Islam, the true religion of Allah, encourages Muslims to seek medication and make use of modern science in this field as long as there is no violation to the dictates of Shari`ah. As for massage therapy, it’s permissible, in principle, provided that it does not involve uncovering the `Awrah (parts of one’s body which should not be exposed in front of others).
Sheikh `Abdel-Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef, a prominent Azharite scholar, states: “As far as Islam is concerned, there is nothing wrong in carrying out massage for relaxing the muscles so long as three considerations are observed:
1- The `Awrah is covered.
2- It is done by the person of the same gender, i.e. a woman for a woman and by a man for a man. In all cases, the massage should be carried out in an isolated place, away from people.
3- The person who does it should be trustworthy that he/she does not describe the features of the body of the patient to other people whether they are men or women.”
The prominent Muslim scholar, Mufti Ebrahim Desai, adds:
“Direct massage therapy by skin contact done by a person of the same gender is permissible only within areas which are not restricted and not regarded as `Awrah. In the case of a male, the area between the navel and knee is private. It is permissible for a male to massage a male by applying oil on his shoulders and back in line with the navel area.”