Woman at spa - Massage Spa Injuries and Sexual Assault - The Eberst Law Firm - Stuart Ft Myers Gainesville Florida

Using caution when choosing a Florida massage parlor or spa could spare you from injuries or assault.

The residents of Florida’s Treasure Coast have been in shock for the past couple of weeks as local law enforcement continues uncovering guilty parties involved in a massive massage parlor scandal.  The five day spas involved were shown to have ties to human trafficking and prostitution, and this has led to hundreds of arrests.  This scandal is leaving people wondering, “who next?”, as people continue checking the website of their local Sheriff’s office to stay informed as to recent arrest warrants.  The guilty parties include anyone from local businessmen and handymen, to high profile men, such as seasonal Palm Beach County resident Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots.  

At The Eberst Law Firm, we would like to caution you about the type of massage parlor or spa that you visit, not only to avoid being associated with or exposed to spas such as these, but because these venues can sometimes be potentially harmful as far as causing you to experience minor to severe injuries and/or assault.

Injuries or Abuse Sustained at a Massage Spa

Massage: the word itself usually invokes feelings of relaxation, peace, and tranquility.  However, there have been rare, but serious cases where a massage resulted in pain, worsening of injuries, new injuries, and/or sexual abuse.  Additionally, the pain and suffering associated with these cases can last for several months, years, or a lifetime.

Physical Injury

“Massages can lead to muscle strains, fractures, brain stem impingement, and more.”

Former registered massage therapist, Paul Ingraham, published an eye-opening article about negative massage therapy side effects.  His article begins by advising that massages can sometimes cause new physical injuries, which are typically minor, but also that there is a small very serious risk of spinal injury or stroke with the handling of anyone’s neck.  He goes on to further explain that massage can also aggravate current injuries, keep patients from pursuing more fitting care, and alter people’s pain sensitivity.

Ingraham explains that he knew of a couple of people who experienced severe dizziness and/or vomiting for hours after undergoing a massage, which is a terrifying result of brain stem impingement. Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating, which makes it highly important to have an experienced, knowledgeable masseuse manipulating your neck.  At another point in his article, Mr. Ingraham discusses a patient whose femur was fractured by another therapist.  

Similarly, an article by ABC News recaps several stories from people who underwent painful massages, with some of the instances resulting in injury.  In this article, the national medical director of Kaiser Permanente Emergency Medical Services, Dr. Jay Goldman, discusses a woman who went for a massage, but experienced severe, shooting pain in her shoulder and yelled out from the pain. However, the therapist explained that this was the massage she needed; the result was a tear in her shoulder tendons. In the same article, another woman, Kellia Rogers of Brooklyn, New York, went for an hour-long massage, and she described the masseuse’s motions as “punching”.  Ultimately, Ms. Rogers sought treatment at the emergency room shortly after the massage, and she was diagnosed with a severe muscle strain.

Sexual Abuse

“Massage spas can be a platform for sexual predators.”

Unfortunately, an unexpecting client can fall victim to sexual abuse at a massage spa.  Last fall, six Californian woman teamed up to sue Massage Envy for protecting an employee of theirs who assaulted the six women as they were getting a massage.   This is a huge claim against one of America’s largest massage chains, and if the claims are all true, then the massage spa could be guilty of negligence.  Spas owe it to their clients legally to exercise reasonable care when hiring and retaining employees.   However, the accusation in this case is that Massage Envy knew that the perpetrator was committing sexual abuse, but instead of either reprimanding or firing him, or adopting a firm no-tolerance policy for masseuse versus client abuse, they protected their employee who was sexually abusing numerous women.   The argument here would be that Massage Envy’s negligence allowed for the perpetrator to keep abusing these women, making them legally liable for the incident.

This is not the first sexual abuse claim against Massage Envy; altogether, the massive massage chain is on the spotlight for sexual abuse as 180 women have come forward maintaining that either Massage Envy masseuses or managers have sexually assaulted them.  One worker was sentenced to prison for assaulting nine women in total.  

Massage spa sexual abuse can range from acts such as touching body parts inappropriately and/or without permission, filming clients, touching themselves as they massage the client, and more.   

How can I prevent an injury or assault at a Florida massage spa?

First and foremost, always check reviews on massage spas, such as on Google or Facebook.  You can even ask around to see if a friend has a recommended massage therapist. Another option is to research massage spas and review the policies that they have regarding safety and look for a spa with a “Zero Tolerance Policy” regarding sexual abuse, meaning that they will fire an employee who crosses the line even once.  Once you do decide on a massage spa, make sure that you have no problem communicating with your therapist; ensure there is not a language barrier and that you feel at ease speaking with them.  You can give your therapist an idea of your expectations for the massage, as far as the pressure you want, what you feel comfortable wearing, what body parts you are ok with them touching and not touching and see how they react.  Also, be absolutely sure to make them aware of any pre-existing allergies (to lotions/creams), injuries, or past surgeries.

Consult with an attorney to report a massage spa injury or assault.

At The Eberst Law Firm, we have helped tens of thousands of clients with resolving unique personal injury claims.  We understand that massage spa injury or assault claims are unique, and we are more than prepared to perform the appropriate research in order to properly and successfully handle your claim.  You can rest assured that we will fight for you 100% along the way. Please contact us as soon as possible by filling out our online form or by calling us at 772-225-4900.


Sources Used for Massage Spa Injuries and Sexual Assault by The Eberst Law Firm

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/PainManagement/story?id=4575760&page=1
https://www.local10.com/news/florida/hundreds-arrested-in-south-florida-treasure-coast-massage-parlor-bust
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/02/25/robert-kraft-scandal-exposes-horrors-sex-trafficking-talker/2978071002/
https://www.foxnews.com/us/massage-envy-faces-new-lawsuit-alleging-it-enabled-employees-sexual-misconduct-report
https://www.painscience.com/articles/massage-therapy-side-effects.php
https://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/standards-of-care-and-the-reasonable-person.html
https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/massage-envy-employees-accused-of-sexual-assault-by-over-180-women-bombshell-report-claims
https://www.massageenvy.com/our-commitment-to-safety-in-action/
https://eberstlaw.com/2019/02/13/pain-and-suffering/
https://eberstlaw.com/2019/02/12/traumatic-brain-injuries-injury-claim/