I think acupuncture, reflexology, Reiki, and massage are remarkable and I used them for years to help with injuries and as a preventative measure - Luke Goss 

Modern life is so frantic and fast that sometimes we forget how important it is to relax and focus on our individual well-being. We’re constantly surrounded by endless campaigns and advertisements that are devoted to promoting, and instilling in us, the value of physical activity both in the work-place and our personal lives.

While the idea that physical exercise promotes fitness and general health is accepted as a universal truth, it can also help us to accrue nagging injuries that, combined with the stress that the everyday world exerts on our bodies and mental health, can lead to significant and long-lasting physical issues. That’s why it’s increasingly important for all of us to find a better way to look after ourselves.

Massage, in all of its many forms, is a perfect way to combat the stresses and strains that we’re perpetually subjected to, as it advocates physical and mental well-being and helps to guide us down the path to both. After all, a healthy mind leads to a healthy body, and vice versa.

Surrounded by a wealth of urban mythology and rumor, massage is a broad and comprehensive catch-all term for a number of different interconnected disciplines that anyone, with a little practice and knowledge, can learn to get to grips with and increase their, and their family and friends, physical and mental well-being.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best books about massage for beginners so that you can discover the most effective way to become the best version of yourself that you can be, and you can help your loved ones to follow suit and be the best that they can be too. Are you ready to start the journey that could change your life for the better?  Then let’s begin…

Best Books About Massage For Beginners


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

Written by one of the world’s most well-known massage therapists and the owner and founder of MassageNerd, Ryan Hoyme, ‘The Complete Guide to Modern Massage’ is a catch-all guide for newcomers that offers a comprehensive introduction to the history and basic principles of massage.

Having taught massage internationally, Ryan has built a huge and incredibly dedicated social media following by showing people how to improve their lives with simple, effective massive techniques online and in this, his best selling book.

Including engaging over-views of different massage techniques, from globally famous schools such as Swedish and Shiatsu to more modern favorites like Thai and Ayurvedic, ‘The Complete Guide’ also explores and explains the benefits of massage’s restorative power that can be used to ease all manner of physical ailments and injury.

It’s easy to follow illustrations and step-by-step instructions are designed to help everyone to learn and master the techniques that can teach you how to heal your friends, family, and yourself. 

Learning can be difficult, which can make it intimidating and off-putting, but thanks to the author's straightforward and engaging style, ‘The Complete Guide..’ makes studying massage fun and interesting.

Whatever your level of interest in massage is when you start reading this guide, by the time you finish the last sentence on the final page, you’ll have become a convert to the cause and an adamant believer in the word of the MassageNerd.


  • Written by the MassageNerd (the world’s largest and most all-encompassing online guide, and community dedicated to massage) himself, ‘The Complete Guide…’ is an easy to follow, straightforward introduction to everything massage related. 
  • ‘The Complete Guide…’ has been a fixture on the global best sellers list for nearly two decades and has introduced legions of devotees to massage. If you want to join them, the best way to do so is through the pages of MassageNerd’s book. 
  • It isn’t complicated and doesn’t try to drown its reader in terminology or unnecessary information, it just gets straight to the point and uses an incredibly easy to follow series of pictorial lessons and simple step-by-step instructions to set you on the path to a better life. 
  • Recommended to, and for beginners by professional massage therapists, it’s a book that’s been given two thumbs by those in the know, and who make their living, in the massage industry. And those are the sort of recommendations that no amount of money or camaraderie can buy.


  • There are always going to be naysayers and detractors and people who want to try and undermine authors and their work. In this case, some reviewers have taken it upon themselves to decry this book as being “too simplistic”, which seems a little strange to us as it’s been purposely written for, and is aimed at, people who are new to the world of massage, which to us means that it should be simple and easy to follow. There really is no way to please some people. 


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

The author of ‘The Book of Massage’, Lucinda Lidell is a globally respected healer and recognized authority, and expert on massage technique. Having sold more than six hundred and fifty thousand copies of this book, the lessons she imparts, and teaches, in its pages have become part and parcel of the daily massage lexicon used by therapists, and amateurs alike the world over. 

A beautifully illustrated, and fully inclusive, stepping stone guide to the healing powers of the many different schools of massage, Liddell’s book features everything from traditional massage to reflexology and Shiatsu.

Referred to as the classic guide to the healing and relaxing skills of the hands, ‘The Book of Massage’ presents an easy to follow set of lessons and principles that not only teaches the art of the perfect massage but also offers advice on how to create the right mood and setting and the oils and lotions that can be used by a masseuse to enhance the experience.

Combining photographs and illustrations with its simple to master, straightforward examination of the do’s and don’ts of massage, it’s one of the essential tomes that any beginner should find a place for on their massage library shelves. 

A thorough and insightful study of the basic, and fundamental, ideologies of both the Eastern and Western schools of thought, Liddel’s book explores both so that you can adopt, conquer and incorporate the best of each and use them as you see fit. You may not be an expert by the time you close this book, but you’ll be well on the way to becoming one. 


  • With over six hundred and fifty thousand copies sold, ‘The Book of Massage’ is a world-wide best selling guide to the healing arts of the hands.
  • Easy to follow, it’s a simple approach to teaching, and encouraging its readers to learn the history of a variety of massage techniques will help to improve your understanding of the underlying principles and lessons you’ll need to thoroughly embrace and become part of, the world of massage.
  • It encourages the reader, and would-be massage enthusiast and practitioner, to enfold themselves in the emotional depths of massage as well as the physical aspects of the disciplines. It’s all about the union of, and symbiotic relationship, between mind and body and the wellbeing of both.


  • Some of the content is a little risque and some of the pictures that it uses to illustrate its points could seem a little dated, and out of place, to the modern practitioner. As with every book, some readers like it and some don’t, some people swear by its contents and others (in this case, a tiny minority) claim that it’s irrelevant.


The Massage Bible: The Definitive Guide to Soothing Aches and Pains (Volume 20) (Mind Body Spirit Bibles)

If an author and publisher are going to claim that their book is a ‘bible’, it had better be, or at least come close to being, a definitive work on the subject in question. Thankfully, Susan Mumford’s four hundred page tome dedicated to both the subtleties and over-arching foundations of massage as a form of healing, and helping to alleviate the symptoms of injuries fits comfortably into the niche created by its title.

This richly illustrated book will allow its readers to drink deeply from the well of massage will guide you through the basic practice, and history behind, multiple forms of massage that includes everything from the Chinese school through to Shiatsu, Indian Head massage, and more.

Using large easy to follow photographs and accompanying straightforward and easy to master and utilize lessons, ‘The Massage Bible’ is composed of a wealth of digestible information that favors simplicity and doesn’t get bogged down in overly-complicated terminology.

It puts the needs of its readers and disciples above everything else and introduces the guiding forces and ideas to beginners in a manner that encourages them to develop and learn as they make their way through the book.

Adopting a direct and forthright approach to massage, it’ll show you everything from the way to use and position your hands to the best way to use massage to treat a whole host of problems and injuries. As thorough and precise as a beginner’s guide can possibly be, ‘The Massage Bible’ adopts the approach that it’s better to know too much rather than too little and that when it comes to massage, there’s no such thing as too much information.


  • As its title suggests, when it comes to learning and mastering and the basic ideas and methodology of massage, this book really is ‘The Bible’
  • Even though it’s been a decade since it first appeared on bookshelves, the lessons and information it contains are still accepted as up-to-date practice and will enable you to effectively deal with a wide ranging variety of injuries and problems.
  • Easy to understand and simple to follow, it’s combination of photographic examples and straightforward, uncomplicated prose-based lessons make ‘The Bible’ an indispensable guide to the basics of healing massage. 


  • The smaller size of the book can make it difficult to follow some of the photographs and determine hand positioning from them, and some established massage practitioners have noted that it could be slightly more detailed in its approach to certain areas of the practice, but overall, it is what it says it is, ‘The Massage Bible’. 


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

Art Riggs, the man responsible for bringing ‘Deep tissue Massage’ into the world, is a certified Rolfer (the manipulation of soft tissue and fascia to create better alignment and balance) and massage therapist with more than three decades of experience in his chosen fields of expertise.  Which made him the ideal choice to write a self-explanatory, uncomplicated catch-all guide to Deep Tissue Massage. 

A biomechanical guide that stresses the importance of touch and positioning to alleviate injury, tension, and stress and how to deal with, and cure the causes and symptoms and of the most common problems that all three can help to cause.

With over two hundred and fifty detailed photographs and anatomical drawings that explore the correct positioning of the hands and their usage and explain a wide variety of injuries and problems and how to effectively deal with them, Art Riggs’ book is the beginner’s deep tissue massage gospel and should be treated as though it’s been handed down to the reader from on high.

While it doesn’t go into any of the deeply held secrets and treatment that are part and parcel of its author’s trade, it does impart more than enough knowledge to help you to treat and deal with any number of deep tissue injuries and issues.

More specific, discipline-focused, and in-depth than the other guides on our list,  it’s an essential read for anyone who has ever fallen foul of an athletics or sports-related injury or knows someone who has.


  • It’s a detailed guide to the principles of, and the theory behind, dealing with deep tissue and nagging injuries and problems. 
  • Easy to follow and understand, it’s a simple way to master the basic ideology that governs deep tissue massage.


  • Like the other books on our list, Art’s guide to deep tissue massage isn’t without its critics. While they’re small in number and seem, for the most part, to be involved in the same profession, as the author, said critics all seem to have the same complaint. That the book is basic and geared toward the amateur. Which makes it perfect for beginners. 


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

Massage isn’t just about learning multiple disciplines and the science and experiences of the various theories that lie at the core of everything that they are based on. It’s also about the promotion of mental and physical well-being and understanding the fundamental ideas that connect both. And there’s no better person to begin to discover them with than your partner.

Helen Hodgson’s book explores all of the ways in which you and your partner can learn to mutually cure and deal with stress and injury and learn to better understand, and aid your mental health, through massage.

A guide to massage technique that will teach you about the benefit of touch and its healing power, how to stimulate your senses and those of your partner, and how to discover your spiritual side and forge a deeper emotional connection with massage.

Favoring intuition, trust, and basic massage rather than science, Hodgson’s book is a fun way to combat the stress and strains that the world uses a battering ram to hammer us all with, and how to use massage to do so.

While it may bear a striking resemblance to the glut of lovers guides and overly descriptive editions of the Kama Sutra that flooded the literary market in the nineteen seventies, this book is nothing like them. It’s a well thought out, emotive, and intelligent guide to massage and how you can use it to become closer to your partner.


  • Written by a trained massage therapist with more than a quarter of a century of experience on her chosen film, ‘Couples Massage Therapy’ is a clever exploration of the use of massage as a way to connect with your loved one in a deeply physical and spiritual way. 
  • It’s a book that other therapists have thrown their weight behind and recommend to their clients. Which should be all the recommendation that you need to pick it and give it a try. 


  • It’s an incredibly basic and straightforward book that lays the principles of massage bare and makes them easy enough for anyone, and everyone to understand. If you’re searching for something a little bit more involving or in-depth, then this isn’t the guide to massage that you’re looking for. 

Buyers Guide

As A Beginner, Which Book About Massage Is The Best One For Me?

While all of the books on our list are designed to encourage the beginner to learn basic massage techniques and gradually improve their individual skillset, and all are similarly priced, there is one book that serves as the go-to, be all and end all of basic massage. 

‘The Massage Bible’ is our recommended read for anyone who is even slightly interested in massage, as it combines history, methodology, and practice in equal measure to deliver a comprehensive overview of the discipline. And it is an ideal guide for anyone looking to take their first, tentative steps into the world of massage. 


What Is Massage?

Massage is a physical process in which the hands, elbows, fingers, knees, and forearms are used to manipulate the body’s soft tissues. It is primarily used as a way to treat stress and physical injury and is an established and proven medical science whose professional practitioners are certified and governed by a registered board of medical experts. 

While massage is primarily used to heal and deal with the symptoms of physical injury, massage has also been proven to have a drastic, and positive impact on mental well-being and health.  Massage can cause the brain to release endorphins, which create a sense of pleasure and general well being that can help to alleviate stress and other related issues.