Light-touch body rub service fights Utah massage law

Posted at 9:57 PM, Nov 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-30 23:57:43-05

MILLCREEK, Utah-- Look at the front of Beaches Bodyworks, and you see a picture of the backside of two scantily-clad women.

“What we do is a light-touch body rub,” explained general manager Jessica Colwell, of their services.

The business is straight-to-the-point about what you can expect walking through the doors.

“Yes the girls are in bikinis,” she said. “We utilize our entire bodies. We utilize our legs and our arms,” for those light touch services.

They’re also straightforward about what they don’t offer.

“We don’t do anything illegal and we’re not a sexually oriented business,” Colwell said. “It’s not therapeutic, we don’t do massages.”

No massages, just the light touch and a type of energy work called Reiki.

“Human touch is a very important thing,” she said. “Everyone needs it, and we give that ability to a lot of clients who may not have that in their lives.”

But the state says that touch is breaking the law.

“There were some citations for massaging without a license,” said Andrew McCullough, an attorney who represents Beaches.

He said those citations came after the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing changed a rule within the Massage Therapy Act that defines massage as touch with movement—and doing that in a professional setting requires a massage therapy license.

Beaches doesn’t have a license, because massage therapy isn’t what the business practices.

“The law as they have modified it with their rule, puts us all in jeopardy of being arrested,” he said.

Beaches filed a complaint, asking for the rule to get thrown out.

“We think the rule is, in a word I suppose, nuts,” McCullough said.

Earlier this month, a judge sided with the state.

Now, McCullough is asking the judge to take a look at his ruling one more time, before Beaches starts the appeals process.

“We’re going to fight it until people can see that this is a business that’s going to stay around,” Colwell said.

McCullough said Beaches Bodyworks operates under a regular business license. He said the business will continue as normal- even if that means more citations- until the case plays out in court.