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Mandatory Massage Establishment License Proposed in North Carolina


The North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy will be holding a public hearing on April 23, 2015 in Raleigh to discuss its recent proposed amendments to the state's massage regulations, including new rules which would create a mandatory state license requirement for massage establishments.

Click here to read the proposed amendments posted on the Board's website.

Under the Board's proposal, all massage and bodywork therapy establishments, meaning all premises on which massage and bodywork therapy is practiced, would be required to obtain a state-issued massage and bodywork therapy establishment license.  This mandatory license would be in addition to the current individual therapist licensure requirement.  Sole proprietors would be exempted from the establishment license requirement, although they would still need to hold an individual therapist license.  An establishment license also would not be required for on-site massage performed at the location of the client, or for stand-alone devices, such as chairs, that are operated by the customer.

Requirements for establishment licensure would include:

  • $20 application fee plus $150 license fee (license fee waived if the applicant is currently a sole practitioner),
  • Owner information, including name of owner and type of ownership,
  • Proof of property damage and bodily injury liability insurance coverage,
  • Criminal history background check,
  • The establishment must employ only licensed therapists,
  • The establishment must have restroom facilities, and
  • The establishment must complete a self-evaluation inspection report showing compliance with the Board's rules, which include detailed safety and sanitation rules.

The proposed rules state that, upon receipt of an establishment license application, Board employees must inspect the site to confirm that all criteria set forth in the rules are met.  The Board would also be empowered to periodically inspect all licensed establishments.

The establishment license would have to be renewed every two years for a fee of $100.

The Board has also proposed certain changes to the existing continuing education (CE) rules for individual therapists, including increasing the allowable hours for business management CE from three to eight hours, and broadening the definition of "approved [CE] provider" to any entity "with which the Board has reached a contractual agreement for the for the approval of continuing education providers and courses."

If you're able to do so, please attend the public hearing to learn more about the proposals and to provide your input.

Public Hearing Information:

Date:  April 23, 2015

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location:  Wells Fargo Capitol Center, 150 Fayetteville Street, 13th Floor Conference Room, Raleigh NC 27601

Any person may formally object to the agency proposed rule by submitting a written statement postmarked on or before May 15, 2015 to:

Charles P. Wilkins
P.O. Box 2539
Raleigh NC 27602

Comments may be submitted to the same address, or to Charles P. Wilkins at, phone: (919) 546-0050, fax: (919) 833-1059.