Picture of Alessandro  Bombardi

Dr. Alessandro Bombardi

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner

I started to practice the Feldenkrais method in my late 20s as a personal investigation;

At that time, I was about to complete my master degree in Physics. I lived in Italy and amongst my very diverse interests I spent long time reading about consciousness, brain and human vision.

In one of my books about vision I found a Feldenkrais lesson.

The movements were wery simple, basic flexion and extension of the ankles with shifting progressively the attention through the body from the ankles to the head.

I explored the lesson and I started to feel a pleasurable and progressive softening, toward the end the tiniest movements were echoing up to the top of my skull.

I took my time to stand up and I was amazed, the change in the general organization of my neck muscles and cervical vertebrae was so deep that I decided I wanted to understand better the "magic" behind the method.

Unfortunately there were no Feldenkrais teachers around but I started to read all the available books he wrote about the method as well as "Mindful Spontaneity" written by Ruthy Alon that was available in Italian. His scientific approach to movement in terms of gravity, development and organization of the nervous system and his consideration about the relationship between anxiety and posture matched both my personal experience and my scientific approach to reality. I started to work on the lessons that were available and progressively I found that not only I felt softer in my body but also in my soul.

I mean my capability to adapt to changes and accept external reality was improving. At the time I did not have any pain, but I found the effect very deep, beneficial and long lasting both physically and mentally. When I moved to France to begin my doctorate in Physics, the books were amongst the most precious items in my luggage and I was lucky enough to find a teacher in Grenoble, where I regularly attended classes and workshops. I was always fascinated by the possibility of training to become a Feldenkrais practitioner but I had to put that aspect of my life on hold whilst I pursued my scientific career.

In 2004 I had the opportunity to move to England to work on an exciting project, the construction of a new synchrotron was starting and I was hired to participate to build and run a new beamline that was ideal ideal to pursue my research on strongly correlated electron system.

For a few years I forgot about the method, but due to several changes in my life circumstances, and a broken foot I began to attend Feldenkrais classes again but, due to my work and family commitment, not as regularly as I would have liked.

Few years ago I started to experience persitent shoulder pain; Despite I tried several medical approaches the pain was getting unmanageable and the only approach that seemed to reduce it was Feldenkrais. This was the main reason behind my decision to attend the Feldenkrais training to become a certified Feldenkrais practitioner. The first weeks of training were really puzzling for me as the pain was gone but it was coming back even in more acute form, but remained there only for few weeks and then it disappeared again. To cut a long story short, after I completed two years in the training the pain was almost completely gone and resurfaces only after sudden reflex actions, like sneezing. After I sneeze the pain is extremely acute, it goes from the shoulder to the neck, through the left arm to the fingers but than it fades away and after few minutes it is gone. I noticed a series of tiny postural changes, so small that it would be difficult to understand what made the change. Different opening in my hip joint, diferent distribution of weight through the soles of my feet. My pinched nerve, or whatever causes me pain is still there, however all the areas surrounding it are much less tense and even if I can still hit the roof if somebody touches me in the right place, the muscles around my sore area are relaxed and I am not constantly in pain.

As a scientist I found the Feldenkrais approach to human movement and learning the most sophisticated and complete one available to date. The Feldenkrais comprehensive approach encompasses the role of the nervous system, its plasticity, developmental and autonomous aspects, the role of the gravitational fields as an external force as well as aspects of the internal constraints dictated by the skeletal body mechanics. It is not suprising in this respect the consideration that the method is gaining amongst the new generation of neuroscientists. There are many aspects of human learning that are still beyond our current understanding and we should not be mistaken by thinking that this approach can deal magically with all the issues that we can experience but, based on my experience, I can certainly tell that it is an invaluable tool to find in ourselves resources to help us during our life journey.