How young is too young for massage therapy?

By: Alia Hoyt

Guidelines for Underage Massages

The rules governing underage spa massages are as variable as the services they offer. As it turns out, spas have some pretty good reasons to justify the rules. Some spas just want to keep the area adult-oriented, which is why they don't allow kids under a certain age to receive treatment unless a parent is present. You can't really blame them since patrons are paying a pretty penny to relax and unwind. Other establishments simply wish to avoid the potential liability of underage guests.

So, when you make an appointment it's important to do your homework first. Specific guidelines really depend on the spa you patronize, but can include any or all of the following:


  • At minimum, most spas will at least require a signed consent form from the minor's parent. The consent form protects the therapist and the establishment. To further cover his bases, the therapist should clearly outline what the parent and minor can expect to occur during the session. Kids who've never had a massage before might not realize how intense the pressure can be, or how little they'll be wearing.
  • Some spas flat out want people to be a certain age -- generally at least 16 or 18 -- to receive a massage or even just come into the facility.
  • Others require parents to stay on the premises during the session, and some establishments even want them in the room during the massage!
  • Partial clothing may be required. Most adults are accustomed to having a spa massage done while topless (face down!), at least. Contrary to this, some spas require minors to don a bathing suit or underwear.
  • Same-gender therapists are often assigned. So, if your teen is a girl, she'll probably be given a female massage professional. Because of this, the appointment will probably be given based on the schedule of the appropriate professional.

Guidelines are generally posted on the spa's Web site but even so, be sure to let them know you are making an appointment for a minor when you call. And it might not hurt brief your teen on what the massage will be like so he or she is prepared. There's no shortage of qualified masseurs and spas, so if something "rubs" you the wrong way simply move onto the next!

Related Articles


  • Armstrong, Robert E. "Protect Yourself and Your Practice." American Massage Therapy Association. 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Burke Williams. "Frequently Asked Questions." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock. "Spa Etiquette." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Hibiscus Day Spa. "Teen Spa." 2012 (Aug. 29,2012)
  • Red Door Spas. "How to Spa." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • The Good Spa Guide. "Teen Treatments." 2012. (Aug. 29, 2012).
  • Vanderbilt, Shirley. "Children and Spas." Body Sense. Spring 2003. (Aug. 29, 2012).