Because the body requires energy to function, calories are burned during any activity. The more effort required to complete the activity, the more calories will be burned. Giving a massage burns calories, as does receiving a massage.
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Factors to Consider
To determine the number of calories burned while engaging in any activity, body composition, age, overall health and activity intensity and duration must be considered. Muscles use more energy than fat, so a more muscled masseuse will use more calories than someone who does not workout. In addition, giving a more vigorous massage will burn more calories than a slower, surface-level massage.
Calculate the calories burned giving a massage using a calorie counter, which considers your weight and activity duration. For example, according to the USDA's Super Tracker for calories, a 34-year-old, 160-pound female burns about 289 calories giving a one-hour massage.
Bodies burn calories regardless of the activity -- even sleeping burns calories. Receiving a massage is similar to sleep in that a person is laying down fairly still. According to Fitday.com, sleeping burns about 0.42 calories an hour per pound of body weight for the average person. At this rate, a 160-pound person burns approximately 67 calories during an hour-long massage.