Statute 32-4252 A. Use of title; restrictions; violation; classification
No person may claim to be a massage therapist or use any terms or references in any advertisement, statement, or publication to suggest to the public that the person is a massage therapist unless that person is a massage therapist licensed pursuant to this chapter. Arizona State law defines “Massage therapist” as a person who is licensed under this chapter to engage in the practice of massage therapy.
Steps to Look before You Book in Arizona:
Step 1: Use the Arizona Massage Therapist Search Tool to verify that your massage therapist is actively licensed and has no disciplinary actions against them. Only those listings with “Active” status are legally permitted to perform massage in the state of Arizona. Check the expiration date of your therapist’s license here, and view disciplinary actions.
Step 2: Check with your city to be sure that the business you are visiting for a massage is a licensed establishment. Massage Establishments are licensed by city codes. Each city is different in its requirements and fees to establish a massage business.
Step 3: Check your therapist’s marketing materials for their license number. Licensed Massage Therapists are required by the State of Arizona to display their license number on all marketing materials.
Liability Insurance: Ask if your therapist has professional liability insurance and who their carrier is. Massage therapists are not required to hold professional liability insurance in the State of Arizona, but most do, in the event that something happens to you or another client. Those who work at resort and hotel spas, and chiropractic offices often do not carry personal liability insurance because they work under the insurance of their employers.
Students Massages: Ask if your therapist is a massage therapy student. Massage therapy students give massages in Arizona. You may find massage therapy students working for Chiropractors under the chiropractor’s license in Arizona while they are in massage therapy school. Student massages are also performed at massage school clinics, and a massage business in the state. Students must be under clinical supervision of an instructor when performing massages. They are not allowed to perform massage on the public without supervision, and they cannot accept tips for their services.
Massage Apprentices: Ask if your therapist is a massage apprentice. You may find massage therapy apprentices working in massage businesses such as franchise and massage chain environments before they have obtained their professional license or within their first year of massage therapy. Apprentices may work under employment contracts at these businesses, are required to have their own liability insurance, have passed the MBLEx exam, and are licensed pursuant to the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy.
Massage License: Arizona massage businesses are required to keep the licenses on file or on display of each massage therapist who works at an establishment. If you are unsure, ask to see the license of the person massaging you.
Draping Laws: Consumers should expect to be draped properly during their service. Draping is required by Arizona Law R4-150193: Ethical Standards, A. E., Massage Therapists must Provide draping that ensures the safety, comfort, and privacy of the client.
Sexual Activity: Also covered by Arizona Law R4-150193: Ethical Standards, licensed massage therapists must refrain from engaging in sexual activity with the client, even if the client attempts to sexualize the relationship. It is a crime in Arizona to buy or sell sex, or to facilitate, or make money from the buying or selling of sex.
Sexual Advertisement: A licensed Massage Therapist shall not advertise that they offer sensual or erotic massage that constitutes sexual activity as stated in A.R.S. § 32-4253 or for the purposes of sexual gratification.
License Exemptions: Massage therapy students or student apprentices who perform massage at a school or business working under clinical supervision, massage therapy students who work under the license of a chiropractor or other healthcare professional’s license, other manual therapists who do not claim to be massage therapists or bodyworkers, when the customer is fully clothed such as movement educators such as dance therapists, yoga teachers, personal trainers, and movement repatterning practitioners, or when techniques are intended to affect the human energy field. See A.R.S. 32-04221
What to do after your session: If you experience any violations to Arizona Law during your massage session and believe you have been harmed by a massage therapist, please inform the business, report it to law enforcement, and complete a consumer complaint with the State Board of Massage Therapy immediately.
Is there a brothel in your area? What can you do?
Prohibited Acts under Arizona State Law: Sexually Oriented Businesses are not Massage Clinics, they are brothels. Arizona Adult Oriented Business Law can be found here: https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/43leg/2r/bills/sb1162c.htm. Licensed Massage Establishments and Licensed Massage Therapists prohibited by law from sexual acts in the course of their business.
How do you know? Identify a Brothel or Sex Parlor
What can you do?
Contact the Department of Homeland Security or the FBI if you suspect a brothel, sex parlor, or human trafficking occurring in Arizona:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-347-2423 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips . Individuals across the world can report suspicious criminal activity to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line. The Tip Line is accessible internationally by calling 1-802-872-6199. Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by ICE HSI, including those related to human trafficking. You may also submit a tip online to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov/ , or call your local FBI office (you can get their number at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/field-offices .)