What I did on my summer vacation.

When I visited my sister and her kids two months ago, I was recruited to help my young niece with her summer project. Unfortunately, my sister had just found out that my niece had two mandatory projects over the summer. What the other kids had all summer to complete, my niece had about a week. And I had three days to help her. I was up to the task. After all, she is only ten years old and starting the 5th grade. I have a master’s degree. How hard could it be? The first day, my niece sat me down at the dining room table. She explained that she was required to develop a board game based on the book she had read. Okay, that seemed a little challenging, but again, how hard could it be? Another sister had already bought all of the supplies. My niece had finished the book the night before....

Continue reading

Home is where the heart is….

    I went back to visit my sister and her family last month. For the first time in 33 years, I drove past the exit that took me to my hometown and to the house where I grew up with my four sisters.  The house that my father had built. The house that my mother had made into a home. I tried not to look at that sign as we drove in the opposite direction, away from the place that I referred to as “home” for over fifty years. Both of my parents died last November. My younger sister  moved away from the area and closer in to the city 2 months ago.     As my husband and I drove passed the exit and continued on in the opposite direction, I wanted to grab the steering wheel out of my husband’s hands and turn the car around. I wanted to yell, “No! We go this way”!  ...

Continue reading

Free your neck…

    I remembered this helpful tip when I strained my neck last week. Give it a try and see if it can help you, too. For the sake of simplicity, I will give instructions for working with the left side of your neck. However, feel free to turn the directions around to work with the right side if you wish.     1) Sit on the edge of a firm chair with your feet on the floor. Slowly and gently turn your head side to side. Notice how far you can easily turn without stress, strain, or the feeling of tension. Pay attention at what point the tissues of your neck begin to tell you to stop moving. Do not go beyond that point.     2) Take your right arm across your chest and place your right hand gently on the left side of your neck. Keep your thumb together with your fingers. Gently explore the soft...

Continue reading

There’s a car in our living room.

It was late winter. It was late enough in the evening for it to be dark outside, but not so late that my 2 older sisters and I were in bed yet. I was 4 years old.  My mother was working on a project at the dining room table. My oldest sister was doing her homework at the kitchen table. My other older sister was in the corner bedroom that the three of us shared. My father wasn’t home. I had just put my pajamas on and walked into the dining room to my Mom, turned around, and asked her to snap up the back of my “jammies”. Just as she started, a horrible series of explosions rocked the house. I fell over backwards and could hear myself and my sisters screaming. My mother immediately reacted and yelled, “Girls, the house is blowing up! Quick, get your coats and shoes and...

Continue reading

The quality of touch….

We use our hands constantly during the day. But, do we really appreciate the quality of our touch? Our hands and fingers are highly sensitive with many nerve endings that send messages back to our brain and tell us how to respond to our experience of touch. So, how can we awaken our sensation of touch?  Try this little exploration: 1) Sit on the edge of a firm chair with your feet on the floor. Place your dominant hand gently on your leg. Take a moment to allow your hand to soften. Let your hand contact your leg and your leg contact your hand. Take a few moments to fully connect with the sensation of your hand and leg touching each other. 2) Begin to gently lift and lower just your palm away from your leg and back down to your leg. Your fingers stay in contact with your leg the entire time....

Continue reading

More stormy weather and neuroplasticity. The legacy continues…

    Two weeks ago I went to visit my sister and her 2 young children. One of my duties was to help my niece with a school project. It was a summer project that was due on the first day of school. Yikes! I’m glad they didn’t assign summer projects when I was a kid.     One afternoon, my niece and I sat at the dining room table and worked on her project. My nephew was upstairs alone playing wii. All of a sudden, the sky grew dark and thunder began to rumble in the distance. My niece looked around nervously as lightning started to light up the sky. I asked her if she was scared. She said no. What about your brother? She assured me that he would come downstairs if he got scared.     The storm got quite violent. After a particularly bright bolt of lightening and ear deafening thunder...

Continue reading

Sugar Plum Tree

  “Have you ever heard of the Sugar Plum Tree? ‘Tis a marvel of great renown! It lies on the shore of the Lollipop Sea, in the harbor of Shut-Eye Town.” This was my absolutely favorite nursery rhyme by Eugene Field when I was a small child. I would beg my mother to read it to me over and over and over again. Of course, she did. She would hold up the book and show me the magnificent picture of my Sugar Plum Tree. Over and over and over again. My 2 older sisters would patiently listen to the story and dutifully look at the pictures. Over and over and over again. I  loved that story. And that tree was very real to me. One day, in my childhood wanderings around our yard, I found a seed from a sugar maple tree and decided to plant my own Sugar Plum Tree. Sugar maple tree,...

Continue reading

Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement(R) in the Rocky Mountains

I was honored to teach a workshop for the Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies during their recent intensive training segment. To teach Awareness Through Movement in an open mountain meadow with students sensing themselves in the sun or the shade, in the wildflowers or next to a lake was the ultimate somatosensory experience. Our support staff consisted of a gracious and dignified mountain dog, as you can see in some of the pictures. The mountains and the sound of the horses whinnying in the background completed this spectacular classroom with a view! To learn more about the Gestalt Institute of the Rockies and the wonderful work they do as well as their training programs, go to http://www.gestaltequineinstitute.com/ You won’t be disappointed! Be healthy! Cheryl Ilov, PT,...

Continue reading

Unlock your jaw….with Feldenkrais®

A lot of people experience neck pain, jaw pain, tooth pain, headaches and TMJ dysfunction when they simply do not have to. Often times our aches and pains are a result of unnecessary tension in our muscles, or from faulty movement patterns. After a period of time, these habitual patterns can cause excruciating pain, joint dysfunction and joint destruction. Not only can the pain make you miserable, it can become debilitating and incapacitating, resulting in a diminished quality of life. However, you can interrupt the harmful patterns by introducing new ones. Would you like to learn how? Try this simple but highly effective movement exploration based on The Feldenkrais Method®. 1) Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent, or place a large pillow under your knees to eliminate stress...

Continue reading

Support yourself for better sleep and a healthy spine.

        A lot of people complain about waking up with pain that they didn’t have when they went to bed, saying that “they slept wrong”. As someone who truly appreciates the value of a good night’s sleep, I don’t believe that there is a “wrong” way to sleep. However, there are ways that you can support your spine in a neutral position by using pillows at night to decrease the incidence of waking up with musculoskeletal pain that you didn’t have when you went to bed. Here are a few suggestions:     1) If you sleep on your back.         Use a pillow under your knees to support your low back in a neutral position. Play with different sizes until you find the one that is the most comfortable for you. Be sure that the pillow you use under your head...

Continue reading