A dakimakura (抱き枕?) (from daki (抱き?) "to embrace or cling" and makura (枕?) "pillow"), also called Dutch wife, is a type of large pillow from Japan. The word is often translated in English simply as "hug pillow".
Where am I going with this you might ask? Bear with me.
Although lacking in ability and talent, I do quite a lot of running because I enjoy it. I enjoy training (mostly), racing, ultras, marathons, group events, everything. It offsets the otherwise pretty appalling lifestyle I lead. I drink too much, sleep too little and eat too much of the wrong stuff. That is why I started exercising in the first place, and for the most part my annual MOT seems to be ok.
However, in order to maintain a certain level of activity, I need to perform maintenance - and massages are part of that maintenance. If I have a slight niggle, I find a massage can help overcome that. If I have a full blown injury, often an intensive course of massage can enable me to keep up physical activity levels so that I don't lose too much - if any - conditioning. I will also - normally - have a monthly maintenance massage to get rid of knots and so on which although not an issue in themself, could manifest themselves as injuries later on down the line.
Recently however, I have been too busy - work, kids, social life have all conspired to mean that I have absolutely no time at all when I can fit in a massage. I have therefore invested in a massage roller. I had read about these on others' blogs and journals for a while, and thought I would give it a go. Mine is just over a metre long, about 10cm in diameter, and is blue. At night, whilst watching Spartacus with Mrs, I'll lie on the floor with my roller and gently iron out a muscle group whether it be ITBs, shoulders, upper arms, hamstrings and so on. It's a simple concept - the roller is very firm, although has a little give so that it is not so painful, and then you use your body weight to gently move the chosen area over the roller, back and forth.
And then when I am finished, I can use it as a pillow, or as a Daimakura! All for only 30 Euros. Bargain.