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Posted by Amy Law-use p57110, Sep 14 2010 6:47PM

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Massage License

I've just graduated from level 3 body massage with City & Guilds and there are two options I like to try out, mobile therapist and hiring a room at a premises. How does it work with regards to massage licenses as a mobile therapist who will be travelling from one county to the next?
Jeanette Bean
Sep 14 2010 7:24PM
Hi Amy I work from home and my Licence is for massage and special treatments. I have to renew this every year and pay the same as any salon in the area does even though there is only me here and they could have many therapists in their salons. It was explained to me that for this area if I was mobile I wouldn't need a licence, but do to work at home, although if I moved either way to the next county I would just need to let the council know I am working from home and wouldn't need the licence, which goes up £10.00-£20.00 anualy. Apparently it is the building were massage is taking place that needs the licence, this year it cost me £187.00.

Going by my own experience your best bet is contacting each council, environmental health to see if it is applicable to that area. I hope this helps
Amy Law-use p57110
Sep 14 2010 7:45PM
Thanks Jeanette. I will ring the councils and find out to double check. :-)
Amanda Clegg
Sep 14 2010 11:39PM
Slightly confused about licenses - where - geographically - are you working? If UK, what license is this?
Amy Law-use p57110
Sep 15 2010 12:24AM
As a mobile therapist I will be travelling around London and Essex.
Amanda Clegg
Sep 15 2010 7:57AM
My point is - why do you need to be licensed, and by whom? Unless I have totally missed out on a very important piece of legislation, we are not required to be licensed, and in the UK, county boundaries are not an issue except for refuse collection and council tax etc. Obviously insurance is required, but that does not constitute a license to practice.
Amanda Clegg
Sep 15 2010 7:59AM
Sorry - hit post too early! I am only talking about mobile and working from home - I don't use a salon premises. But I would have thought that the premises issue is a question of planning consents for retail use.
Gillian Kenyon
Sep 15 2010 10:23AM
Hi All

It depends on where the location of the premises is. Particularly in central London, 'Massage' premises are licensed by some Borough Councils because they are keen to monitor Health & Safety to deter 'Red Light Massage Service' and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infection etc.

Most of the UK is NOT licensed. If in doubt, ask your local Health & Safety Exec office in your Local Authority.

For clarity, the legislation is:

London Local Authorities Act, 1991
This Act states that no person shall carry on an establishment for special treatments without first obtaining a licence from a participating council.

An ‘establishment for special treatment’ is defined in the Act as any premises used or represented as being, or intended to be used for the reception or treatment of persons requiring massage, manicure, acupuncture, tattooing, cosmetic piercing, chiropody, light, electric or other special treatments of a like kind or vapour, sauna or other baths.

Conditions can be attached to licences that may cover items such as safety of equipment, hygiene practices, age limits, hours of operation etc.

Premises are exempt from the need to license if the premises are not used for gain or reward, or, e.g. if the special treatment is carried out by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner registered with the GMC or persons who are bona fide members of a body of health practitioners. This list is not exhaustive and there are other exemptions.

Health practitioner is defined as ‘a person who uses his skills with a view to the curing or alleviating of bodily diseases or ailments but does not include a person whose skills are employed mainly for cosmetic alteration or decorative purposes’.

A list of bodies of health practitioners currently granted exemption is provided to all London authorities that have adopted the Act. This list is commonly held by the Licensing Section of the borough council.

If on the other hand you do body piercing - The Health & Safety at Work Act comes into play across the UK:

Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974
This Act regulates the health and safety of persons at work, including the self-employed, and persons affected by a work activity.

Section 2 of the Act places a duty upon every employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

Section 3(1) of the Act is particularly applicable to business premises where the public is affected by business activity, and states that: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected are not exposed to risk to their health and safety.’

Section 3(2) of the Act places a similar duty on every self-employed person. Ultimately, whether LAs register the business or not, the HSWA, 1974 applies to all employers, employees and self-employed people. It also protects people not at work such as members of the public, who may be affected by a work activity. As with any business, Sections 2 and 3 of the HSWA, 1974 would be applied at any cosmetic piercing premises to ensure the suitability of the premises, safety of staff employed and to ensure a safe treatment environment for the public affected by the business.


The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982
If an LA has previously adopted the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act (1982), this allows it to make bylaws on electrolysis, acupuncture, ear piercing and tattooing. The person(s) carrying on the business and the premises are required to register with the LA that enforces the provisions of the byelaws. These cover the cleanliness of the premises, fittings, equipment and persons carrying on the business. These businesses are inspected to ensure that they comply with the bylaws.

The Local Government Act 2003 (section 120 and Schedule 6) has amended the 1982 Act to give local authorities powers to regulate businesses providing cosmetic body piercing, micropigmentation and similar activities. The 2003 Act introduces new terminology for simplicity and clarity:

Ear piercing and cosmetic body piercing are encompassed in the single term cosmetic piercing (which is the term also used in the legislation affecting London LAs);
Micropigmentation, semi-permanent make-up and temporary tattooing are covered by the umbrella term semi-permanent skin-colouring. This approach allows for other similar activities to be covered in future.
This change in the law came into force from 1st April 2004.

Hope this helps

There is a lot more to it than that though. If in doubt, speak with your Local Authority Health & Safety team - they are usually really helpful and will point you in the correct direction.

Whilst I am not a Lawyer, if anyone wishes to contact me directly to discuss queries, I might not be able to give you all the answers but can point you in the right direction, please do so on:
Jeanette Bean
Sep 15 2010 11:39AM
Hi, I don't want to go off the track here but it was due to my training for body massage etc. back in 1999, that I was informed like anyone going through training to check with your local council to see if licencing applies to your area.

At that time it was explained due to having public entering my premises due to working from home that I needed a licence for body massage and special treatments. Although I still dissagree that I pay the same price for one room in my home compared to a salon full of therapists again it is the premises. This covers a yearly inspection to check health and safety to check client records are correctly stored etc. this part I completely agree on to ensure public are safe and we are qualified in what we say we are because they have a copy of our certificates. This again ensures we are qualified and not just set up a business from going on a short course for personal use.

I cover aromatherapy, body massage, India head massage, lymphatic drainage massage, reflexology and reiki. I enquired where the special treatment came into my profession, apparently anyone using needles would be under special treatment but in my profession we use essential oils etc. within the therapies therefore it puts it under the special treatment part, I hope this makes sense when reading.

The only thing that I suppose get's to me a bit is why in some areas you have to have this and pay and other areas you don't depending on the council and licensing department, shouldn't this go across the board no matter what council you fall into. We are either licenced to protect the general public or we are not it shoudn't come down to local councils, it should go right across the board one way or another to stop confussion to newly qualifying therapist's and tutor's that teach the subjects to enable them to clearly give the correct information to students during training.

Part of the cost for the licence is for a police check on you to ensure there isn't any problems that you haven't declaired and obviously this cost's us. Out of the £187.00 I paid this year it isn't broken down to who gets what out of that which is probably why we pay the same as salons. When you first qualify, you think along with the general public that we are going to earn a certain amount of money, what you don't realise is when you take the insurance, register, licence, products, washing etc. out of this you are left eraning very little or in some cases nothing, but we take it on the chin because we love the work we do.

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