but nothing seemed to help the increasing rate of my curve. At age 16, my chiropractor told me about a doctor in Boston who was a chiropractor by trade, but also performed a scoliosis treatment from a clinic in Germany. My mother quickly was in contact with Dr. Moramarco and a few months later I found myself in Boston, taking part in a treatment that has only benefited my health and state of my scoliosis. I had no idea what this treatment was about or what exactly was involved.
In my first treatment, I learned more about scoliosis than I had known in the 5 years that I’ve had it. Dr. Moramarco, taught me all I needed to know- why certain parts of my body do what they do, and why exactly they do this. He thoroughly explained the process of what would be happening for the next few treatments and what exactly the purpose and result of this treatment was. Dr. Moramarco’s passion and knowledge truly showed through his work. His determination to make my scoliosis better was very evident through all of my treatments.
The treatments were intense and included a lot of work from both me and Dr. Moramarco. Dr. Moramarco, guided me well through each specific exercise and made it clear what was to be accomplished in each exercise. The exercises taught me how to properly hold a correct posture, and not let my scoliosis affect the way I present myself. Although this was difficult to grasp, since, for years now I’ve been molded to one posture, sooner than later I got used to this new posture and is now the only way I stand. The new posture has helped me to not give into my incorrect scoliosis posture and to correct my scoliosis one day at a time.
One of the many miraculous things I noticed after completing one set of treatments in Boston, was my breathing capacity. As a scoliosis patient, I never had full lung capacity. This means that I would get tired, and run short of breath when taking part in physical activity. One day at summer school, my friend (who is a competitive athlete) and I, decided to go for a jog. Throughout the course of this 10 minute jog I found myself able to keep up with her, and not fall behind or short of breath. This to me was very satisfying considering, I had seen that my hard work in the exercises had really paid off. I was so happy that my lung capacity had increased since I had been doing this new treatment. This only encouraged me to keep doing the exercises.
As for the cosmetic aspect of the treatment, I can truly say that my cosmetic appearance has improved as much as my breathing has. I have noticed a big difference in the way I hold myself, and the overall appearance of my hips and ribs. Before the treatment, you could really see the prominence of one hip and one rib, but as I continue to do my exercises, the prominence is less vivid and my body is looking more even and proportional.
In order for the exercises to be effective, in my case, I need to do 4 exercises 6 times a week. This can be difficult with the work load I receive as a senior student and the other activities I have in the evenings. This however, is a commitment I have made and I must stick to it. I understand, that this is only going to benefit my health and improve my overall appearance. Taking half an hour out of my everyday life is not a big deal considering what this half an hour is doing for me in the long run.
I am very happy with Dr. Moramarco’s program. With Dr. Moramarco’s constant humor during the sessions, three hours passed by extremely quickly. He made the sessions enjoyable and I always looked forward to the next session. His ongoing support and determination made me enjoy my treatments and believe that I could really make a difference in my condition.
Amanda Di Vito, Toronto, Canada
Scoliosis/Schroth Method Patient
Dr. Moramarco has helped our daughter with her scoliosis by using the
Schroth method. This is a very intuitive approach to scoliosis
management which really resonates with our daughter Emily, who is 14
years old. The first day of her nine day Schroth training (in which
she learned all the exercises she’s now doing six days per week), was
completely devoted to Emily and us learning the ins and outs of her
specific curve, so Dr. Moramarco needed not only to be a great doctor
but also a great teacher, and that he is. He’s thorough, patient and
creative, and always listens carefully to our responses to be sure we
are understanding completely. He believes in what he’s doing and is
able to explain exactly why that is.
For the patient learning the work of the Schroth method this is an
extremely detailed and focussed experience – it’s hard work! While
working with Emily to show her how to do the exercises Dr. Moramarco
was teacher, physician and coach of the best kind – completely
rooting for her and inspiring her with confidence, yet always
attending with careful attention to the quality of her work. His
kindness, sense of humor and energy are all so important in working
with patients (often young patients!) who have to do this hard and
dedicated work to get a handle on their scoliosis.
Another thing I feel about Dr. Moramarco is that he really has that
special intuitive, healing touch. He’s tuned in and observant in a
deep way. I feel that we’re very lucky – I really can’t say enough
good things about him! I’m so glad that Emily is in such good hands!
Mother of Scoliosis Patient
Dr. Moramarco has completely changed my life.
After only 4 months working with him, I can walk
and stand pain free. My scoliosis was at a point
where I faced each day with fear, not knowing
if I could do what I needed to do. The fact that
I could learn to do breathing exercises that would
change my 38 degree curve in my back to a 32
degree curve in such a short time without surgery
is astounding! Thank you Dr. Moramarco.
L. Samuels, April ’08
I am a senior with essentially untreated scoliosis which was diagnosed when I was six years old. Despite the severity of the curvatures, I did very well until about three years ago when I began to experience muscle spasms and difficulty standing for more than a few minutes. I have depended on walking as my primary exercise, but got the the point where I could not walk more than twenty yard without having to sit down. My internist and my orthopedic doctor could only offer pain medication which I knew would need to be continually increased. At an International Scoliosis meeting in Boston, a patient introduced me to Dr. Moramarco. Dr. Moramarco started me on a series of exercises to expand my lung constriction and to help reduce rigidity in various parts of my spine. Now there are days when I don not need to take any pain medication and many days when I can walk a mile without sitting down. This has set me on a path to continue being mobile and to prevent lung complication during these senior years.
M Dwyer, May ’08
In the three years I have been a scoliosis patient of Dr. Moramarco, he has been the most caring and skilled chiropractor that has treated me for my condition. The pain resulting from the scoliosis has greatly abated and I feel that had it gone untreated, I would have had chronic pain and limited motion. I have a better quality of life because of his dedication to his patients.
And I mean that!
T. Wyche, Marion, MA