Consumer Advisory: Tips when buying a professional massage

Ahhhh…..  The Gift of Relaxation!  DORA Offers Four Tips When Buying a Professional Massage

DENVER (Dec. 23, 2015) -- Massages make a great gift. So whether you’re a last minute shopper thinking about giving the gift of massage, or your are the recipient of a massage certificate or package, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) encourages you to take five minutes to protect yourself and your loved ones with these four important tips.

1. Know Before You Go. 

You probably spend more time researching the hottest new restaurants or the best price for your TV than you do finding a professional massage therapist. So resist the temptation to grab a cheap deal on a massage without doing a little homework. Finding a qualified massage therapist is the first step to peace of mind. Colorado law requires massage therapists to be licensed. Verify a license and check for discipline by visiting and going to the "I Want To" page and selecting "Verify a License."

If you are purchasing a massage from a business with multiple therapists, be sure to ask for the first and last name of the therapist assigned to your certificate. Students of massage therapy may not offer their services outside a school. If you encounter "students" selling massage therapy services outside of school, it could be a scam. 

2. When You Go, Speak Up!  

You've done your homework, verified the therapist is licensed and checked for discipline, and now you're at your appointment. First, be sure to tell your massage therapist about any medical conditions and your lifestyle before the massage starts. Also say something if the therapist is using more pressure than you prefer or hits a particularly sensitive spot. It’s not rude, it’s helpful. There’s the “good hurt” and the “bad hurt.”  It’s your massage, so if something doesn’t feel right, say something. 

However, be aware and keep these cues in mind:

  • Trust your instincts 
  • If something doesn’t feel right about a person or location, leave 
  • If you are getting a bad vibe, this is often the first sign that something is awry 
  • If your instinct is nudging you out the door, listen to it!

3. Know What to Expect.  

A professional massage DOES include:

  • Privacy while undressing and dressing
  • Undressing only to your level of comfort
  • Proper draping of a sheet so that only the area being worked on is exposed
  • Total respect of your personal boundaries

A professional massage from a licensed massage therapist NEVER includes:

  • Touching of any kind that is unwelcome
  • Peeping or voyeurism
  • Exhibitionism (in which someone exposes themselves to you - whether you’re looking or not)
  • Sexual contact or “happy endings”

4. Report It!  

If a massage therapist does anything that makes you uncomfortable, tell him or her to stop, and then report it to DORA. If you suspect or know of a massage therapist (licensed or unlicensed) that may be violating regulations, immediately file a complaint with DORA. This can help protect you and future clients. You can file a complaint online at and searching "massage" on the "What We Regulate" page.

If a massage therapist does something criminal, or you are aware of any kind of criminal activity, call the police or 911 immediately.

With these tips, your massage - or gift - should be a success!  DORA wishes you a safe, happy and relaxing holiday season!  

Review more helpful Consumer Advisories from DORA. You can also visit the Office of Massage Therapy Licensure for more information about the profession. 


About DORA
The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit for more information or call 303-894-7855 / toll free 1-800-886-7675

Media Contact:
Cory Everett
Chief of Staff, Division of Professions and Occupations
P 303-894-2913