The Book of Massage by Simon & Schuster Books - review by mistressg

Book by Simon & Schuster Books

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The Massuese's Reference Book

If you are looking to learn more about massage, shiatsu, and reflexology, this is a great book for you. If you are looking for something quick to read for tips while giving your partner an oily back massage, this is not the book for you. Still, I think this is a worthwhile and informative read, if you have the interest.
Educational, illustrations/photos to better explain techniques, nicely organized, detailed info
Not really for quick reference, a dry read
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

This book is written by Lucinda Lidell, with a foreword by Clare Maxwell-Hudson. There is some info on the back of the book about the author. "Lucinda Lidell is a well-known healer and professional masseuse. She has contributed to many books on massage and natural healing, as well as the original Sivananda Companion to Yoga and The Sensual Body. She lives in London."

This book is meant to teach actual massage techniques, so it is no surprise that it is a bit dry. I don't think that is necessarily any fault of the author, since she did the best she could to make this sort of educational book into something engaging. I am not familiar with her other books, but I know this book is well-known among those who work in massage and body work; the author is reputable.
    • Expert author
    • Well known author

Content / Style / Audience

This is sort of textbook-style in it's presentation. It's more of a reference for those who wish to learn more about massage and massage therapy, than something to quickly browse through for techniques while you're giving a massage. It is pretty straight-forward, but dry. This book is probably best for those who are interested in taking massage seriously, not so much for someone who just wants a few quick tips on giving a foot massage to their partner or something.
    • Instructional / educational
    • Text book style


This book is a paperback. I wouldn't say the cover is indiscreet, but there is an image of a bare back with hands giving a massage on the cover.

The book is very well organized, but you might get a bit bored if you try to just sit down and read this in one sitting. Again, it is an educational book, presented in more of a textbook manner. I've heard that this particular book is one that is actually commonly used among those learning massage therapy. If you intend to read this in order to learn more about massage and massage techniques and history, then this is a book for you. Again, not a quick reference, this is something you'll actually need to sit down and read in it's entirety. Also, this is probably the sort of book one would want if they were going to be practicing these techniques regularly to build their skills with massage. This book does include images - both illustrations and actual photos. The actual photos seem to have this sort of recently-outdated, 80's sort of look to them. They all have a sort of dreamy, foggy look to them. Also, there is nudity in some of the images in this book, though they are hardly erotic or obscene images. This is not a "sexy" book, so don't bother if that's what you're looking for.

There is an 'About this book...' page located in the front of the book. This page says, "Three different therapies are taught in The New Book of Massage - massage, shiatsu, and reflexology. Whichever you decide to learn, please be sure to read Beginning (pp. 18-25), which contains practical advice that is fundamental to all three, and the Human Touch (pp. 152-65), which shows you how to apply the techniques to a range of ages and special needs.
Note: In the Massage section, receivers are shown naked, since the book is intended mainly for use with partners and close friends. In professional massage, you would always use towels to cover the body (see pp. 38-9)."
Clearly, this is a professional sort of book, intended for those interested in seriously educating themselves about body work. After this page is the two page foreword. The table of contents takes up the next two pages, and is very organized and sections are set up in a logical order.

There is an Introduction after that, which gives a quick rundown on the techniques in this book, and a brief history of massage. After that is a section entitled Beginning, with subsections titled Creating a Relaxed Environment, Giving and Receiving, and Centering. Clearly, given that alone, this great for those who are interested in professional massage. Those subjects are the absolute basics taught right off in any class in which you learn about working with others bodies (massage, reiki, etc.); so I think this is a good place for this book to start. After this section of the book is on massage - this includes info on using oils, and focuses on specific areas of the body. The next section of the book is on shiatsu, and is broken into many sections as well. As with the message chapter, this section is broken up into sections beginning with info on the basics (tools, background info, etc.) of shiatsu, then continuing on to focus on individual body parts. Each of these sections includes details illustrations, and corresponding photos. The illustrations help give a better understanding of the written material. The next section focuses on reflexology; it includes many charts. The techniques are presented simply, and seem easy to practice and apply given the text and images. The next section of the book is on Human Touch, and it includes a few pages on self-massage. After that, there is a section on Body Reading (again, this is very much a professional reference sort of book). There are a few pages on anatomy with illustrations of the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, and nervous systems; which is followed by a two pages on auras and chakras. This is a very traditional, and by-the-books book on massage; this is the real deal. This book is 192 pages in total, and you should be ready to practice these techniques to learn them. But you'll have to devote some time to getting this read, if you actually want to retain any of the info. This isn't the sort of book most people would want to sit and spend an afternoon trying to get through.
    • Diagrams / photos included
    • Soft cover


I was very eager to get this book and had been for a while. Though, to be honest, once I got it and browsed it, I realized I would actually need to sit down and focus on reading this. This book isn't really for taking a few quick tips, or quickly skimming over. This is not at all a fun, sexy, or fast read. This book ended up sitting around for months, because I didn't get the time to actually sit down and really read through any of it. While I find this sort of thing interesting, I like the book, but it is for those interested in body work (massage, shiatsu, reflexology).
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  • GONE!
    Excellent review!
  • mpfm
    Great review. Thanks.
  • bog
    Thanks for the wonderful review!
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