Schroth Method History, Family and Evolution
The Schroth Method has a lasting legacy because of the work of three generations of a family dedicated to improving the lives of the with scoliosis via conservative methods. In 1921, Katharina Schroth began her scoliosis program in Meissen, Germany. She treated patients with very large curvatures, often exceeding 80º. Eventually she was joined by her daughter, Christa Schroth, and for years the mother daughter team worked in tandem to help patients. Together, they established what was to become a world- renowned inpatient facility treating hundreds of scoliosis patients at a time. In the last part of the previous century, Frau Christa and her son, Dr. Weiss began to work to spread the technique beyond the German borders.
The Schroth method was established in Germany by Katharina Schroth in 1921. Katharina was born in 1894 and as a girl wore a scoliosis brace made of metal. She disliked the effects that came with having scoliosis and as a young woman she devised a way to improve her scoliosis when she was inspired by observing a depression in a rubber ball.
Katharina’s idea for self-treatment was founded on the principle that air could be pressed out of a rubber ball. Since the depression in the ball reminded her of the concave side of her own body, she decided to begin breathing into the concavity of her torso to fill it up with air. She began practicing between mirrors while observing the effects on her own physique. One discovery led to another and Katharina’s scoliosis began to lose its power as her postural appearance improved and scoliosis became manageable.
During this time, Katharina was a teacher at a business school in Dresden. Her co-workers began noticing the change in her posture and physique. Soon she was speaking publicly about addressing scoliosis through breathing and exercise. She began to teach formally, in Meissen, Germany. Scoliosis had become her life’s work and legacy. Katharina received numerous awards and accolades in Germany over the course of her lifetime. She passed away in 1985.
The core component of her scoliosis-specific exercise method is an asymmetric breathing technique known as ‘rotational breathing.’ Its goals are to stabilize and balance the spine, help halt progression or reduce curvature, improve vital capacity and chest expansion, and help relieve pain, when present.
Today, use of the technique continues to spread and the Schroth Method is now practiced world-wide by patients who are truly grateful to have discovered it. Katharina passed her passion for her work to her daughter, Christa Lehnert-Schroth, PT, and grandson, Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss.
Christa Lehnert Schroth, PT
Christa Lehnert-Schroth PT, was an inspirational woman who devoted her life to the Schroth Method. Frau Christa, as we knew her, dedicated her life to refining and sharing the methods her mother created to help scoliosis sufferers improve their posture and overall quality of life.
In the 1940s, Frau Christa became a PT and helped Katharina advance the Schroth method techniques and eventually added important curve classifications for treatment. She was devoted to helping those with scoliosis and advancing the valuable Schroth techniques. Frau Christa’s career as a physical therapist spanned more than fifty years.
She worked to spread information about the Schroth method throughout the world until her death in March 2015. She was the director of the renowned Katharina Schroth Clinic, in Bad Sobernheim, Germany until 1995 when her son, Dr. Weiss took over the medical director role at that time.
The clinic she and her mother established is now run by a German healthcare group as the Asklepios Katharina Schroth Clinic in Bad Sobernheim, Germany – an inpatient facility for those with scoliosis. The Schroth family no longer has an affiliation with the clinic.
Even during her retirement years, Frau Christa continued to help others with scoliosis and spread the word about the benefits of the Schroth Method globally. She authored a book for physiotherapists translated into several languages entitled, Three Dimensional Treatment for Scoliosis: A Physiotherapeutic Method for Deformities of the Spine, a guide for practitioners to use to help patients.
Just prior to her death, Frau Christa collaborated on Schroth Therapy – Advancements in Conservative Scoliosis Treatment with Dr. Weiss and Dr. Moramarco – also now available in several languages.
Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss
Dr. Weiss is now the third generation of the Schroth family to dedicate his life’s work advancing the Schroth Method and the family legacy. He is a prolific author, innovator and bracing master. Dr. Weiss developed the Schroth compatible Chêneau Gensingen® brace and an extensive and ever evolving CAD/CAM bracing library according to scoliosis curve pattern in accordance with Schroth classifications. His scoliosis brace is now used internationally. Its goals are to improve the postural appearance of each patient who wears it and to reduce spinal curve angles, whenever possible. Adolescents with severe curves are now using the Gensingen brace for scoliosis management in lieu of surgery.
Dr. Weiss lectures internationally and is currently in private practice in Gensingen, Germany. He is building a team of Schroth Best Practice® practitioners all over the globe to ensure that Schroth training is provided to patients as efficiently and effectively as possible. Schroth Best Practice® is an updated Schroth Method that makes the technique more user-friendly. The amendments honor but improve his grandmother’s techniques making learning and incorporating the Schroth method easier. With Schroth Best Practice®, patients learn to modify postures and incorporate their rotational breathing in all types of everyday situations in order to have an even greater impact on the scoliosis.
Katharina Schroth, Christa Lehnert-Schroth, PT and Dr. Weiss have made an everlasting contribution to those interested in taking control of scoliosis. We are privileged to be affiliated and to have learned from members of a family with such an important contribution to scoliosis.