Town of Arlington
Department of Health and Human Services
Christine Bongiorno, Director
27 Maple St.
Arlington, MA 02476
Arlington Police Department
Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Captain Richard Flynn, Police PIO
Office Phone: 781-316-3907
Cell Phone: 781-844-1224
Arlington Police, Board of Health Issue Fines, Find Several Violations at Arlington Massage and Bodywork Establishments
Latest Round of Compliance Checks Shows Unlicensed Workers, Improper Advertisements, Illegal Living Situation
ARLINGTON — Police Chief Frederick Ryan and Director of Health and Human Services Christine Bongiorno announce that officials recently completed a round of town-wide compliance checks in collaboration with the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure at Arlington massage and bodywork establishments and found several troubling violations.
“These periodic checks are performed to ensure that massage and bodywork facilities are operating in a safe manner and that they are not performing illegal or unlicensed services,” Director Bongiorno said.
The Division of Professional Licensure issued $2,200 in fines. In addition, multiple false and/or improper advertisements were ordered removed, code violations were ordered to be corrected, and a possible illegal living situation was identified.
The following facilities were issued advisories:
- Massage Envy, 1398 Massachusetts Ave., was ordered to post all licenses in clear view.
- Body Tune, 828 Massachusetts Ave., was ordered to meet with the Arlington Board of Health to advise the owner on the town’s bodywork regulation process after advertising therapeutic services that its employees were not trained or certified to perform.
- Body Balance Center, 1205 Massachusetts Ave., was fined $200 for advertising multiple therapeutic services that its employees were not trained or certified to perform. On-site employees were also not licensed.
- Chang Ying Zhao, of Flushing N.Y., an employee at Body Balance Center, 1205 Massachusetts Ave., was fined $1,000 for unlicensed practice and ordered to cease all massage services
- Bi Zhen Zhang, of Brooklyn, N.Y., an employee at Body Balance Center, 1205 Massachusetts Ave., was fined $1,000 for unlicensed practice and ordered to cease all massage services.
- Body Balance Center and BodyTune were cited for advertising therapy services that the therapists were not trained or permitted to offer, such as Reflexology and Asian Bodywork Therapy. Additionally, investigators found evidence that employees of Body Balance Center were living in the establishment, which is not permitted.
- Reliable Bodywork Inc. and owner Fengzhi Liu, 178 Broadway, will be ordered to attend a hearing with the Board of Registration of Massage Therapy to discuss multiple violations.
“It is important that inspections are conducted as a team to address cross-jurisdictional issues that arise and to continue to keep ahead of issues that may come up,” Chief Ryan said. “We also want to work closely with our state partners to make sure they understand the urgency of the situation.”
The Arlington Board of Health denied Reliable Bodywork a permit in October 2013 for failure to meet the minimum standards outlined in the Arlington Board of Health Regulations Governing the Practice of Bodywork, but the business has used a loophole to obtain a state license and re-open. Arlington Police and Public Health officials are urgently working to close these loopholes. Last month, a customer at Reliable Bodywork was found unresponsive in one of the massage rooms. The customer was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The case is under investigation.
In 2008, the State Board of Registration of Massage Therapy took control of licensing massage therapy from local boards of health. As a result, local communities lost control over regulating establishments that failed to comply with basic local requirements. In 2013, the Arlington Board of Health enacted regulations to cover Bodywork which is a therapeutic service not covered under the State Massage Regulations, thus allowing local oversight in some establishments.
These checks were conducted by the Arlington Board of Health, Arlington Police and Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure Office of Investigations. The town conducts these checks multiple times per year to ensure only licensed, trained professionals are providing these services to the public in a safe, sanitary environment. Since Arlington began these joint compliance checks in 2013, six businesses have chosen to cease their operations in Arlington.