Health inspections start on foot, hand massage companies

Officials with the Washington State Department of Health plan to begin inspecting reflexology and massage business throughout the state in July, in order to identify unlicensed providers and other illegal practices.

About 150 businesses will be inspected each year, according to the health department.

The state legislature amended the state’s massage law in 2012 to mandate licenses for reflexology (foot and hand massage) practitioners and authorize unannounced inspections of all massage businesses.

According to the new section in the law, investigators can inspect businesses “within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner.” However, businesses can’t be shut down if violations are found.

Possible violations could result in an investigation, which may lead to department action and possible referral to local authorities.

Inspections should ensure businesses meet sanitation and hygiene standards and that employees are appropriately licensed.

Reflexology was previously unregulated, according to the health department. Before the amendment to the massage law, investigators could only look into businesses after a complaint had been filed against the business or one of its employees.

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