In Texas, the laws require that massage therapy is a healthcare service. Massage therapists abide by the laws. They must attend an approved massage school, pass a state massage licensing exam and pass a background check. (Sec. 455.1525. CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD INFORMATION REQUIREMENT FOR LICENSE ISSUANCE)
Massage therapists in Texas must display their massage license on the wall of the office and have a photo ID attached to the license. Brothels often will have just one license and not have ID on the license and the workers will not carry ID so they cannot be properly identified. (Sec. 455.204. DISPLAY OF LICENSE.)
You can search to verify a massage therapy license on the Board of Massage Website.
The law clearly states Sec. 455.205. PROHIBITED PRACTICES that unlicensed people cannot use the words Massage in any form of advertising, yet many still do and they get away with it.
“(c) A person who is not licensed under this chapter may not use the word “massage” on any form of advertising unless the person is expressly exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter.
(d) A sexually oriented business may not use the word “massage” or “bath” on a sign or any form of advertising.
(e) A person advertising massage therapy or other massage services is presumed to be engaging in conduct regulated by this chapter.”
“Massage establishment” (Sec. 455.001. DEFINITIONS.) means a place of business that advertises or offers massage therapy or other massage services. The term includes a place of business that advertises or offers any service described by a derivation of the terms “massage therapy” or “other massage services.”
(8) “Massage therapy” means the manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage and includes effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), compression, vibration, friction, nerve strokes, and Swedish gymnastics. The terms “massage,” “therapeutic massage,” “massage technology,” “myotherapy,” “body massage,” “body rub,” or any derivation of those terms are synonyms for “massage therapy.”
(19) RULE §117.2 Definitions Massage therapy–The manipulation of soft tissue by hand or through a mechanical or electrical apparatus for the purpose of body massage. The term includes effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), compression, vibration, friction, nerve strokes, and Swedish gymnastics. Massage therapy may include the use of oil, lubricant, salt glows, heat lamps, hot and cold packs, or tub, shower, jacuzzi, sauna, steam or cabinet baths. Equivalent terms for massage therapy are massage, therapeutic massage, massage technology, myo-therapy, body massage, body rub, or any derivation of those terms. Massage therapy is a health care service when the massage is for therapeutic purposes. The terms “therapy” and “therapeutic” do not include diagnosis, the treatment of illness or disease, or any service or procedure for which a license to practice medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, or podiatry is required by law. Massage therapy does not constitute the practice of chiropractic.
PRACTICES INCLUDED IN MASSAGE THERAPY. Massage therapy includes the use of oil, salt glows, heat lamps, hot and cold packs, and tub, shower, or cabinet baths.
Texas Law has made it nearly impossible to deal with the issue of Sexually Oriented Businesses disguised as massage business.
One reason for the failure to stem the tide of IMBs in Texas is the conflation of the terms “massage establishment” and “massage parlor.” Texas Occupations Code Chapter 455 defines a “massage establishment” as “a place of business that advertises or offers massage therapy or other massage services.” Importantly, this same code states that a “sexually oriented business” may not hold a license or operate as a massage establishment and that a massage therapist cannot practice at a sexually oriented business.
On the other hand, Local Government Code Chapter 234 defines a “massage parlor” as “a business establishment that purports to provide massage services and that allows: (A) a nude person to provide massage services to a customer; (B) a person to engage in sexual contact for compensation; or (C) a person to provide massage services in clothing intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.” COMMENTARY: Texas laws attempting to regulate the illicit massage industry are burdening the wrong people ByFWBP Staff February 2, 2021
Massage Therapy Advisory Board
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
PO Box 12157
Austin, Texas 78711