In Thai yoga massage, side position is the place where most of my therapy happens. Its no more important than other positions, but I find it crucial to accessing muscles and moving a body through range of motion. The Thai yoga massage school I attended embraces this idea too. There are so many possibilities in side position.
However, when I went to Thailand and received from traditional therapists, we didn’t go into side position even once. It was all supine, prone, and seated. My school often said that people in different parts of the globe need different things. If a culture is seated on the floor a lot, or in a squatted position, and has different kinds of activities for work and play, then they will have different needs. Whereas, in the West, we sit in office chairs, cars, and recliners for a majority of our days. Our hips flexors become tight along with psoas and TFL. Back muscles become very deconditioned. So for those of us in the West, side position becomes even more important for those specific muscles.
Besides back and hip flexors, shoulders are a real problem for Westerners. Much of it comes down to scapular mobility. Once our shoulder blades becomes immobile, a host of other symptoms arise. And yes, side position is the best place to work on shoulders. So I end up doing it a lot.
In Thai Yoga Massage, no session is ever the same. We have a sequence that we follow, but its just the blueprint for what we need to do. Many variations depending on the needs of the client arise in a session. Its good to communicate not only pains that are felt, but also the lifestyle. Much can be found by our daily habits in life and family history. Its all about coaching the body to become more open and ready to live a happy life.