Calgary city council has voted to change how it categorizes massage parlours.

Trained massage therapists have complained for years that their businesses were lumped in with less legitimate massage providers.

Legitimate therapeutic massage practitioners will now need training and must belong to an industry association to get massage licences from the city.

Those who do not have training, and don't belong to an accredited industry association, will need a "body rub" licence to legally conduct business.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says that category faces tighter restrictions, and that can make life tougher for people involved in the darker side of the industry.

He also said it will cut down on costs associated with inspections.

"It’s easy to giggle about this, [but] in fact it’s very important for registered and licensed therapists," he said. 

"This reduces an enormous amount of red tape, it saves an enormous amount of costs for the city — I heard 1,700 fewer site visits per year — and it makes it easier for the public as well because you know what you’re getting."