Does Getting a Massage Burn Calories? Here’s How Much You Can Burn

Your body requires energy to function, and energy is created by burning the calories in fat reserves that are stored in your body. The harder the activity, the more calories you end up burning during a workout or activity. But can you burn calories when enjoying a soothing type of activity? Does massage burn calories, and how much will you burn?

A lot of people believe that massage can be helpful for slimming down. In this guide, we will explore the calorie-burning possibilities of massage. 

Does Massage Burn Calories?

The quick answer is yes: massage can help you burn calories and offers many other benefits. There are, however, quite a few factors that impact how many calories you will burn. Here is a quick look at why these soothing sessions assist in burning calories.


Massages typically last 30 minutes to one hour and can offer many immediate benefits. You reap the most benefits from massages when you regularly enjoy them. Regular massage keeps pain away, relaxes muscles, clears the body of toxins and can reduce stress. 

Just like with regular exercise, the more massages that you enjoy, the more calorie-burning and muscle-soothing benefits you will get.

Lactic Acid Release

does massage burn calories

After indulging in a massage, it can sometimes feel like you just completed a tough workout. When you exercise, lactic acid is released into the body, which can cause tension knots in muscles as they become stiff and sore. 

When you get a massage, the muscle fibers are squeezed and lactic acid is released; your muscles once again feel tense and sore. This muscle soreness and tenderness are a lot like enjoying a light workout, and your body can burn a few calories as it produces lactic acid.

Enhances Metabolism 

Massages are known to increase your metabolism, especially if you remember to hydrate after a deep tissue massage. Hydrating after a massage enhances the flow of lymphatic fluids, which can have a detoxing effect on the body that then burns some calories. 

Improves Digestion

Massages can improve digestion, which helps your body absorb more healthy nutrients. This can make your body stronger and can increase energy levels so that you can be more active throughout the day. 

How Many Calories Will You Burn?

Various aspects can affect the number of calories that you burn during a workout. A one-hour massage is very similar to a lightweight workout, and can burn up to 270 calories for the average person.

Some types of massage – like deep tissue massages –  will burn more calories compared to other types like hot stone massages. This is because the muscle fibers endure a lot more pressure and stretching during massage, so more lactic acid is produced and released. 

The calorie-burning benefits of massages also extend beyond the physical massage; a boosted metabolism and a healthier digestive system can also assist in weight loss. 

One single massage isn’t going to dramatically change your weight, but it can be a helpful aid to incorporate along with a healthy diet and a regular fitness program. 

FAQs About Massage & Health

If you want to enjoy a massage but are worried about how it might impact your body, then you probably have a few questions. Here are some of the top questions regarding massage and calorie burning.

Will a Massage Impact Muscle Growth in Bodybuilding?

A massage has a very big impact on muscle growth in your body. These sessions improve circulation in certain muscle points throughout the body. This enhances healing in soft tissues, which can strengthen and boost muscle tissues.

Enhanced blood circulation also reduces inflammation in muscles which can help them grow healthier and stronger in less time. 

Massage sessions also reduce your recovery rate so that you can get back to bodybuilding workouts a lot quicker, which heals injured muscles faster so that they can become stronger.

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

It’s important not to overdo massages, because your body needs time to heal and to recover from the effects that these sessions can have on your muscles and other body tissues.

Those who enjoy high-intensity sports should get a massage no more than once a week. A deep tissue massage is recommended only once every one or two weeks. You can also enjoy massages when your body is tense, or if you’ve sustained a muscle injury that might require some attention. 

Can You Burn Calories in a Massage Chair?

woman reclining in a massage chair

Massage chairs can be very convenient and affordable, but they don’t offer the same calorie-burning benefits as deep tissue massage. These chairs are designed to offer a soothing and relaxing massage, but not one that targets muscles. You will burn some calories in a massage chair, but not enough to have a dramatic effect. 

A massage chair can be a very helpful aid, however, if you want to burn more calories when you work out. It reduces stress that is sometimes associated with weight gain, and it reduces your recovery time so that you can get back in the gym sooner.  An improved digestive system and enhanced metabolism can also help you keep weight gain under control.

Can a Massage Gun Help Burn Calories?

If you use a massage gun correctly, it can have the same effect as a deep tissue massage. These tools can enhance recovery, increase blood flow, increase lymphatic flow, clear up lactic acid and activate the nervous system. 

This basically means that you’ll get much more calorie-burning benefits from using a massage gun than you would if you used a massage chair. 

Bottom Line

So, does massage burn calories and how much will you burn? Only certain types of intense massages will offer you immediate calorie-burning benefits. But massages in general can help optimize your body so that you can achieve more results from other weight loss methods like diet and workouts.

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