In January 2001, we (Dr. Marc & Kathy) suddenly found ourselves as the parents of a newly diagnosed adolescent with moderate scoliosis. We were appalled at the lack of viable treatment options doctors offered for our daughter’s rapidly progressive scoliosis. Our motivation to help our daughter launched a journey we could have never foreseen. Parents and daughter were all adamantly opposed to spinal fusion surgery and agreed there had to be a better way. Undeterred by the medical professions insistence that surgery was practically inevitable, Dr. Marc set his sights on finding a way to help our young daughter.
The early days of our journey involved extensive time, travel, and several dead-ends. In 2001, the internet was not what it is today. Meanwhile, time was ticking and our daughter was growing and progressing despite bracing. Our daughter’s doctor denied there was anything that we could do in terms of rehabilitative exercise. There was nothing about the Schroth Method online. Searches for scoliosis turned up nothing on conservative treatment for scoliosis, unlike today when parents are bombarded by claims and confused about who they should trust with their child’s health.
We were fortunate to finally learn about the Asklepios Katharina Schroth Clinic in Germany, but by then it had almost been one year since our daughter was diagnosed. The existence of the Schroth method was either a well-guarded secret here, or doctors were ignorant of the existence of the method and its potential benefits for patients. Whichever the case–not good.
For months, Dr. Marc had spent part of every day researching and learning all about scoliosis. He called SRS MDs around the country, other DCs, scientific researchers, anyone and everyone who may have insight into scoliosis treatment or claiming to have experience or knowledge about scoliosis. No one ever mentioned Germany, or the Schroth method, until one day when Marc decided to reach out to Dr. John Triano, his former professor. He subsequently became the Dean of Graduate Education and Research Programs at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and we will always be grateful to him for his simple advice, “Go to Germany and learn the exercises.”
For us, those words offered the first glimmer of hope after months of searching. Dr. Marc called Germany, and spoke with Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss, the medical director at the clinic, and grandson of Katharina Schroth. Our first visit to the Schroth clinic was in April 2002, the first of many trips. Our sole purpose, at the time, was to see if this method could potentially help our daughter who was nearly 14 at that time. The first day at the clinic offered the first glimmer of hope we had in over one year. Dr. Marc was encouraged. The Schroth method finally offered us some hope but that we had missed a window of opportunity for our daughter. Still, we considered ourselves fortunate that she was able to improve her Cobb angles to some degree.
In 2007, Dr. Weiss came to Boston for a SOSORT meeting. That week, we invited him to our home for dinner and a plan was made for Dr. Marc to visit Germany for the first international Schroth certification course. He became the first US practitioner to be certified in Schroth that summer. Upon returning from Germany, we established Scoliosis 3DC because we knew that other parents of adolescents with scoliosis, and adults with scoliosis, needed to know about the Schroth method and its potential to help patients with scoliosis.
Thought the years Dr. Weiss has been a valued mentor and colleague. His vast scope of knowledge, tireless commitment to helping patients, and his fearless ‘push the envelope’ philosophy have helped him become the leader in advancing and modernizing the Schroth method protocols and 3D bracing technology.
Dr. Marc, on the ground floor during the development of Schroth Best Practice® is now the only Schroth Best Practice® advanced instructor in the US, and also a provider of the Chêneau-Gensingen Brace.
Things went full circle when Dr. Weiss, Christa Lehnert-Schroth, PT and Dr. Marc published the newest book on the Schroth method in April 2015, entitled, Schroth Therapy: Advancements in Conservative Scoliosis Treatment .