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San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

Massage Program

In 2014, the Legislature and Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 1147 (AB 1147), which authorizes local governments to use their regulatory authority to ensure the public’s safety and enforce local standards for the regulation of all massage businesses, including those that employ only California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) certified practitioners.


The Massage Program of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SF DPH) regulates businesses operating massage establishments in San Francisco and Massage Practitioners to ensure that they maintain a safe, sanitary, and lawful work environment.  Furthermore, the program also permits new massage establishments, conducts annual inspections of massage establishments, as well as responds to citizen complaints regarding unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the massage establishments.

Massage Business and Practitioner Information

All massage business owners of fixed facilities, temporary event coordinators, sole practitioners, and outcall massage service must obtain a Health Permit to Operate (PTO).

All massage practitioners must be licensed through SF DPH or certified by the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC).  As of January 2019, SF DPH no longer issues new licenses for Massage Practitioners.  If you are in possession of a SF DPH license prior to January 1, 2019, your license will remain valid, as long as the annual license fee is paid.

All massage businesses and practitioners must operate in accordance with San Francisco Health Code, Article 29.

All permits and annual license fees will be issued by San Francisco’s Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector (TTX).  Permits are valid for one (1) year and must be renewed via yearly license fee billed to the permit holder by TTX. It is your responsibility to notify SF DPH and TTX of any mailing address change. Mailing addresses should be maintained current.

Fee schedule for application and annual fees.

 

General Massage Establishment Permits

A General Massage Establishment means a fixed place of business where more than one individual administers Massage for Compensation, excluding these locations where Massage is provided only on an outcall basis.

 

New General Massage Establishments

Click through to the flowchart for an overview of the application process.

Process flowchart for massage establishment permits
  1. Contact San Francisco Planning Department to verify the location address is properly zoned for massage use.
  2. Register your massage business at TTX.
  3. Submit a completed General Massage Establishment Permit Application to SFDPH in person at 1390 Market Street, Suite 210, SF, 94102.
  4. Submit the appropriate, non-refundable application fee, payable by check or money order to SFDPH.  Bounced checks are assessed a $50.00 fee. Credit cards are now accepted at the front desk.
  5. Submit a completed Background Check and Clearance Form to the San Francisco Police Department, located at 850 Bryant Street, Room 505 – separate application fee made payable in person to SFPD.  CAMTC certificate holders are not required to complete an SFPD background check. Background check expires after 3 months.

Change-Of-Ownership

Click through to the flowchart for an overview of the change of ownership process.

Process flowchart for massage establishment change of ownership

In addition to following steps #1 through #5 above, applicants seeking to change ownership of an establishment should also note that:

  • During the application process of changing owners, the General Massage Establishment is allowed to operate as long as a complete application is received by SF DPH.
  • As the current owner, if you need to close the current business account or change your mailing address, fill out the appropriate form and contact SFDPH at EHmassage@sfdph.org 3 days prior to closure or address change.
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    Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permits

    A Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment means a fixed place of business solely owned by a SF Massage Practitioner permit holder or a CAMTC certified Practitioner, which individual is the only person who provides Massage for Compensation. 

    The business location may be shared with one other SF Massage Practitioner or CAMTC Certified Practitioner.  However, the Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment owner and one other Massage Practitioner or CAMTC Certified Practitioner will each hold their own Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permit.

    1. Contact San Francisco Planning Department to verify the location address is properly zoned for massage services.
    2. Register your massage business at TTX.
    3. Submit a completed Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment Permit Application to SF DPH in person at 1390 Market Street, Suite 210, SF, 94102.
    4. Submit the appropriate, non-refundable application fee, payable by check or money order to SFDPH.  Bounced checks are assessed a $50.00 fee. Credit cards are now accepted at the front desk.
    5. Submit a completed Background Check and Clearance Form to the San Francisco Police Department, located at 850 Bryant Street, Room 505 – separate application fee made payable in person to SFPD.  CAMTC certificate holders are not required to complete an SFPD background check. Background check expires after 3 months.

    Outcall Massage Permits

    Outcall Massage Service means any business other than a Massage Establishment or Sole Practitioner Massage Establishment that provides Massage for Compensation at a location designated by the client rather than on its premises.  Massage service cannot be conducted in the permit holder’s own place of residence.

    Click through to the flowchart for an overview of the process to obtain an Outcall Massage Permit.

    Process flowchart for outcall massage establishment permits
    1. Obtain, or already be in possession of, a CAMTC certificate or SF DPH Massage Practitioner License.
    2. Register your massage business at TTX.
    3. Submit a completed Outcall Massage Permit Application to SF DPH in person at 1390 Market Street, Suite 210, SF, 94102.
    4. Submit the appropriate, non-refundable application fee, payable by check or money order to SFDPH.  Bounced checks are assessed a $50.00 fee. Credit cards are now accepted at the front desk.
    5. Submit a completed Background Check and Clearance Form to the San Francisco Police Department, located at 850 Bryant Street, Room 505 – separate application fee made payable in person to SFPD.  CAMTC certificate holders are not required to complete an SFPD background check. Background check expires after 3 months.

    Annual inspection date(s) and location for Outcall Massage permit holders will be scheduled by SF DPH; it is your responsibility to maintain owner/operator contact information current.  At the time of annual inspection, bring all massage equipment for inspection.

     

     

    Making a Complaint

    If you would like to make a complaint regarding a massage establishment, you may report a complaint to the Environmental Health Branch by calling 311.

    311 City Customer Service Agency - Service 24x7

    San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health Branch