New spas and massage parlors pop up fairly often pretty much anywhere in the US. Unfortunately, not all of these spas are legitimate. Some are actually sex-businesses disguised as a legitimate spa. This practice can cause all sorts of problems for both therapists and clients. For instance, unsuspecting clients who simply want some relief from their chronic pain can get a nasty surprise when they’re propositioned by a worker at one of these establishments. These types of businesses also create a bad reputation for the industry as a whole while simultaneously making legitimate business unsafe for licensed therapists when their place of work is mistaken for one of these illegal sex businesses.

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to make sure a new spa is legitimate:

How does the spa market their business?

Sometimes, minute differences in marketing can make a huge difference when it comes to choosing a reputable spa with real therapeutic services and choosing a less than legal business for your relaxation services. For example, real spas advertise a myriad of services and products that address specific ailments like hydrotherapy, myofascial release, and more. However, less than legal businesses will focus on relaxation and “feeling good” with limited add-on services. Massage parlors that are a front for another kind of business are also not likely to spend marketing dollars on gift cards, social media, business cards, or staff uniforms.

What is the level of spa professionalism?

You should also take into account the professionalism of a spa before choosing that place to service your relaxation or chronic pain needs. In a genuine spa, the staff should be well dressed and usually wearing a clean and sanitary uniform. In addition, the spa’s lobby and massage rooms should be well kept and organized with informative pamphlets and magazines. There might even be therapeutic or medicinal products for sale. However, these products should focus on healing rather than its aphrodisiac-like properties. Legitimate spas also take a variety of payment methods including cash or debit and credit cards. If the business that you find yourself in is always cash-only, you may want to high tail it out of there.

Are the spa employees “therapists” or “the girls”?

It is also important to consider the way that a spa treats its employees. The employees should all be licensed therapists with the state in which they are practicing. Most legitimate spa owners are proud of their employees’ accolades and will display them prominently for customers to see. If your chosen place of relaxation can’t provide proof of your therapist’s licensing there might be a problem. In addition, massage therapists are highly trained and should be able to answer your questions about your ailments intelligently and with confidence. If your “masseuse” cannot answer basic questions about the human body and mobility, you might want to reconsider your choice of “therapist”.