Increase in massage parlors statewide causes crackdown by lawmakers

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Lawmakers have seen an increase in the number of massage parlors statewide.

A new council is in control over the massage industry in California and new legislation is meant to better regulate massage parlors.

Bakersfield already has around 50 massage parlors, and with the recent uptick in parlors statewide, lawmakers are concerned about an increased risk of sex crimes.

"We have seen a 600 percent increase in massage establishments in some communities, with little to no authority for local municipalities to control their placement," said Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez.

Some massage therapists say that a bad economy is causing people to make money any way possible.

"I hear a lot of massage therapists are working out there without licenses, without having any experience," said Joseph Zen of Acupuncture & Herbs.

Lawmakers have introduced a measure to restore local control of massage parlors which would get rid of a provision of the law that protects parlors from local land use ordinances.

Doctors at local massage therapy places say new state regulations would be beneficial for their business.

The supervising Deputy District Attorney told 23ABC no recent legal activity regarding massage parlors has been submitted to their office.

Joseph Zen says his business has been around for seven years and makes sure that all clients are treated professionally.

"My massage therapists, chiropractors, and everybody that works here is licensed and has insurance," said Zen. 

Under the new legislation, the California Massage Therapy Council would be reduced from 20 to 11 members, with a majority of them being local government appointments.

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