CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Massage Establishment Laws Nip Massage Therapy

One massage therapy institution has found itself under attack from massage establishment laws in a local town.

According to The Citizens Voice, Euphoria Massage Spa found itself in legal trouble after trying to expand within the township:

"Because Euphoria's primary service is massages, as its name implies, township zoning rules classify the business as an adult massage parlor. The classification piqued some neighbors' interest, and has given Space a headache."

Massage establishment laws are usually set by local ordinances, not state law, which means they can vary from location to location. A medical spa offering massage therapy in one township might find itself regulated as a massage parlor in another. Navigating such rules can require careful negotiation among local politicians and councils.

According to the article, "Euphoria offers skin exfoliation, therapeutic massages and advertises itself as a 'professional, relaxing environment.'" Yet, "The zoning ordinance states any establishment that gives massages as its primary business is classified as a massage parlor, unless the massages are "administered by a medical practitioner, chiropractor, acupuncturist, physical therapist or similar professional person licensed by the state." Opening a massage parlor, or any other "adult" business, requires approval from the zoning board." (Businessman defends plans for expansion, 10/02/06).

The ordinance's classification limits who can provide services, and requires the business owner to jump through extra regulatory hurdles just to get approval to open.

Medical spas seeking to provide massage therapy services therefore need to examine local ordinances as well as state laws, both as part of determining whether their establishment can legally operate, and to decide which providers can be hired and whether they need to be state-licensed in one form of massage therapy or another.

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Michael H. Cohen, Esq.; 468 North Camden Dr. | Beverly Hills, California 90210 | 310-844-3173