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Male Reflexologist Treating Women

Shalom, Is there any isur for a reflexologist to treat women by touching hands and feet.


It is permitted to treat women in this way. However, some authorities write that it is preferable to avoid it, if possible.

Sources: A number of sources indicate that there is no prohibition of touching women when the touch is not in a manner of affection and arousal (see Rambam, Issurei Biah 21:1-2, 6; Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha’ezer 20; Rivash 425; Rashba vol. 1, no. 1488). Based on this principle, Shach (Yoreh De’ah 195:20) rules that it is permitted for a male doctor to measure the pulse of married women (see also Shach 157:10). Although some poskim dispute this, Shach’s opinion is ruled by Shut P’nei Yehoshua (vol. 2, no. 44), and by other authorities.

Based on the same principles, it would be permitted to practice medical techniques, such as reflexology, on women. A further reason for leniency is that the Gemara (Avodah Zarah 20) teaches that a person at work does is not inclined to have forbidden thoughts, though some question the application of this principle to scenarios of directly touching women.

Yet, there is a difference between reflexology and taking a pulse, and there is more room for concern concerning prolongued treatments such as reflexology than for short checks. Therefore, although it is permitted, there is certainly room for stringency. See also Taanis 21b concerning how a certain pious doctor used to treat women. And see further Iggros Moshe, Yoreh De’ah vol. 3, no. 54; Az Nidberu vol 10, no. 33.

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