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Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis-Specific Exercise (PSSE): The Schroth Method

scoliosis-specific Schroth Physical Therapy

Scoliosis-specific Schroth Physical Therapy

Our medical center is proud to offer a conservative exercise approach to the management of scoliosis, kyphosis, and other spinal conditions called the Schroth method. The Schroth method is a form of Physiotherapeutic scoliosis-specific exercises (PSSE), which are exercises founded in principles of self-elongation and specific muscle contraction individualized based on the shape of each patient’s trunk.  Our therapists are trained through the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School, (BSPTS) a rigorous certification course rooted in Schroth principles and a solid foundation in understanding the biomechanics of scoliosis in order to best optimize the health of each patient’s spine and movement system throughout the lifespan.


The Schroth method was created by Katharina Schroth. Originally a businesswoman by trade, she began using a mirror and the image of a balloon to use her breath and the muscles of her trunk to address her own scoliosis. Her success in addressing her own posture prompted her to then pursue an education in physiotherapy and begin treating patients. Her family has carried on her legacy, and now Schroth is being practiced throughout the world.

What to expect

Our therapists practice with a philosophy that considers the whole person, and not simply a painful body part. Your experience with us will begin with a thorough and comprehensive assessment with your BSPTS Schroth therapist.  We will take a history, and perform an exam that investigates your posture, function, movement patterns, breathing patterns, and muscle performance, as well as tissue tone. A plan of care will be developed based on goals set by you and your therapist together and individualized to your needs.

What to bring to your first appointment

Please bring a prescription from your referring provider if you have one, insurance information, as well as any diagnostic tests such as xrays for your therapist to review. Note: if you are a patient who was seen or referred by a Columbia provider, your tests will be in our system, so no need to bring them to your appointment.

What to wear to your first appointment

Bring or wear comfortable clothes that enable you and your therapist to observe your trunk as you perform various postures and movements. For males, this includes a T-shirt and shorts. For females, this includes a sports bra or bathing suit top and shorts.  You can expect to be with us up to 45 minutes for your initial appointment.

What are the exercises like?

The exercises place a strong emphasis increasing your awareness of your body and the postures and movements that you habitually perform, as well as teaching you how to optimize your postural muscles to achieve a more neutral position that you can incorporate into sustained positions as well as movements and then integrate this new awareness into your daily and recreational activities. You and your therapist may utilize mirrors, hands-on guidance, as well as external props to facilitate your most optimal posture. The total duration of your program will vary based on your individual needs, but usually averages 10-15 total sessions.

Non-operative care for spine & scoliosis

ColumbiaDoctors and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have several certified Schroth therapists in different areas of New York:
  • ColumbiaDoctors Midtown
    Hagit Berdishevsky PT, MSPT, DPT, Cert. MDT
    Prachi Bakarania, DPT
    Kelly Grimes, DPT, GCS, OCS, FAAOMPT
    Appts: 212-305-4878
  • Columbia Tarrytown Practice
    Rebekah Wallach, PT, DPT
    Appts: 914-333-2403
  • NewYork Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital
    Denise Coleman, PT, DPT
    Appts: 212-305-7674

To find a Schroth therapist in your area, please contact us for recommendations of therapists that we often work with. You can also view a more expansive list on the websites below.


Select research articles to support scoliosis-specific exercise

  • Randomized Controlled Trials
    • Schreiber S, Parent EC, Moez EK, et al. The effect of Schroth exercises added to the standard of care on the quality of life and muscle endurance in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis-an assessor and statistician blinded randomized controlled trial: “SOSORT 2015 Award Winner”. Scoliosis. 2015;10:24.
    • Kuru T, Yeldan İ, Dereli EE, Özdinçler AR, Dikici F, Çolak İ. The efficacy of three-dimensional Schroth exercises in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: A randomised controlled clinical trial. Clin Rehabil. 2015
    • Monticone, M, Ambrosini, E, Cazzaniga, D, Rocca, B, Ferrante, S. Active self-correction and task-oriented exercises reduce spinal deformity and improve quality of life in subjects with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Results of a randomised controlled trial. European Spine Journal Eur Spine J. 2014:1204–1214.
    • Otman S, Kose N, Yakut Y. The efficacy of Schroth`s 3-dimensional exercise therapy in the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in Turkey. Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2005;10(4):277-83.
  • Systematic Reviews
    • Romano M, Minozzi S, Zaina F, et al. Exercises for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a Cochrane systematic review. Spine. 2013;38(14):E883-93.
    • Fusco C, Zaina F, Atanasio S, Romano M, Negrini A, Negrini S. Physical exercises in the treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: an updated systematic review. Physiother Theory Pract. 2011;27(1):80-114.
  • Clinical Guidelines and Clinical Commentary
    • Negrini S, Aulisa AG, Aulisa L, et al. 2011 SOSORT guidelines: Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation treatment of idiopathic scoliosis during growth. Scoliosis. 2012;7(1):3.