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Top Ten Signs A Massage Spa is Sketchy

Sexual assault charges against massage therapists and raids on illicit prostitution rings

camouflaged as massage parlors are raising the general public’s concerns about indulging in spa

treatments. To help you choose a safe and reliable spa, Shepherd AI has compiled a list of the

top ten things to look for in massage spa facilities.

1. Licensed Business – Don’t be afraid to ask to see the spas license if it is not already

visible. Make sure it is current as many states require annual renewals. If you receive

objections to your request, ask to cancel your appointment without penalty.

2. Licensed Massage Therapists – All states, excluding (Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma,

Vermont, and Wyoming) require therapist to be licensed in order to perform spa

treatments. To be license eligible, an individual usually has to be eighteen years or

older, pass a background check, complete a qualifying educational program, pass a

national examination, and maintain a liability insurance policy. These criteria help to

ensure qualified professionals are providing safe and ethical services. If you receive

objections, do not hesitate. Leave and find a better establishment.

3. Compliance with Legal and Health Regulations – In most states, in order to receive your

business license, the Department of Health will conduct one or more preoperational

inspections to verify and approve that the spa facility is constructed and equipped in

accordance with approved plans and modifications; has established standard operating

procedures, and is in compliance with these regulations. Businesses are required to post

a current license, valid Certificate of Occupancy, and current inspection results in a

conspicuous location. If your spa does not have these legal documents visible, ask to see


4. Clean and Neat Environment – Look for sanitary practices that include washing hands

between clients, clean massage rooms with fresh towels and sheets, professional staff in

uniforms as opposed to their own clothing, and well-organized reception area and other


5. Location, Location, Location – Although many illicit massage parlors are hiding in plain

sight, seek establishments in reputable neighborhoods with normal business hours. If

they are open after 7pm or 8pm, or 24-hours, that is a red flag.

6. Windows and External Appearance – If it looks sketchy from the outside, it probably is.

If there is signage eluding to extracurricular activities, or if there are blacked out

windows, or no windows at all, beware.

7. Locked Doors –If you come across a locked front door, or you need to be “buzzed in”,

these are signs that criminal activity may be going on inside.

8. Customers are Male and Female – Illicit massage parlors service a majority male

clientele. If the other customers are all male, you may have stumbled into to sketchy


9. Massage Therapist Vary in Age and Gender – Look for massage therapist that vary in

age and gender. Most illicit massage parlors clients are men and the sex workers are


10. Reviews and Word of Mouth – Read the reviews of the spa on Yelp, Google Reviews,

TripAdvisor, etc. Ask around. Recommendations from friends and family are a good way

to find a massage spa that you can trust.

About Shepherd AI

Shepherd AI was founded in 2017 to be the first in Human Behavior Risk analytics agency that

develops and uses technology to eliminate risky human behaviors such as sexual misconduct

and assault in intimate professional environments. The Puerto-Rican based company specializes

in enabling an environment of trust and safety where team members act with the utmost

integrity and stewardship of business. Visit the website for more information at

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