The Best Books About Massage for Beginners

Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues in the body.  There are lots of types of massage including Shiatsu and deep tissue.  It’s amazing the difference that a massage can make in how you feel both physically and mentally.

Being able to give a good massage is a skill that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to everyone, but it can be developed.  Learning how to give a massage at home can seem daunting, but there are countless resources out there.

One of the best ways to become skilled in massage is to read about massage.  Let me tell you about some of the best massage books for beginners. Learning the ropes is easier than you think and you will be able to create the spa-like zen at home and reap the benefits of massage in no time.

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Why Should I Read Books on Massage Therapy Techniques?

Anybody can learn to give a nice massage.  While it takes training to become a professional massage therapist, books can provide the information you need to take your at-home massages from average to amazing.  You will learn more about your body, ways to stay healthy, how to treat common ailments, and more.

Books can also be a thoughtful gift.  If you need to get a present, also check out this list of gifts for people with bad backs​​​.

fingers massaging body

The Best Books About Massage

With all the options out there, it may be overwhelming to choose one book.  If you are interested in a specific type of massage, then chose a book that focuses on that.  Couples will want a massage book that highlights some of the more intimate aspects of massage.  At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of the massage therapy books on our list. If you have time, I would encourage you to read more than one of these works, as it will only expand your knowledge.

The Complete Guide to Modern Massage: Step-by-Step Massage Basics and Techniques from Around the World

The Complete Guide to Modern Massage offers is an updated reference to help you understand popular techniques and feel the physical and emotional benefits of massage.  Learn about the history and basic principles of massage and how they relate to modern practice.

This book covers classic styles such as Swedish or Shiatsu to new favorites like Ayurvedic and Thai, with illustrated, simple to follow step-by-step instructions. You’ll learn ways to help heal others who have common ailments (headaches, neck pain, PMS, lower back pain, and more) with your own two hands.

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The Book of Massage: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Eastern and Western Techniques

As you might gather from the title, this book, written by a well-known massage therapist, provides a step-by-step guide to traditional massage, shiatsu, and reflexology. There are numerous photos and drawings that help to illustrate the correct strokes and massage therapy techniques. In addition, the book includes chapters with information about creating the right atmosphere for massage, creating a comfortable position for the recipient, and correctly applying oils.

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The Massage Bible: The definitive guide to massage therapy

If you’re just beginning to give massages, The Massage Bible will provide you with the basics. The guide covers everything from Chinese massage to Indian head massage. There are easy-to-follow photos along with text that explains exactly how to use your hands. The detailed directory makes it easy to find information on how to treat a range of everyday common ailments, from stomach ache to joint pain, and how to customize your treatments to suit different people.

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The Reflexology Bible: The Definitive Guide to Pressure Point Healing

If you are looking for the best book about reflexology, this 400-page manual is very detailed and covers every aspect of using reflexology on a wide variety of health issues. The full-color photographs and illustrations help bring this topic to life and make it easy to understand. You will learn how reflexology works and get specifics on both foot and hand reflexology.

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Hand Reflexology

While there have been many books written on foot reflexology, this is one of the few comprehensive resources on hand reflexology.   Some of the material covered in this handbook includes:

It is clearly written with illustrations showing what parts of the hand should be stimulated for a wide range of physical and health issues.

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Deep Tissue Massage, Revised Edition: A Visual Guide to Techniques

This book starts with the fundamentals of massage, then covers the strategics, and finally goes into the caveats.   It covers the essentials of touch, biomechanics, and positioning options for a range of strategies to treat all major conditions with deep tissue massage. The information is presented clearly with more than 250 photographs and 50 anatomical drawings.  

This new edition has been thoroughly revised and now includes a suggested reading list and extended sections on integrating deep-tissue massage into bodywork practice and the psychology of treating injuries.

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The Art of Indian Head Massage

Learn the art of Indian Head Massage through beautiful pictures, artwork, and step-by-step instructions in this guide.   The contents are extremely detailed, covering a wide range of subjects including skincare, hair care, anatomy, and physiology.  It also includes information about choosing vegetable and essential oils and tips for relaxation techniques for before and after the treatment.

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Encyclopedia of Thai Massage: A Complete Guide to Traditional Thai Massage Therapy and Acupressure

The Encyclopedia of Thai Massage is one of the most comprehensive resources on Thai massage therapy. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, this manual provides an introduction to the history, ethics, and spiritual underpinnings of traditional Thai massage based on a modern understanding of anatomy and physiology.   This book is written in an engaging style and is well-suited for those with no prior massage experience and at the same time will be helpful to those that have practiced Thai massage.

thai massage

You will learn the basic massage principles like the Thai energy meridians and an atlas of acupressure points.  Plus, the book includes a fully illustrated, comprehensive, step-by-step guide to the classic Thai massage routine and details on sample therapeutic routines that can be used to treat specific disorders. 

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Couple's Massage Handbook: Deepen Your Relationship with the Healing Power of Touch

The Couple's Massage Handbook helps readers go from beginners to passionate pros in no time! You can experience the healing power of massage from someone you already know and trust--your partner!  It’s easy to create a spa-like atmosphere in your home, enhance your time together and connect on a deeper level.

This is one of the best massage books for couples as it covers the best massage tools, oils, music, and more.  It provides a massage sequence that you can use to stay focused and gives tips on proper massage techniques so that you will be able to give a longer and more stimulating massage.

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Other Resources to Learn About Massage

If you want to educate yourself about how to massage, books are not your only option.  There are many online massage therapy courses and informative how to massage YouTube videos. 

Online Massage Courses

You can find some educational courses about massage therapy online but in most cases they will be more expensive than massage books.  Here are some of the most popular:

  • How to Give a Fantastic Massage - In this three hour long video course you will learn all the basic strokes, how to apply them, and get some useful tips.  Click here for more information.
  • Shiatsu Massage: A Beginner's Guide - This course contains three hours of instructional video to increase your knowledge and help you give excellent massages each and every time.  Click here for more information.

YouTube Massage Videos

There are a lot of videos about how to do massage on YouTube and the nice thing is that they are free to watch.  It's a easy way to learn more.  I have included a few of my favorite massage lesson videos here.

Learn more about effective massage techniques in this video.

Learn more about back massage techniques in this video.

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Jeanette Lynn
 

Jeanette has been a professional massage therapist since 1998. She devotes her life to helping those who suffer from musculoskeletal pain. She's also a Pilates instructor and has a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN).

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