FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions, please read the documents on this website first. If you cannot find your answer, send me an email and I will do the best I can to address your issue.


Question:
Can I get either of the practitioner permits (General or Advanced) without working for a permitted massage business

Answer:
No. On your Practitioner Application form, the first entry under Work History should be a business that holds a current massage permit as a Massage Establishment, Solo Practitioner Massage Establishment, or Outcall. DPH will check to see if that business has a current permit. If not, they will deny your application


Question:
I have been doing massage without an permit in SF for the past ten years. Since DPH is asking for a work history, will I get in trouble if I tell the truth?

Answer:
DPH has assured us on many occasions that they are not interested in the past, but rather in bringing as many practitioners as possible into the new system without penalty. Your history in massage will only count in your favor.


Question:
After the changes, will we still be fingerprinted (something I’d like to avoid if possible) upon licensing?

Answer:
After much back and forth, DPH is currently presuming that all practitioner applicants will be screened for the required criminal background check through fingerprinting.


Question:
Are any bodywork modalities (such as Trager and Feldenkrais) going to be exempt from the law?

Answer:
DPH staff is working with the City Attorney’s office to draft regulations that will describe which modalities might be exempt from the definition of “massage” that is written into the ordinance. Check the Exemptions page for updates.


Question:
I am nationally certified as a Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Practitioner. Do I still need to take the DPH exam?

Answer:
Yes, everyone who applies for a permit must take the written exam. See more about the exam here.


Question:
Can I do massage out of my home?

Answer:
The answer is currently, “At the moment, no, but probably yes by the end of 2004.” Please read the September 24th update for the most current information.


Question:
If I am renting a room in a salon, will all of the inspections be required?

Answer:
Yes.


Question:
Will massage establishments with current permits from SFPD be required to have new reviews by the various city agencies?

Answer:
No, however, all establishments will still be subject to unannounced inspections by the health department


Question:
If I move my massage establishment to a different location, can I transfer my permit from the existing location?

Answer:
No. DPH treats it as a new business and you will be required to apply for a new permit, much in the same way as a restaurant that is changing locations.