Written by Shirley Parker
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Pillows are such a part of our lives that it's hard to imagine the discomfort of those who may be living without them. Whether sleeping or waking, we're frequently reaching for one to ease a sore elbow at rest, to put behind a tired back or indignant hip, or to get a good night's sleep after an exhausting day. People and animals of all ages and sizes sigh with relief at finding aches and hurts cushioned, pain alleviated, or a barrier now between them and fearful noises. The mind and body heal faster when pain is not present, and comfortable, even luxurious, bedding helps muscles and nerves to relax.

If we find ourselves in a situation where a needed pillow isn't available, we make one out of whatever is nearby: a folded sweater, a rolled jacket, a backpack, a pile of newspapers, even a hymnbook at church when the sermon is long and the pew seems, or is, carved from rock. Pillows range from firm to medium to soft in resiliency. They come in all sizes, from a standard to body-length bed pillow, a floor pillow, a throw pillow for the couch, to a pillow that nestles under tiny cheeks topped by tousled hair.

To the delight of many, hypoallergenic and anti-allergy pillow covering fabrics are now manufactured. They provide a welcome barrier against dust that may cling to improperly cleaned feathers in some pillows or against household dust in which millions of living dust mites thrive unseen. In some cases, changing a laundry detergent to one that contains no perfume, for example, can also help in the fight against allergic reactions.

Historical Pillows Are on Display

Museums throughout the world often display artifacts from a nation's past, to help both citizens and strangers to appreciate their heritage and the tools ancestors worked with. These tools include spinning wheels and looms to make textiles. At the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, visitors can watch classic and power looms in operation as they produce fabrics that are turned into coverlets, pillows and many other household items.

In earlier days, a pillow was put together by hand sewing, the same way other items of clothing and household furnishings were made, whether utilitarian or what was considered luxurious. Now, a top quality pillow is often machine stitched to provide strong seams that retain shape and keep either natural or synthetic stuffing securely in place. A favorite comfortable pillow, no matter what it's made of, seems almost irreplaceable if you've had it for a long time.

Did grandmother mention her Dream Pillow or her Headache Pillow? They've actually been around for centuries. A headache pillow often used lavender, mint, eucalyptus and other soothing herbs for the aromas to be inhaled. A dream pillow used many different combinations of herbs, depending on the type of dreams that were hoped for.

Turkish Pillows? But, of course!

We don't often think of pillows when someone mentions Turkish rugs, but Turkish pillows or pillow covers, handmade from wool and using wonderful, traditional designs, can be purchased at relatively modest prices, even while they appear luxurious. They definitely brighten a room and are a conversation starter with new visitors to a home. And who doesn't welcome a pleasant topic to break the ice at a gathering?

The variety of pillow stuffings on the market includes wool from New Zealand, famous for its flocks of sheep. Natural products like these will often have a cotton cover for those buyers uncomfortable with synthetics. However, a mixture of wool and synthetic stuffing is also available.

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good article

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