Thai Massage sessions on a mat on the floor can be carried out with the receiver lying in various positions, such as the prone position (receiver face-down), supine position (receiver face-up), seated position, and the side lying position (also called the side position).
Depending on the therapist, the type of client and his or her abilities or limitations, the goal of the massage session, and the techniques that the therapist wants to use, the receiver of the session will be placed in one or more of the aforementioned positions to do the massage.
Most typically — out of efficiency and ergonomic motives — the therapist will finish a set of techniques in one of the positions before placing the client into another position, but he or she can alternate the positions at will and at any moment if wanted; there are no musts here or predefined sequences that need to be followed.
Nevertheless, in some cases a massage will be entirely (or almost entirely) performed in the side lying position, in which we can perform a complete full body Thai Massage. This may be the case for pregnant women, for people who have severe back problems, heavily overweight or obese people (with a very large abdomen), or for older persons with fragile bones or with difficulties lying down either on the back or the belly.
People with a large belly will typically have difficulties lying in both the prone position (face-down, lying on the belly) and the supine position (face-up, lying on the back), that is, it will be uncomfortable for them, or perhaps even not advised, such as for pregnant women who are already advanced in their pregnancy period. In such instances, the side position is a welcome alternative.
For the receiver, the side lying position is a very comfortable, pleasant, and relaxed way of receiving a Thai Massage. Moreover, the therapist can reach and massage all body parts, head to toes, the front-side and back-side of the body, additionally having many options to perform a range of stretches. The side position is also an optimal position to carry out a Thai Barefoot Massage, that is, a complete body massage done with the masseur’s feet only.