History of the Schroth method and the BSPTS
Studying herself in the mirror, she assessed her torso shape closely and could see that the prominences on her back had corresponding hollowed sections in her front and that where her torso was expanded sideways, she was compressed/collapsed in the equivalent area on the other side of her body. She found through positioning she was able to lessen the appearance of these asymmetries.
Katharina also drew parallels between a balloon and her own lungs. She discovered that she could direct air into the collapsed areas of her ribcage, thereby increasing the internal volume, lessening the collapse and further influencing the shape of her torso.
She recognised that changing postural perception was paramount to the success of improved postural position and control.
Katharina’s early professional years began as a teacher at a Business and Language school however she soon left to complete training at a gymnastic school with the aim of treating patients with her own condition.
In 1921, Katharina opened a small institute in Meissen, Germany, where the typical client rehabilitation was twice daily exercise sessions, 6 days per week for 3 months. Much of the time spent exercising was outside on the expansive lawn of the adjoining gardens. Katharina was a strong believer in the positive benefits of fresh air and sunlight to both the body and mind.
In 1924, she published her first book which lead to her method becoming known nationally and in adjoining countries. Most clients during these early years had curves exceeding 80 degrees and many travelled from Switzerland and Italy.
Katharina had a daughter Christa, who trained as a physiotherapist. From the late 1930’s, Christa assisted her at the institute.
After WW II Katharina was forced to leave Meissen. During the 1960’s she moved west with her daughter and together opened a clinic in Sobernheim. The clinic grew to house 150 patients treated for a minimum of 6 weeks duration. In 1969, Katharina was awarded the ‘Federal Cross of Merit’ for the introduction and development of her treatment for scoliosis.
In the 1970’s, studies investigating vital capacity and cardiopulmonary changes found sound improvements and increased the method’s recognition. Christa introduced a scoliosis classification system and comprehensively described her approach in a book. Her mother Katherina, by this stage, was in her 80’s and less involved in the running of the clinic however never ceased to accept the opportunity to talk and promote the method.
Working closely in their clinic with them was a Spanish physiotherapist called Elena Salva. When Elena relocated back to Spain (in the 1960’s), Christa gave her blessing for her to begin teaching the Schroth method to patients hence the Barcelona Scoliosis Clinic was formed.
Elena’s daughter (Dr Quera Salva) and son-in-law (Dr Rigo) both worked tirelessly at the Barcelona Scoliosis Clinic, and since the 1980’s had increasing numbers of physiotherapists travel to them for training from around the globe. Dr Rigo pioneered new 3D bracing techniques (Rigo-Cheneau style bracing) and classification systems and became well-reputed internationally for his research and humility in the way he treated people with scoliosis.
Through the formal formation of the Barcelona Scoliosis Physiotherapy School in 2008 (known as the BSPTS-Concept by Rigo), he has been vital in sharing not just scientific knowledge about scoliosis and the Schroth-based exercises internationally, but imperative in teaching about the humility and compassion that needs to come with it. This is a fundamental aspect of his teaching and the meaning behind the BSPTS quote “Looking after the person, not just the curve”.
The BSPTS-Concept by Rigo has recognised training centres for physiotherapists around the world. There are 32 international Teachers of which Rebecca Harding (owner Scoliosis Physiotherapy) is one. Rebecca provides courses across the Asia-Pacific region (for which she is regional Chair).
The physiotherapists at Scoliosis Physiotherapy have all trained directly with Dr Rigo to obtain their scoliosis qualification with the BSPTS-Concept by Rigo.
Being Australia’s first physiotherapy practice dedicated entirely to the management of scoliosis, we house the most experienced team of BSPTS Schroth-based practitioners in Australia, with >30 years of experience between us.