Massage Therapy Ordinance

This website is dedicated to creating a favorable regulatory environment for therapeutic massage practitioners, bodyworkers, and their clients.

Phase One – Mission accomplished!
This site was the original home for the SF Coalition of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Practitioners. Our group was instrumental in helping to develop and pass legislation in 2003 moving the regulation of massage businesses and practitioners from the Police Department to the Department of Public Health (go to DPH website). The new ordinance went into effect July 1st 2004. You can use the links at the top and bottom of the page to browse some of our history prior to passage.

Phase Two – The Ongoing Challenge
While Phase One was a huge step, issues still remained. For example, practitioners working in home-based businesses were still not legal, the 1,000-feet restriction between massage businesses, the lack of a single category for chair massage businesses, and, perhaps most importantly, the removal of all criminals trafficking in the human sex slave trace and using massage businesses as a cover.

massage therapy with oil

massage therapy with oil

 

If you are interested in supporting these intiatives, you can add your name to our email list, which will keep you up-to-date about the issues and our efforts to make SF a true massage-friendly city.

This website will post all of our mailings that define the issues, ask for your comments, and report back with the results.

For example…
Up until recently, no one was allowed to have a private practice for massage in their home, if they were living in a residential district. Due primarily to the efforts of the members of this website, a ruling was obtained from the head of the Planning Commission that home-based massage businesses were permitted, as long as the practitioner had either a General or Advanced Practitioner permit from the Department of Public health.

This was a huge win that has allowed hundreds of massage and bodywork professionals to come out of hiding and advertise their services without fear of being arrested.

Painless “To Do” list...
You can also be a part of building a “sustainable” future for massage in SF. Read about the issues below and what we are doing about them here. Then, register your support by signing up on our email list. And, as a suggestion for your first step toward political activism, get all of your friends who are massage or bodywork professionals and all of your clients, to sign up as well.


Massage Therapy – Types and Benefits

In massage therapy, therapists manipulate muscles and soft tissues of the body by using their hands and fingers. The therapists rub and press the body parts to relieve stress and pain of the body.

In UK and Australia, Massage Therapy is also popularly known as remedial massage. Remedial Massage can be interchange with Therapeutic Massage and Medical Massage. More information on Remedial Massage. In Australia, at the moment there is no regulation in operating massage businesses. There are massage associations that maintain standard practices and make sure skills of massage therapist are up to date. Make sure to look for members of ATMS(Australian Traditional Medicine Society) when deciding for a therapist. One experienced and long time member of the society can be contacted from this website: mabuhaytherapeuticmassage.com.au they are based in sydney.

Massage therapy is considered a part of the complementary medicine, where certain therapeutic disciples are used with conventional medicines. For example, a massage therapy for back pain works well with the conventional back pain medicines, which makes the treatment more effective.

History of Massage Therapy

The history of massage therapy dates back to ancient times when people of ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece and Rome used it for various health issues. It then saw the influence in the United States in 1850, got a low time in 1930s, but then resurfaced in 1970 and is getting popularity ever since.

Types of Massage Therapy

A recent study shows that there are more than 80 massage styles that are being used by different therapists around the globe. A massage can be simply for relaxation and controlling stress. On the other hand, some massage therapies are done along with the treatment of certain health conditions.

Below, we will talk about the most popular massage therapies.

1. Shiatsu Massage
Shiatsu is a Japanese word, meaning “finger pressure”. In it, therapists exert rhythmic pressure on certain body points that are called acupressure points. It is believed that these points regulate the flow of vital body energy.

2. Thai Massage
Also known as lazy yoga massage due to its similarity with yoga, but in it, the therapist moves the body of the receiver while the receiver stays passive. The therapists compress body muscles, move joints and acupressure points to reduce stress and increase flexibility.

3. Swedish Massage
This is the most popular and common massage type in the West. Instead of energy theories used in Eastern massages, Swedish massage employs anatomy and physiology. In it, the therapists perform massage strokes of hands to warm up muscle tissues, which helps in relaxing the whole body from stress.

4. Deep Tissue Massage
It is a form of Swedish massage where the massage is more focused on realigning the deep layers of muscles. It helps with chronic muscle tension, tightness in lower back, neck stiffness and other muscle problems. It refreshes the muscles to perform better.

5. Hot Stone Massage
In hot stone massage, warmed stones are placed on acupressure parts of the body. The stones transmit heat deep into the body to give a soothing and relaxing effect.

More on Different Therapeutic Massage Techniques – www.hopkinsmedicine.org

Benefits of Massage Therapy

I. General Health Benefits

* Massage therapy increases the blood flow in muscle and the body, which ultimately helps in delivering necessary nutrients to muscle tissues which were not accessible due to stressed muscles.

* Massage also increases the endorphin level in the body. Endorphin is the chemical which is responsible for making a person feel good.

* The massage receiver feels a sense of well-being and better sleep quality.

II. Benefits in Treating Medical Health Issues

* Back Pain
A study took 400 adults with back pain problems and conducted research on the effects of massage therapy. The study concluded that the adults who were taking massage therapy reported less back pain than those who were not taking any massage therapy. This reduced the need of painkillers for back pain by 36%.

* Anxiety and Depression
Multiple studies done by researchers at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine showed that massage therapy changes the biochemistry of the body, which helps in reducing anxiety, depression and fatigue. The stress hormone cortisol was seen 53% lower in people who were examined immediately after a massage.

* Arthritis
The same researchers mentioned above also conducted studies for seeing the effects of massage on people with arthritis. They found out that regular massage therapy leads to less pain and joint stiffness. Also, they saw a notable improvement in the overall movement of joints.


Stay Informed! Here are some important steps to get educated and keep up to date:

  • Join our email list. The new legislation went into effect on July 1, 2004. This site now provides information about the implementation process and the development of new regulations and procedures. If you would like to be kept informed of the latest news, sign up on our email list.
  • Browse the two sections below, Latest News and Documents to bring you up to date.
  • Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page where I try to post answers to common issues that have come up.
  • Ask questions or make comments. I have added a simple forum where you can leave your feedback and questions about the new regulations. Check it out…
  • Go to the Department of Public Health website. There you can read about the DPH procedures and download permit applications

Please note: This website has no affiliation with DPH. It is an independent Project.


Update on the need for new chair massage legislation
For the past 16 months I have been deeply immersed in the development and launch of a innovative concept in the delivery of chair massage services. This has highlighted dramatically the need for new legislation for chair massage. Check out the full story and leave your comments on our affiliated blog.

**Breaking news – Home Business OK**
After many months of meeting with DPH and the Planning Department, the Planning Department ruled that home-based massage businesses do not require one of the three business permits currently in effect (Establishment, Solo Establishment, and Outcall). This is potentially one of the most significant changes to occur in massage regulation in SF. You will now be able to legally work out of your residence with only a Practitioner or Advanced Practitioner permit. We all know that the bulk of massage in SF is practiced by people working out of their homes, so this is an opportunity for us to “come out of the closet” and never be afraid to advertise again. You can read DPH’s statement on the new ruling here.

**More Breaking News**
On June 7, 2005, a resolution introduced by Supervisor Fiona Ma appeared before the full Board of Supervisors for a vote. The resolution would have amended the planning code to require all new massage establishment businesses be classified as “conditional use”. That means that each new applicant would have to post signs in the neighborhood before opening up to give the neighbors a chance to come to an open meeting of the full Planning Commission, in effect creating another very large, and potentially expensive hoop for massage businesses to jump through. Alerted on the day of the meeting, I sent a fax to all of the Supervisors asking them to send the legislation back to committee on the grounds that the massage community had no input in the discussion. Fortunately, that is exactly what the Board did. I met with Supervisor Ma, at her request, yesterday. Read the report of the meeting and the exciting new changes that have been initiated.

**Final News**
I am beginning an initiative to have the regulation of chair massage treated differently from table massage. If you are interested in reading more about the rationale, go to the July 12, 2005 update.

Latest news (click date to read more)
This is a list of the emails sent to our members. The most current email is first. Please note that some of the information in the older emails has been clarified in newer emails.

July 14, 2005
Progress all around

July 12, 2005
Home-Based Massage now legal; new threat; proposed chair massage amendment

September 24, 2004
Legal Home-Based Massage is Going to Happen!

September 13, 2004
Public Hearing releases new Rules and Regulations.

September 10, 2004
2nd Public Hearing on new Ordinance coming up.

July 23, 2004
New procedures and forms on DPH website. Click here.

June 28, 2004
Impressive turnout for DPH Public Implementation Workshop. Latest policies and procedures.

June 9, 2004 – Public information meeting, sponsored by the Department of Public Health, scheduled for June 28, 2004.

June 4, 2004 – No fingerprinting and other updates

March 11, 2004 – Test development meeting with DPH

March 4, 2004 – First meeting with DPH regarding implementation

December 2003 – A time for celebration – Our massage ordinance passed!


Documents
The documents below can be downloaded in RTF format (which can be read by most word processors) or PDF format (which requires Adobe Reader).

  • DPH Rules and Regulations, as of Sept 10, 2004 [RTF] [PDF]
  • Fact Sheet of Major Changes [RTF] [PDF]
  • The New SF Massage Ordinance effective July 1, 2004 [RTF] [PDF]
  • The Old SF Massage Ordinance [RTF] [PDF]
  • Legislative Analysis of the differences between the old and new ordinances [RTF] [PDF]

This Website
This website is an information resource developed by somebody who threw it together and attempts to keep it relevant and useful. Someone is hosting it on their business servers. If something doesn’t work right on this website, send us a message.