I wanted to write about my experiences with scoliosis and working with Beatriz Torres because I want more people to know that they can find help.
As a teen I was treated for idiopathic scoliosis with a Milwaukee brace which I wore for close to two years. I did not receive any other treatment or recommendations after that, and the brace did not completely correct my scoliosis.
I had relatively minor back problems through my twenties and thirties, although I frequently had fatigue, tight muscles and lower back pain. I always had image and confidence issues and compensated by dressing and moving so my scoliosis was less noticeable.
Most of my pain and tension increased through my forties, and I became aware that my scoliosis was getting worse, especially rotations of my hips and ribcage. When I sought out help doctors repeatedly told me that scoliosis did not progress, and nothing could be done for me anyway, short of surgery. They advised me to just stay active and fit- hard to do when moving is increasingly painful!
I did get some help from Chiropractors and physical therapists who helped keep my spine moving as much as possible, but I found that I would often get injured trying to do standard p.t. back exercises and stretches. Intuitively I knew that I could influence my spinal curves through moving certain ways, worse or better depending on my stance, position, and strength, and kept looking for an approach that took scoliosis into account.
On a random internet search for answers I came across Beatriz Torres' web site describing the Schroth techniques and her knowledge in using them in her physical therapy practice. I was impressed by her experience both as a practitioner and as a patient using the techniques for her own scoliosis. In August 2008 I met with Beatriz and began a two week long Schroth therapy program, meeting daily, and have continued working with her once every few weeks since then.
With Beatriz I am learning movements to counteract the muscle imbalances from my curves and rotations, and to open a powerful network of change using the "derotating" movements, breathing and guided imagery. As it is explained, the goal is to stretch what is tight, strengthen what is weak, lengthen what is shortened, overall striving to rebalance areas of the body and to relearn and hold a corrected posture. Beatriz achieves this through her expert guidance, accuracy and her highly developed powers of observation.
I first noticed changes in the way I looked; I lost my shoulder "wings", and my ribs did not stick out as much in the back. I feel more upright, and certainly stronger than I have in at least 15 years. I continue to notice subtle improvements as I am able to do more stretches and exercises. Meant to be applied at home, the techniques use many simple tools like exercise bands and corrective pillows. Beatriz has shown me how to adapt gym exercises and other p.t. techniques to the Schroth form which helps me the most.
Having the professional guidance of Beatriz Torres has allowed me to understand where my body needs to be, to reeducate myself physically in all aspects of living - standing, sitting, walking, even sleeping. Beatriz and the Schroth therapy teach the importance not only of building strength but the need for elongating and decompressing the spine.
I would recommend Beatriz Torres and her knowledge of Schroth techniques to anyone young or old who wants to improve their scoliosis and their lives. For me at 53, Beatriz' therapy does not promise a cure, but a way of coping, of managing life with scoliosis, a way to self- help. The experience has restored a lot of my confidence and has made me realize that I need to continue this commitment for the rest of my life, which is a lot better than just waiting to get worse!
I give permission to Beatriz Torres to use this letter in any form for her research or presentations.
Lisa J. Kurasch