Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(a) Massage professionals and businesses providing massage therapy promote public health and well-being with therapeutic practices that temper aches and pains, ease stress, reduce blood pressure, and provide other valuable health benefits.
(b) In 2008, the Legislature enacted uniform statewide regulations pertaining to massage therapy (Senate Bill No. 731 (2008), amended by Assembly Bill 619 (2011)) codified in Business and Professions Code Sections 4600 et seq. The regulations created a private nonprofit benefit corporation, the California Massage Therapy Council ("CAMTC"), which was authorized to regulate and standardize the issuance of certificates to massage professionals throughout the state.
(c) The 2008 law, as amended, also served to exempt massage practitioners and massage therapists who are certified by the CAMTC and massage businesses that employ only CAMTC-certified practitioners from local permitting and other regulatory requirements except for reasonable health and safety standards. This has had a preemptive effect on the ability of cities and counties to effectively regulate massage businesses.
(d) The lack of local regulation has led to a marked increase in the number of massage businesses that have opened in San Francisco, especially in some areas of the City that now exhibit a significant concentration of such establishments.
(e) The lack of regulation has also allowed many illicit massage businesses to open, sometimes using deceptive euphemisms like "relaxation spa" or "health club." These illicit businesses are generally outlets of the sex trade, and some engage in human trafficking and other human rights violations. Such massage businesses are detrimental to the health and safety of the community and adversely impact the local economy by driving legitimate business away, potentially affecting the vitality of neighborhoods and the provision of adequate services for residents and visitors alike.
(f) In 2014, the Legislature passed, and Governor Brown signed, Assembly Bill No. 1147 (''AB 1147" ), which authorizes local governments to use their regulatory and land use authority to ensure the public's safety, reduce human trafficking, and enforce local standards for the operation of the business of massage therapy in the best interests of the affected community.
(g) Under AB 1147, cities and counties regained broad authority over the ability to regulate businesses that provide massage therapy, and CAMTC retained authority over regulating those individuals who hold a CAMTC certificate to practice massage therapy.
(h) Through this Article 29, the City seeks to exercise its authority under AB 1147 to regulate all massage businesses, including those that employ only CAMTC-certified practitioners, and to regulate massage practitioners who do not hold a CAMTC certificate.
(Added by Ord. 72-15 , File No. 141302, App. 5/28/2015, Eff. 6/27/2015)