When I was in college, my parents and little brother came to visit me in my dorm room when I was setting up my bed in my dorm room. Cushy mattress topper, high thread count sheets, fluffy comforter, just the right pillows. Little brother asked why I had all that stuff. My mom explained that I had to build my little nest. Even on a skimpy first job salary, pillows and sheets were a priority for me. You see, I have always been a master of comfort, a queen of comfy if you will, plotting out blankets and pillow arrangements and scheming about how to get things just so to maximize snugness. I still remember my first restorative yoga workshop — bolsters and blankets, total immersion in finding new ways to be comfortable, to find deeper rest. I was smitten.
Similarly, I remember the very first time that I learned how to properly set up the side lying position in massage school. I was the demo body for the class, happily bolstered by my teacher, bundled in sheets, fully supported. It was bliss. Don’t get me wrong — I love a good prone/supine massage, pillow under the ankles when face down and under the knees when facing up to put some slack in the hamstrings and lower back, totally supported by the table. But there’s something about side lying that feels so luxuriously cozy. I’d say it was just me and my deep appreciation for being properly bolstered, but I’ve heard far too many people extol the virtues of this position to be so naive.
Just look at this lady from the Body Support Systems website — velour tracksuit and proper bolstering. How psyched is she? She looks pretty cozy to me.
In my massage practice, I use side lying position for prenatal massage. Not only does this position offer maximum safety and comfort, minimizing strain on uterine ligaments and the body as a whole, it is also a fabulous position to massage the lower back and hips, both of which are taxed and oft-complained-about during pregnancy. There are a number of reasons why side lying position is great for pregnant clients, but what speaks to me the loudest (and in a real, human voice to boot!) are the women who have struggled to get comfortable during pregnancy, tossing and turning at night, pillows not quite right, who have told me that being bolstered for massage is the most comfortable they have been in months. Can’t beat that!
This position can obviously be used for anyone — pregnant or not — who wants to try it out. Please let me know before your session if you’d like to give it a whirl so I can make sure to get set up for you. And, even though I use the fancy pants massage cushions shown above, I will happily discuss how to replicate supported side lying position with regular pillows so that you, too, can be a queen or king of comfy in your own home.