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What The Heck Are Bolster Pillows Anyway?

By Bob Proctor

Bolster pillows are long, narrow pillows whose name comes from Old English. They are normally found at the head of the bed (in Western countries) and can be covered with just about any available material. The filling can be made from cotton, down, or any other type of fiber (natural or synthetic). While westerners usually use them for head or neck support, those living in Asian countries have a different use.

For Easterners, a bolster pillow is a ‘hugging pillow’. In Japanese, the name given is ‘dakimakura’, which means ‘bamboo wife’. Traditionally, Japanese women made a pillow from bamboo for their husbands who were away from home. These could be ‘hugged’, in lieu of the wife who wasn’t available.

In China, the name for a bolster pillow simply means ‘hugging pillow’ while in the Philippines the term is ‘tandayan’, which is also the name of the fruit which resembles these pillows’ shape (long and narrow). The common Filipino name, though, is ‘hot-dog pillow’! Shape, again, is the responsible for this most descriptive appellation.

Looking for bolsters online you’ll find numerous sites offering not only stock selections but also custom made options. Prices vary as do selection of styles, colors and materials. Some outfits offer to make custom items according to your exact specifications and allow you to choose from their assortment of materials or provide your own material (from which they’ll produce your order).

You can find these pillows made for either indoor or outdoor use, depending on the specific materials used for both the outside covering and the inside filler material. Synthetic fillers made be the best option for outside pillows (no goose-down feathers here).

They say a bolster pillow is helpful for pregnant women (to help them become more comfortable while lying in bed). A recent movie featured a woman who preferred hugging her long pillow in place of her husband. He eventually ended up throwing the thing out a two-story apartment window into a dumpster below. She ended up digging it out and bringing back in!

Bolster pillows are quickly catching on in America and the market is growing. They seem to have more functionality than a normal bed pillow. They’re also still somewhat unique and can add a special accent to the spaces in which they’re used.

Bob Proctor has been writing articles since 2006 and is an expert on kids pillows, however he also likes to write about lineman tools

categories: appliances,product reviews,shopping,home

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Proctor, Bob "What The Heck Are Bolster Pillows Anyway?." What The Heck Are Bolster Pillows Anyway?. 21 Jun. 2010. 29 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Proctor, B (2010, June 21). What The Heck Are Bolster Pillows Anyway?. Retrieved December 29, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Proctor, Bob "What The Heck Are Bolster Pillows Anyway?"

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