Localities Can Regulate Unlicensed “Body Works” Businesses in RI


Our most recent Rhode Island Legislative update discussed HB 7007, legislation pertaining to local (city or town) regulation of massage businesses. During the legislative process, HB 7007 was amended to follow the language of companion bill SB 2428, with each bill stating only that localities may regulate “body works” businesses. “Body works” is defined as “body rubs, body stimulation, manipulation or conditioning or any part or parts of the body, spa services, and spa treatments performed by any person not licensed under title 23 of the Rhode Island general laws.” SB 2428 was signed into law on June 30, 2016. You can read the final version of SB 2428 here

Massage therapists are licensed under Title 23, and therefore state-licensed massage therapists do not fall under the definition of “body works” in SB 2428, and cannot be locally regulated as “body works” businesses under the new law. However, we note that the state massage therapy licensing statute does not itself prevent localities from regulating state-licensed massage therapists.