The Art of Receiving


Over the years, I have tried to explain to clients how important it is to ‘receive’, and not just once or twice a year. Receiving, whether it be in the form of massage, energy healing, acupuncture or your choice can rejuvenate us by reducing stress and anxiety and kick-off self-healing processes in the body. What I have found thru my own life experiences is that the ‘art of receiving’ comes with practice. Finally, some scientific proof to back up my argument!

My beautiful friend and fellow colleague Lucy recently passed along this study on massage therapy, comparing the benefits after the first session with the benefits after several sessions. See below the results which basically tells us that it’s better to receive more than once to reap the full benefits of massage.

We made an interesting discovery concerning the effect of the treatment on the state of anxiety. When a series of massage therapy sessions was administered, the first session in the series provided significant reductions in anxiety, but the last session in the same series provided reductions that were almost twice as large. This pattern was consistent across every study we were able to examine, which strongly suggests that experience with massage therapy is an important predictor of its success, at least where anxiety is concerned. To put it another way, it is possible that the greatest benefits come about only when a person has learned how to receive massage therapy.(2)

(2) Moyer CA, Rounds J, Hannum JW. A meta-analysis of massage therapy research. Psychol Bull. 2004;130(1):3–18.

So what does this all mean?
That actually learning how to receive has added value….that the more we can receive, the more benefits we reap. I can attest to that first hand in saying that in whatever form you choose, it’s important to learn how to receive love, healing touch, support and kindness.

It’s also important to note that there are a vast range of healing treatments to choose from — and while I personally love receiving Thai massage, reiki and acupuncture (to name a few) — I can say that one or all of these might not be for you. It’s important to try out different healing modalities and find the right one for you.

Why more benefits?
In essence, you will receive more after learning how to relax and your mind and fully let go. It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and feel fully trusting with someone perhaps you’ve never met. If you think about it, it’s the same in essentially any time of relationship that you cultivate whether it’s a friend or lover — the more you get to know each other, the more intimate and trusting you can become over time.

Why is this message important to share?
I truly believe that holistic care is not a one-stop shop to fix all your ailments, daily stress and mental afflictions. In order to operate at your optimum BEST, it requires that you invest in yourself. And whether that is thru exercise, massage therapy, yoga, a healthy diet or surrounding yourself by beautiful people, it’s necessary that you prioritize self-care (or as a teacher I met in Mexico, Jennifer Prugh, puts it, “It’s time for ‘radical self-care’”).

How many massage sessions should you receive?
This question is a tricky one because usually you will feel better after the first session but that is not always the case. Sometimes, if your body is in a holding pattern, a massage or physio session can make initially make things feel unstable or worse. This is something that should always be communicated to your therapist.
Also, I think clients should be aware that with each session, we get to know your body better and can better tailor our sessions to your needs. Everyone has their limitations for how deep to go and usually the first session is reading the body and finding out what areas are blocked and holding on to tension. After the first session, the therapist has established a baseline and has a better idea of what to work on next time.

Written by Angela Sealy
May 30th, 2017