MOVING WITH SCOLIOSIS
Scoliosis is a lateral deviation of the spine with a rotational component. Current research suggests multiple contributing causes to its development but there is currently no definitive answer to the questions of causation and treatment. For a long time bracing and surgery were the only options. Fortunately, times are changing and recent studies are showing that specifically targeted movement techniques can ease or eliminate pain associated with scoliosis and may help reduce scoliotic curves.
My approach to Moving with Scoliosis supports the development of strength, flexibility, balance and agility as well as pain reduction and the prevention of curve progression. My practice consists of multiple modalities including Postural Yoga, The Schroth Method, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Nutritious Movement and Z-Health Neurological-Based Movement Training. I have chosen these methods after years of study and exploration, first of my own scoliosis and then of my students.
My first step as a teacher is to help my students understand the basic anatomy of their curves and other physical and emotional effects of scoliosis. I then teach movements, based on individual needs, that address the scoliotic imbalances and support my students to achieve their goals. When embarking on a movement practice, people with scoliosis must be careful to avoid physical movements that exacerbate the scoliotic curves of the spine. The body tends to want to move in the direction of the curves. For example, in a yoga practice it is tempting to go as deeply as you can into a pose. However, in asymmetrical poses, going as deeply as you can often means that you are moving with the curve and reinforcing the existing imbalances.
I encourage my private students to attend my public classes where they can incorporate what they have learned in a private session. During public classes I often give special adjustments based on what I have covered in a private session. For my Skype/Facetime students, I offer the option of consulting with their local teacher to support the adaptations they might make in a group class.
By practicing focused movement for scoliosis, you will develop a better understanding of your body while learning non-invasive tools for self-care. You will experience changes in muscles and fascia and develop new habits that support your overall well-being. While people do report actual improvements in the degree of curvature – especially adolescents – measurable clinical results are not necessarily the goal of this practice. The goal is to move better so that you feel better and live better. Taking time to pay attention and care for your body is worth the effort.