Body rub business preps for legal battle after Salt Lake County closes them down

MILLCREEK, Utah -- Salt Lake County has put the kibosh on a business it accuses of operating illegally. The business, Beaches Bodyworks, offered services called body rubs.

A sign on the front door of Beaches Bodyworks' Millcreek location announces it’s closed. Inside, piles of stuff and half broken down furniture and decorations signal Beaches is in limbo.

“This would be your typical room at Beaches,” owner Jeff Stucki said as he walked into a mostly intact room that features a massage table in the middle and mirrors on the wall.

He said he is keeping some of the rooms kept up, just in case.

“We're still waiting,” he said, referring to his case with Salt Lake County.

They are fighting for the right to stay open after the county revoked his business license in August.

“Basically, we were practicing massage without a license,” Stucki explained of the shut down.

Stucki says Beaches Bodyworks didn’t offer massages, but did offer energy work like Reiki and light touch body rubs. He said the body rubs are meant to provide clients with, “Human touch, compassionate touch, loving touch.”

Yes, the women who perform the work wear bikinis, though Stucki said employees have also included men. He said he knows what many people are probably thinking, but, he said, it’s not that.

"People don't really understand what goes on here,” he said. “They think, in some way, that it's sexual or overly sensual. It's not."

While Salt Lake County declined an interview, they did provide the business revocation documents. Stucki’s business, the documents state, violated the Utah Massage Therapy Practice Act, which requires a message therapy license for massage therapy services.

The revocation letter said practitioners applied oil to clients. Under law, the definition of massage therapy includes oil rubs. Attorney Andrew McCullough is helping Beaches fight that state law as we speak.

But, he said it could be quite some times before it’s resolved. Stucki appealed the county decision to revoke his business license.

“Let's just keep things open," he said. "We're not hurting anybody here."

If Salt Lake County doesn’t re-issue the business license, McCullough said Beaches won’t back down.

“At some point, we're going to sue the county for reinstatement of our license,” he said.

Stucki said a hearing on appealing the county business license revocation is scheduled for November.