There is a related question In a non-life-threatening emergency, can a female doctor do a hospital procedure on a male or vice versa?. The answer to that question, addresses limited situations, and I don't think answers my question, here.

Can a male use a female for a massage or female use a male for massage? I would be doing this at home when my wife is present or in a spa where there are other customers, so I don't think that are issues of yichud.

By "massage", I'm addressing two aspects. Some people have massage for relaxation or to feel good. Others require massage therapy as part of chiropractic or other muscular or physical problems. (I am unfamiliar with the various massage techniques, so I can't reasonably ask about how halachot may apply to the various massage techniques.) Is there any difference in halacha if the reason for massage is medically necessary or for pleasure?

  • two pertinent ideas would likely be touching, and whether touching by way of a massage is considered affectionate and if its status changes for a professional and patrons of a professional, as well as looking at a woman's body for pleasure from it, and asking the same question regarding professionals. I suppose the second one could be circumvented to a degree if the woman wore a loose shirt that the man stuck his hands under.
    – Baby Seal
    Jul 21, 2014 at 20:22

2 Answers 2


For medical purposes this case should be no different to other cases whereby a man can receive treatment from a female doctor (and vice versa). Despite this, some choose (when possible) a doctor of the same gender in any case, if it makes no difference e.g. if it makes no difference for you, and is possible, to have a full medical examination by a doctor of the same gender (all things being equal) then there is no question that one should choose the same gender.

There are also different types of massage. Some involve contact with parts of the body that are always covered. Having had massages myself, I can imagine it being a very sensual experience when sharing this with someone of the opposite gender and may certainly lead to inappropriate thoughts (or God forbid worse). Not being sensitive to the touch of the opposite gender could be considered an unfortunate desensitisation of what should be a sacred male-female contact between a husband and wife.

The challenges for men to overcome their yeitzer hara are difficult enough. This is something that can be avoided or, even better, finding a masseur of the same gender.

  • 2
    This answer would be improved if it cited some sources to back up any of the claims made. Dec 8, 2014 at 19:08

If the question is of pikuach nefesh, then it isn't a question. As in, if C'V, someone was in the hospital with some very severe issue that even involved direct erva, a doctor of the opposite gender is 100% allowed to assist them. Let's say that it's somewhat less severe, it's preferable to have someone of the same gender, but if not, a doctor is a medical professional and is thus allowed to touch their clients for the aforementioned reason. In the case you're referring to, for the mere sake of a massage that has nothing to do with medicinal practices, the answer would be no. If it had to do with a medical procedure, then it would be preferable to find someone of the same gender. The simple answer to the pleasure aspect of a massage is: find someone of your own gender otherwise that would probably be an isser.

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    A massage is generally not considered to be something that is "pikuach nefesh," IME. Your answer doesn't cite any sources, which sometimes isn't a problem, but this answer would certainly benefit from it. See meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1444/… and meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/712/… for more info about site policy.
    – MTL
    Dec 7, 2014 at 22:08
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    This is inaccurate. Gilui Arayot is not violated for Pikuach Nefesh and some include Negi'a in that.
    – Double AA
    Dec 7, 2014 at 22:24
  • And I'm not sure your claim about direct erva is true. yeshiva.org.il/wiki/… Dec 7, 2014 at 22:25
  • If you can provide some sources for your assertions (because they are stated with definitive confidence), that would greatly improve the quality of your answer. It also help to improve the quality if you could explain the reasoning (from your sources) to rule out the concerns raised above about Negi'ah.
    – Seth J
    Dec 9, 2014 at 18:30

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