California’s Massage Laws

Jul 13, 2021

California seems to lag in this area of massage regulation. In just the past few years, we have gotten a California Massage Therapy Council, a voluntary certification organization.  It may sunset soon.

Until this agency came about, each city could have us undergo sexually transmitted disease testing or other disgraceful procedures because we were not given the benefit of the doubt, but assumed to be prostitutes. We were also licensed under the police vice department.

When the Council came into being, all those requirements went out the window. Now the requirements are up to each city, but they are the same as for other businesses….a business license to practice in that city.

What has concerned me recently is the misunderstood changes. As I interview local therapists, I am finding that at least a quarter of them do not understand that they still need a business license in each city. When I inquire as to where they are licensed to practice, I am told something like “Oh, I have the California license so I can go anywhere”. Not true.

I am finding people working with no licenses, out of their homes, or under the table. When I first moved here 7 or so years ago, there were no cities here that allowed massage or any business that had foot or car traffic to it to be carried out from the home. That may have changed, but I doubt it because of the reasons the law was made in the first place.

When it comes to the law, ignorance is no excuse. Your cities massage laws are usually posted on their website and therapists should read them. If you choose to ignore them, do so at your peril and do it consciously.

And energy work practitioners are usually held to these same laws, but do they know that? Have they spoken to their city? Can you touch clients or not in your city if you just have energy work training? Do you know? It is often just massage therapists who can touch, but you might want to check that out where you are. I encourage empowerment through knowledge. All it will take is one angry client to complain to the city and your occupation could be in danger. Especially in this economy, is it worth that to work in the shadows of the law?

Don't Use The V-Word

Do you mind my asking you how old you are?" Linda, in her early 70's, doesn't identify as a "senior" - at least not in the context that most people think of it.

Published by James Lee

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